All of the lecture notes prepared by Prof. Fisher for use in conjunction with CopyrightX are contained in two interactive “mind maps.”  The first of these maps summarizes the principal rules that constitute copyright law in the United States.  The second summarizes the main theories used by scholars to justify, criticize, or suggest modifications of those rules.

The maps are available in six formats:

  • The “iThoughts” versions can be used in conjunction with the iThoughts application — which is inexpensive and compatible with the IOS operating system.
  • The “Mindmap” versions can be used in conjunction with the Mindmanager application — which is proprietary and expensive but highly flexible.
  •  The “XMind” versions can be used and edited with the XMind application — which is both free and open-source.
  • The “Freemind” version can be used and edited with the Freemind application — which (as its name suggests) is also free.
  • The “Html5” versions (currently in beta) will open automatically in most modern browsers.  However, unlike all of the other versions, they cannot be modified by users.
  • The “Markdown” versions consist of text files containing all of the information in the maps in traditional outline format.  They are intended for use by students who find two-dimensional maps unhelpful and wish instead to build their own outlines.

Links providing access to the various versions are contained in the following chart:

Copyright Law iThoughts Mindmap Freemind XMind Html5 Markdown
Theories of IP iThoughts Mindmap Freemind XMind Html5 Markdown

How to use one of these maps:

  • To expand and contract branches, click on the “+” and “-” buttons.
  • The icons that (depending upon version) look like sections of chain, arrows, or footprints provide links to other documents. Some of those documents consist of statutes, treaties, or judicial opinions; others are slide presentations that examine cases or doctrines in more detail. Once you have explored one of those collateral documents to your satisfaction, close the browser window to return to the main map.

The maps and all of the collateral slide presentations are licensed under a Creative Commons License, the terms of which are available on the Permission page.

Caution: These maps do not aspire to be treatises; they are not comprehensive, and some of the interpretations they offer of current legal doctrine are controversial. Rather, they are designed to be used as teaching aids. To that end, they attempt to describe and organize the main rules and arguments in each field, paying particular attention to significant recent developments and to especially controversial or unstable issues.

If you make use of these maps and find flaws in them — broken links, errors that need to be corrected, gaps that need to be filled, or references to rules that have been superseded — please email William Fisher at  tfisher at

Hosted by:

Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School Harvard Law School