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Entertainment Law Research Guide

This guide is intended to introduce you generally to the field of entertainment law.


This guide provides preliminary guidance for conducting research on intellectual property (IP) law. It is subdivided into three categories: patent, trademark, and copyright. Each category constitutes a major branch of IP law. For a brief overview, see this Brief Introduction and Overview

IP resources include secondary sources in the forms of treatises, practice guides and scholarly articles. Primary sources include case law, legislation, administrative decisions, and filed patents, trademarks and copyrights. The guide contains key resources, and provides a good starting point for IP research, but it does not contain all resources available on every IP topic. While some IP topics are handled at the state level, the majority of IP law is governed by federal law. Thus, this guide focuses only on federal law.

Copyright Law

Copyright laws are the backbone of the entertainment industry. Many disputes in the entertainment industry are based on copyright law. The resources given below are a mixture of primary and secondary sources that illuminate the laws governing books, shows, movies, plays and other media. Secondary sources provide an insight into the problems faced by the industry and the lacunae the primary sources cannot fill.

USC Digital Accessibility