TVR 30500: Digital Media Law

About this Guide

This guide serve as a pathfinder for the following topics in Digital Media Law: libel, privacy, intellectual property, theories of free expression, regulatory differences between: broadcasting, print, and other media, sexual expression (obscenity, pornography), licensing and contracts, etc.


Links to specific searches by subject in EBSCO Databases such as: Academic Search Premier, Business Source Premier and Communication and Mass Media Complete. (you can limit to academic journals only on in the menu to the left under "Source Types"): Browse selected journals:

Primary Law pathfinder

Cases:  Specialty reporters
  • Media Law reporter
    Covers new cases for radio, television, and journalism. Updated weekly. Bound cases from v.1 1977-
  • NARC Online Archives
    Case reports of the National Advertising Division (NAD), Children's Advertising Review Unit (CARU), National Advertising Review Board (NARB), and the Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP).  NOTE: See the reference desk; A reference librarian will sign you in to access the fulltext of the cases.
  • Digestible Law: Perkins Coie's Internet Case Digest
    By the law firm Perkins Coie, this site "digests" Internet case law. Use LexisNexis to search for the full case cited.
Cases: General
  • LexisNexis Academic

    I.  Search by Citation
    Go to:  "Look up a Legal Case" on the LexisNexis main screen (Easy Search)
    Example: Type 129 F.3d 327 in the "by Citation" box.

    II.  Search by Party Name
    Go to:  "Look up a Legal Case" on the LexisNexis main screen (Easy Search)
    Example: Type Finkel v. Facebook in the "by Parties" box

    III. To search by topic, you can search on the core terms or syllabus sections:
    Go to: US Legal
    Click on: Federal & State Cases
    Search by fields:

    CORE-TERMS Core Terms identify key points of a case by closely tracking the court's language.
    Ex.  Type core-terms(privacy) in the "Search for:" box AND core-terms(online) in the second box.
    You can limit by data or jurisdiction.

    SYLLABUS.  The syllabus is a summary at the beginning of a court decisions that clarify major points of law.
    Ex. Type syllabus(online) in the "Search for:" box.  

    If there are too many results, try:
    Ex.2. Modify that to say you want the word "online" to appear at least 5 times by typing: syllabus(atleast5(online))
  • Supreme Court (from Oyez).  "Landmark Cases" are also listed in LexisNexis > US Legal in the left menu.
    Cable Television Regulation
    Commercial Speech

    Freedom of Information Act
The Constitution
2002 edition from GPOaccess. 

Federal Code: USC
To find a citation by the "Popular Name" of a code, try this list from Cornell's Legal Information Institute:
  • LexisNexis Academic
    Search by Citation
    Go to: US Legal
    Click on: Federal Statutes, Codes & Regulations
    Example: Type  in 47 uscs sec.151 the "Search For:" box and then choose "Citation" from the drop-down menu
    Note: United States Code Service (USCS) is Lexis's version of the United States Code.
  • FDsys (GPO's Federal Digital System) The Government Printing Office has the official version of the United States Code online.
  • Various government agencies and websites may link to unofficial copies of the United States Code, for instance:

    U.S. Copyright Office
    Includes the Law: Digital Millenium Copyright Act (P.L. 105-304) (17 USC. sec. 512, 1201-1204 et. al.)  Here is the Copyright Office summary (pdf).
    Fair Use (17 USC sec.107 et. al.), First Sale (17 USC sec. 109)

    Telecommunications Act of 1996 (P.L. 104-104) (47 USC) & Communications Decency Act of 1996
Federal Regulations: Code of Federal Regulations: CFR
Update the CFR by searching the Federal Register.
  • LexisNexis Academic
    Search by Citation
    Go to: US Legal
    Click on: Federal Statutes, Codes & Regulations
    Under "Select Source(s)": check Annotated U.S. Code & check the box for CFR (and the Federal Register if you want updates to the CFR)
    Ex.: Type  in 47 CFR 11.11 in the "Search For:" box and then choose "Citation" from the drop-down menu
    Ex.2.:  Type in " Emergency Alert System" in the "Search For" box and then choose "Headings" from the drop-down menu.
    Note: Instead of searching the CFR, you can browse it; choose the Browse link next to title in the Select Sources box.
  • Various government agencies and websites may link to unofficial copies of the CFR, for instance:

