Massachusetts law about copyright

Laws, regulations, cases, and web sources on copyright law.

If you are unable to find the information you are looking for, or if you have a specific question, please contact our law librarians for assistance.

Table of Contents

Best bet

U.S. Copyright Office
The best website for copyright information. It includes FAQs, links to legislation (current and proposed), regulations, information on how to for a copyright, international copyright sites, information about searching for copyrighted material, fees, and much more. To get started, see Copyright basics.

Federal laws

The Copyright & Patent Clause, Art. I, s.8, cl.8 of the U.S. Constitution
Empowers the U.S. Congress "to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries."

Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act of 2020
Establishing the Copyright Claims Board to resolve copyright disputes involving claims seeking damages of up to $30,000 and is designed to be less expensive and faster than bringing a case in a federal court.

17 U.S. Code
U.S. copyright laws and related transitional and related statutory and international provisions.

Major public laws incorporated in the U.S. Code Title 17:

Federal regulations

37 CFR Parts 201-270 (Copyright regulations)
Also known as Circular 96, they are published in the Code of Federal Regulations.

Treaties and other international agreements of which the United States is a party

International issues: treaties, U.S. Copyright Office 
The Office of Policy and International Affairs lists the international copyright treaties.


Web sources

Copyright in general

  • Copyright Claims Board
    The Copyright Claims Board is available to resolve copyright disputes of a relatively low economic value as an efficient, less expensive alternative to federal court by a virtual hearing by three experienced attorneys.
  • Copyright Clearance Center
    Serving the interests of those who supply content, the CCC is a global rights broker for in- and out-of-print materials. It facilitates getting permission, licensing your own content, registering copyright, etc.
  • Copyright law in the United States, Bitlaw.
    This website has clear summaries of the various elements of copyright law in the U.S.
  • Copyright renewal database, Stanford University.
    This database makes searchable the copyright renewal records received by the U.S. Copyright Office between 1950 and 1992 for books published in the U.S. between 1923 and 1963. Note that the database includes only U.S. Class A (book) renewals.
  • Copyright term and public domain, Cornell University. 
    This chart shows the lifespan of copyright protection by type of work.
  • Copyright timeline, Association of Research Libraries (ARL).
    A history of copyright in the United States, this comprehensive timeline begins with the 18th century and includes references to major changes in copyright law made by Congress, the courts, and other organizations.
  • Lumen, Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society.
    "The Lumen database collects and analyzes legal complaints and requests for removal of online materials, helping Internet users to know their rights and understand the law. These data enable us to study the prevalence of legal threats and let Internet users see the source of content removals." See also Copyright subtopics.
  • Search copyright records, U.S. Copyright Office.
    Search online for works registered and documents recorded by the U.S. Copyright Office since January 1, 1978. Includes tips on how to find records of works registered prior to January 1, 1978.
  • What are the copyright implications of NFTs?, Reuters, October 29, 2021.

Artificial intelligence

Fair use


Print sources

The copyright handbook, Stephen Fishman, 15th ed., Nolo Press, 2024. (eBook available with library card).

Copyright law in a nutshell, by Mary LaFrance. West, 2022.

Fandom and the law : fan fiction, art, film, & cosplay, by Marc H. Greenberg, ABA, 2021.

Getting permission, Nolo Press, 2022. (eBook available with library card).

Intellectual property litigation, American Bar Association, quarterly, 2009- (eBook available at link with library card).

Intellectual property practice, chapter 7, MCLE, 2020.

Nimmer on copyright: A treatise on the law of literary, musical and artistic property, and the protection of ideas, by Melville B. Nimmer. M. Bender, 1978 - to date. (eBook available with library card).

Patent, copyright and trademark, Nolo Press, 2022. (2024 eBook available with library card).

Protecting and enforcing copyright, by Lisa M. Tittemore and Joel R. Leeman. MCLE, 2014.

The public domain, Nolo Press, 2020. (2023 eBook available with library card).

Contact   for Massachusetts law about copyright

Last updated: June 6, 2024

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