Comprehensiveness rating: 5 read less
“This Intellectual Property Supplement from eLangdell Press contains the text of federal laws and regulations in the area of copyright, trademarks and patents.”
United States Copyright Law is comprehensive, reprinting the entire U.S. Code Title 17. The 13 chapters correspond to a section of the law (e.g., Chap. 1 = Sect. 1xx). The text of each section is followed by explanatory text such as the relevant public laws, “Historical and Revision Notes,” references (e.g., House Reports), and amendments, where applicable. If the reader is just looking for the text of the law, the copious notes may get in the way. However, these notes also include very helpful explanatory information. For example, “Fixation in Tangible Form” includes helpful examples such as live broadcasts simultaneously recorded, and “Categories of Copyrightable Works” reminds the reader that the list is representative and not limiting.
The U.S. Code Title 17 at http://uscode.house.gov/view.xhtml?path=/prelim@title17&edition=prelim has similar references and notes but it also has links to the published laws. These links are lacking from the PDF and iBook versions of this textbook, which lack any external links.
Accuracy rating: 5
Content is accurate as it is copied directly from the US Code at http://uscode.house.gov/view.xhtml?path=/prelim@title17&edition=prelim
Relevance/Longevity rating: 4
There is a caveat that the textbook is current only through July 31, 2014. The link to updates from the Office of Law Revision Counsel Bulk US Code [http://uscodebeta.house.gov/download/download.shtml] was frequently inaccessible during the work day (e.g., on March 27, 2015, 3:45 pm PDT; April 7, 2015, 3:20 pm EDT; April 10, 2015, 11:30 am EDT), but worked fine on a Sunday evening.
Clarity rating: 5
“This collection is intended to be used primarily as a statutory supplement for law students and legal scholars in academic settings, although practitioners in this area of law will also find it useful.“ [from http://open.umn.edu/opentextbooks/BookDetail.aspx?bookId=103]
This textbook reproduces the text of the law, which is generally comprehensible. The “Historical and Revision Notes” are written for a broader, educated audience. However, the common mistake of defining terms without explaining them is often present here too, e.g., “Nonprofit Educational Institution. Clause (1) makes clear that it applies only to the teaching activities "of a nonprofit educational institution."”
For law students and legal scholars the inclusion of effective dates of amendments, findings related to public law, etc., may be very useful.
Consistency rating: 5
The text uses consistent terminology and a uniform framework.
Modularity rating: 3
This work is logically divided into chapters and sections to mimic the structure of the US Code. But there are no logical page or chapter breaks, which, along with the lack of internal and external links, makes this online textbook more cumbersome than a traditional book and does not take advantage of being in a format digital.
Organization/Structure/Flow rating: 4
The topics are arranged as they are in the legal code.
Interface rating: 3
The text does not have a reader-friendly layout. There is the expected dense text of the law, but there are orphaned sentences and no logical page breaks between chapters.
The 13 chapters are listed on the first page of the PDF file, which has no cover and the chapters are not linked to their corresponding sections within the book. The iBook version has the typical front matter (e.g., preface, notices), which is lacking in the PDF version. Also lacking from the PDF version is a table of contents. The the iBook version has a table of contents with internal links to all the chapters, sections, and subchapters. Unfortunately, neither version has links within the individual chapters to their subsections.
There are very few links within the textbook and some are not clear to this lay reader, e.g., in the PDF version from p. 112: “2 So in original. Probably should be followed by "Reform."” links to superscript on p. 96.
There are no lots of links to the numerous federal documents cited. This would be a huge benefit of an online textbook to the intended audience though it may have been excessive for other readers.
Grammatical Errors rating: 5
The text contains no grammatical errors.
Cultural Relevance rating: 5
The text is not culturally insensitive or offensive.
I’m not sure that there are advantages to this online textbook over the original site: http://uscode.house.gov/view.xhtml?path=/prelim@title17&edition=prelim.