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The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Government Information

A Guide to Government Information Sources


United States federal law is collected in the United States Code. The Code is arranged as 54 titles of various subject matters of federal jurisdiction (e.g. Title 12: Banks and banking; Title 17: Copyrights; Title 47: Telecommunications). The U.S. Code is updated and revised regularly based on public laws enacted in prior sessions of Congress (see Statutes at Large).  

The titles are then split up into chapters, which are further divided into sections (e.g. Title 17: Copyrights -- Chapter 1: Subject matter and scope of copyright -- Section 106: Exclusive rights in copyrighted works).

Federal laws might be cited as follows: TITLE U.S.C. § SECTION. For example, 47 U.S.C. § 21 refers to Telecommunications (Title 47), Submarine cables; willful injury to; punishment (section 21).

The U.S. Code can be found at many locations on the Internet:

Find federal statutes by popular name

Federal laws are often known by their "popular name" or "short title" rather than by their U.S. Code title and section. Popular name tables exist to allow researchers to match the popular name with the location in the code.