    U.S. Copyright Office  Title 37 covers the "Patents, Trademarks and Copyrights" section of the Code of Federal Regulations
  • Current & superseded copies are available from the GPO Access site.
  • Federal Communications Commission Title 47 contains Telecommunication regulations including those of the FCC

College and University resources

Libraries and Archives

Library organizations Getting Permission Major Vendors to Libraries
  • Dow Jones Factiva   Company know for busienss information (Dow Jones) and news (Factiva).  Part of News Corpoation that owns the Wall Street Journal.
  • EBSCO  Platform for indexes of numerous magazines, journals and newspapers.
  • Reed Elsevier Platform that is especially strong in the sciences, particularly SciVerse. The family includes LexisNexis that has a strengths in law, business, and current news.
  • GALE Platform that provides online reference works and indexes numerous magazines, journals and newspapers.
  • Informaworld   Platform that indexes information in the social sciences and medicine.  Home to Taylor& Fancis and Routlege amongst others.
  • Newsbank   Platform for current newspapers
  • ProQuest  Platform that indexes magazines, journals and newspapers.  Also has historical newspapers and disseration collecitons.
  • SAGE  Provides fulltext journal collections, books, reference books in a variety of research areas. 
  • Thompson / Reuters  Company know for legal resources (Westlaw) and news (Reuters)
Note:  "Ultimate parents" of media companies an be found in the database Business and Company Resource Center as well as the Business module of LexisNexis Academic.

Digital Libraries  (books and some magazines)
  • Google Books
    Search the full-text of millions of books and magazines -click the "Full view only" button to find full-text books or magazines.   Newer titles still under copyright can be searched, but the full-text is not viewable.  Use the "Find this book in a library" link to see if the IC Library has the title. Enter 14850 to see a list of local libraries that own the book.   If IC is listed, clicking on the link will take you to the record in the IC Library catalog, displaying its call number and availability.
  • HathiTrust Digital Library
    A collaborative project of several research-level academic libraries across the United States, HathiTrust is a digital repository for scanned books and other digital materials similar to Google Books.  In some cases, books that are only available in snippet view through Google Books are available in full text at HathiTrust.
Scholarly Communication
  • Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition  International group of libraries that analyzes and addresses issues in scholarly publications (the relation between publishers, authors and libraries) such as the high cost of journal subscriptions.
  • Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)
    Free, full text, quality controlled scientific and scholarly journals on all subjects in many languages.
  • Critical Commons : For Fair & Critical Participation in Media Culture
    This non-profit site supports teaching and research by hosting media clips that can be used for classroom instruction.  Faculty can add clips with commentary for class instruction by registering on the site as an advanced user.  Students who register as basic users can create links and post comments to videos.
  • Library Renewal
    Electronic content delivery for libraries (in development, summer 2011).
  • SAGE Open
    Open access articles in the social and behavioral sciences and humanities from the publisher SAGE.


As I come across websites that may be of interest for this course, I'll log them here:
  • Center for Copyright Information
    Organization that includes the RIAA, MPAA, and internet service providers (Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Verizon, AT&T) to educate consumers about copyright infringement and piracy.  They developed the Copyright Alert System that warns consumers when they are violating copyright.
  • Digital Rights Corp collects $10 settlement offers on behalf of its clients from users who infringe copyrights. Their "Learn about Copyrights" page is useful, for instance, here is a page on, "How P2P is Misused."
  •   Lists legal threats & communication to corporations & organizations such as Microsoft, Dreamworks & the MPAA
  • Steal this Film  Go ahead in this case -- they want you to.
  • Motion Picture Association of America:   Copyright Information
  • Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)
    Trade association that supports the music industry. Site includes links to anti-piracy initiatives and statistics. The Association has appeared often in campus news as they aggressively litigate against the illegal downloading of music.
  • EUR-Lex Directive 2000/31/EC  Directive 2000/31/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 8 June 2000 on certain legal aspects of information society services, in particular electronic commerce, in the Internal Market ('Directive on electronic commerce')

Contact Us

picture of Cathy Michael

Cathy Michael

Communications Librarian
(607) 274-1293

Search Argos

LexisNexis Help: Law searching

LexisNexis maintains a wiki of help screens to their product.  They include a page on Researching Intellectual Property Law.

Specific pages of interest include:

Cathy's blog

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Related Guide

Federal & State resources



Connect to subjects in the library's catalog for books, e-books, and DVDs.
Selected titles: Note: to find the books above, I searched the catalog for: 
Subject(online internet web blog weblog computer) AND Subject(law legal)

Benton Foundation

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