Grants to University of Michigan Help Answer Questions of Copyright

By Richard C. Adler, Special Projects Librarian
University of Michigan Library

The Copyright Office at the University of Michigan Library is bringing to a close the first phase of its new project, the Copyright Review Management System-World. CRMS-World is the second of two IMLS-funded projects that together will determine the copyright status of nearly 450,000 English-language books published in the United States, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, and Spain.

CRMS World Logo
The first project, “CRMS-US,” made possible the review of over 170,000 titles in the HathiTrust Digital Library that had been published between 1923 and 1963. The project team—which included reviewers from our valued partners, the University of Wisconsin, the University of Minnesota, and Indiana University— identified nearly 87,000 books as being in the public domain, in addition to collecting renewal information and identifying rights holders of works in copyright.

The CRMS-World project is building on that previous accomplishment by taking on the approximately 110,000 U.S. titles that remain while also expanding the scope of the review to include another 170,000 English-language books published in Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Spain between 1872 and 1941. We are very pleased to have several institutions joining us in this effort, including Baylor University; Columbia University; Dartmouth College; Duke University; the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; the University of Iowa; Johns Hopkins University; Northwestern University; Penn State University; Princeton University; the University of California, Los Angeles; the University of California, Irvine; the University of California, San Francisco; and our newest partner, the California Digital Library.

We were especially excited to host twenty-three of our colleagues from these institutions at a CRMS-World training meeting here in Ann Arbor on May 2-4, 2012. This was a great opportunity to meet everyone face-to-face, have some interesting discussions about recent developments in copyright law, and give the reviewers a chance to explore the newest version of CRMS. As Dan Zellner of Northwestern University later told us, “It was a real pleasure participating in the CRMS-World training. It’s always nice to work on a project that provides increased access to research materials. At the same time, I learned a lot about copyright and it was wonderful to meet my peers from other institutions. Our hosts were really great, wonderful teachers and guides.” Face-to-face training is being supplemented with a web-based training space.

We are looking forward to an ambitious and productive three years!

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