If you want to stay apace of the latest information in the various fields of information law, there are a wealth of great resources available online. We will introduce just a few of them below.
But before that, it’s worth noting that not everything that is useful is a click away. The Rutgers Law Library has some of the most important and often-cited treatises on intellectual property and information law, including Nimmer on Copyright, McCarthy on Trademarks, and Chisum on Patents. The hard copies of these treatises are arguably superior to their electronic versions in some ways. The library also has a large number of monographs and other materials relevant to information law research, so you should familiarize yourself with their collection.
Given that you have student access to Westlaw and Lexis, you should explore the extent of your access to intellectual property resources. These two commercial databases provide access to IP-related caselaw, practice forms, news, law review articles, treatises, statutes, etc. — with hyperlinks that will provide access to documents across databases. If you are doing serious research into an information law issue, the commercial databases should be your first stop.
For free and quick access to the legal codes, the Legal Information Institute at Cornell is a great resource. Other sites, such as Google Scholar, offer free online access to case law. The USPTO website has a large number of patent and trademark resources and databases. And the U.S. Copyright Office has information and resources related to copyright law.
There are many students journals that publish specifically in the area of information law. For instance, Rutgers Law publishes the Rutgers Computer and Technology Law Journal. There are IP journals at Harvard, Stanford, Berkeley, Virginia, Vanderbilt, and elsewhere. Almost all of these journals accept student submissions, so if you are thinking of publishing a student note or article, you might want to consider placement in one of these specialty journals.
Many law firms, solo practitioners, law professors, law students, and even non-lawyers maintain weblogs that offer commentary on recent information law developments. (You may have noticed that there is a RIIPL blog on this site.) While some blogs have been in operation for over a decade, new ones are always appearing. Some people read blogs by visiting websites directly, but many people use feed aggregators to read weblogs. (Professor Lastowka has been using Feedly lately.)
There are many lists of IP-related weblogs. Here is one. Here is another. Another way of finding lists of weblogs is to look at the “blogroll” or list of links on any weblog — most IP bloggers tend to link to other bloggers. What blogs you read will depend on what sorts of blogging you like. Some blogs are funny, some are focused on litigation, some are focused on particular subfields (e.g. fashion or biotech). Professor Lastowka recommends the following blogs as good starting points:
- Patent Law: Patently-O, Patent Baristas, Patent Docs
- Trademark Law: 43(B)log, Las Vegas Trademark Attorney, The TTABlog, The Trademark Blog
- Copyright: Clancco, Techdirt(tagged copyright), Hollywood, Esq., Property: Intangible
- Internet Law: Tech & Marketing Law Blog, Freedom to Tinker, Harvard’s Berkman Center
For communications and network policy, you might want to check out Public Knowledge and Free Press, for perspectives from the left, and Free State Foundation, for perspectives from the right. Of course fcc.gov itself is an invaluable resource, as is ofcom.org.uk, which has forward-looking analyses and reports on media markets and policies.
And of course, there are many other forms of social media that you can use to stay on top of IP news and developments. RIIPL broadcasts on Twitter and YouTube and you can find links on those pages to some of the people and organizations we “follow.” There are also many free IP-related podcasts.
Of course, given the vast quantity of IP news available today, you won’t have time to keep up with even a fraction. Your law school course work should come before reading blogs and other social media. However, blogs and social media are a good way to supplement what you’re learning in class and get a sense of the latest cases and controversies. They may also be a good way to get ideas for student publications.