Case books and textbooks are expensive and often even unaffordable for students. What is appalling is where the money from these exorbitant rates go – not towards the publishing costs or author’s royalties but to the publishers who act as middlemen in this process. Several of these published books are case books or statute books, and merely compile what is already available in the public domain.
In recent years, the open access movement has gained more momentum, enabled by the ease of sharing information via the internet. Using the medium of the internet, academicians and organizations now self-publish textbooks and make them available for free or subsidized rates to make access to legal education fair and equitable.
The following is a list of open access or low cost textbooks/casebooks that may be of immense help to our readers. Even though most of the below listed books are US centric, they are extremely useful for understanding the basic concepts of intellectual property law and internet law.
IP Course Books
- James Boyle, Jennifer Jenkins, INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY: LAW & THE INFORMATION SOCIETY- CASES & MATERIALS, 3rd available at http://web.law.duke.edu/cspd/openip
This book serves as a wonderful and unique introduction to IP law, the theories of intellectual property, copyright, trademark, patent, advertising, trade secrets etc. This one of a kind treatise is a highly recommended read for both beginners and pros in the field.
- Lydia Pallas Loren, Joseph Scott Miller, INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LAW: CASES & MATERIALS, Version 4.1, 2016 available at https://www.semaphorepress.com/IntellectualPropertyLaw_overview.html
This fully updated book covers all primary aspects of intellectual property, including patents, designs, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, and limits to IP law along with extensive discussion of US case law.
- Mark A. Lemley, Peter S. Menell, et. al, INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY IN THE NEW TECHNOLOGICAL AGE: 2016 (Vol. I: Perspectives, trade secrets and Patents, Vol II: Copyrights, Trademarks and State IP Protections) ($25 each) available at http://ipnta.com
This two part edition focuses on trade secrets, patents, copyrights, trademarks and other forms of IP, and their intersection with internet law and other forms of technology.
Barton Beebe, TRADEMARK LAW: AN OPEN-SOURCE CASEBOOK, Version 3.0 available at http://tmcasebook.org
This casebook is designed for the trademark course at the NYU School of Law and serves as a complete guide to the US case law on trademark including establishing trademark rights, infringement, defenses to infringement, false advertising, right to publicity etc.
Brian L. Frye, OPEN SOURCE COPYRIGHT CASEBOOK available at http://copyrightlawcasebook.blogspot.com
This is a one of a kind learning experience created by the Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Kentucky College of Law. It is written in a blog format, which each post serving as a “class”, dealing with a particular aspect of copyright law and borrowing heavily from case law.
Rebecca Tushnet, Eric Goldman, ADVERTISING & MARKETING LAW: Cases and Materials, 2nd ed. available at http://www.advertisinglawbook.com ($11.50)
This 1400 page casebook on the niche area of advertising and marketing law has been broken down into two volumes and covers false advertisings, omissions, disclosures, consumer class actions, copyrights, brand protection, privacy etc.
- Eric Goldman, INTERNET LAW: CASES & MATERIALS, 2015 version, available at https://gumroad.com/l/jOIw ($8)
This book talks about cyberspace, its regulation, jurisdiction, copyrights, secondary liability, search engines, pornography etc. This is a relatively new but fast emerging sister-branch of intellectual property law, especially in India.
- James Grimmelman, INTERNET LAW: CASES AND PROBLEMS, 6th ed. available at
This book deals with the fast moving subject of internet law. It covers issues such as jurisdiction, domain names, privacy, speech etc. as well as new and emerging issues such as 3D printing, robotics and drones. Each section is accompanied by real-life problems, giving the readers an opportunity to put their newly acquired knowledge to the test.
Free statutory supplements:
James Boyle, Jennifer Jenkins, INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY: LAW & THE INFORMATION SOCIETY- SELECTED STATUTES & TREATIES, available at http://web.law.duke.edu/cspd/pdf/IPStatutes2015.pdf
This book is a collection of all US statutes pertaining to intellectual property and most major international treaties on the subject.
WIPO INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY HANDBOOK, 2008 available at http://www.wipo.int/edocs/pubdocs/en/intproperty/489/wipo_pub_489.pdf
This all-encompassing handbook covers an introduction to all forms of IP, their practical aspects and the WIPO/WTO system of administering these forms of IP.
So far, in India, students were getting by on photocopied versions of expensive imported textbooks. However, in University of Oxford v Rameshwari Photocopy Services & Anr., big publishers sued Delhi University and a small photocopying shop attached to it for copyright infringement as they were photocopying portions of these copyrighted books for students. The final judgement in the case is still reserved, but the court had granted an interim injunction in favour of the publishers way back in 2012, indicating that this practice is illegal under the Copyright Act 1957. This ongoing litigation has been previously discussed here, here and here.
Another alternative for students is to rent or buy used textbooks from second-hand markets. However, this may not always be feasible for high quality foreign textbooks which are not easily available.
In light of these developments, it is high time that we in India, too, publish open access course books to provide an affordable and accessible means of IP education to students and researchers alike. Towards this end, NLU Delhi’s Centre for Innovation, IP and Competition, aims to create exhaustive open access textbooks on Intellectual Property Law and Competition Law. Let’s hope that other organizations and academicians in India also take the lead in providing free and fair knowledge to all.
(Image from here)