Copyright Review Program



The Copyright Review Management System (CRMS) has enabled large-scale, distributed investigations into the copyright status of works in the HathiTrust collection. Since 2008, over 50 reviewers at 22 libraries have reviewed 600,000 items, determining that more than 320,000 are no longer protected by copyright and have entered the public domain. This is approximately 5.7% of the current 5.6 million volumes that are fully viewable in HathiTrust. The focus of the project has been on works published:

1)    In the United States, published between 1923 and 1963 (CRMS-US)
2)    In the United Kingdom, published before 1943 (CRMS-World)
3)    In Canada and Australia, published before 1963 (CRMS-World)

The program has been a stellar example of cooperative action to address a significant problem: the lack of knowledge that we have about the copyright status of our collective collections. In addition to making large numbers of books openly viewable, the program has developed a rigorous process for the investigation of copyright status, which can be used to model investigations of other content. In April 2016, the ALA recognized the program with the L. Ray Patterson Copyright Award, which recognizes “contributions ... that demonstrate dedication to a balanced U.S. Copyright system through advocacy for a robust fair use doctrine and public domain.”

From 2008-2015, the CRMS program was generously funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences (IMLS) and managed by the University of Michigan Library Copyright Office.  It is now operated by HathiTrust.


Program announcement: 2017-2018 open call for participation

On September 18, 2018 we will be opening the 2017-2018 recruitment for the following copyright review projects:

  •  US monographs, 1923-1963
  •  US state and local government documents, 1923-1977

Please contact Kristina Eden at for information on how your institution can take part in this important work. There will be an informational webinar about the HathiTrust Copyright Review Program held on September 25, 3:00-4:30pm ET for anyone seeking to learn more about participation.  To join the webinar go to the link:  No registration is required.

Additional information is located on the page Participating in Copyright Projects


Program goals: 2016-2018

Copyright Review of US Monographs dated 1923-1963

Works published in the United States between 1923 and 1963 were the basis of the first CRMS project. The pool of candidates was largely completed in 2014 as focus shifted to publications with UK copyright. The ongoing addition of materials to HathiTrust has resulted in a rebuilding of the pool, which we will begin reviewing again in January 2017.

Scope : Monographs published in the United States in the years 1923-63.
Candidate pool : 81,300
Staffing : 26 reviewers, approx. 4.7 FTE
Reviewer commitments : Through December 2017


Copyright Review of US State and Local Government Documents

State government documents, unlike works of the U.S. federal government, are not by default public domain but rather receive protection under copyright law to the same degree as any other publication. However, if a state government published a work prior to 1978 and did not affix copyright notice, copyright protection for that work was lost and the work can be considered to have entered the public domain. This pool of candidates has been reviewed as a pilot until now. With the continued interest from researchers and a high value public domain return rate (around 70%) we anticipate expanding the pilot to an official project in January 2017.

Scope : Monographs published by US state and local governments in the years 1923-77.
Candidate pool : 56,000
Staffing: 6 reviewers, approx. 0.6 FTE
Reviewer commitments : Through December 2017


HathiTrust Copyright Review, participating institutions for 2017

  • Amherst College
  • Boston College
  • Cornell University
  • DePaul University Library
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Harvard University
  • McGill University
  • Michigan State University Library
  • New York University
  • Penn State University Libraries
  • Princeton University
  • Stanford University
  • The Ohio State University
  • The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 
  • University of Arizona Libraries
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Minnesota



Finding the Public Domain, published by Michigan Publishing in June 2016 with funding from IMLS, is a comprehensive guide to understanding CRMS methods and to aid others in implementing similar copyright projects. This toolkit provides a window into the collaboration, research methods and technology behind CRMS, and aims to share this transformative activity broadly. Finding the Public Domain is available for free as an e-book. Print copies, offered for sale on a cost recovery basis, are available through Amazon.


Accomplishments: 2008-2017 


Volumes determined

Public domain

U.S. publications (1923-1963)



United Kingdom, Canada, Australia (1870’s-1940’s)








CRMS-US, IMLS National Leadership grant (2008-2011)

Scope: U.S. monographic publications, 1923-1963
Final report to IMLS: February 15, 2012 (pdf)

CRMS-World, IMLS National Leadership grant (2011-2014)

Scope: U.S. monographic publications, 1923-1963 (cont’d from prior grant); UK monographs before 1943, Canadian/Australian monographs before 1963
Final report to IMLS: December 2011 to November 30, 2015 (pdf)

CRMS-Toolkit, IMLS National Leadership grant (2014-2016)

Scope: UK monographs before 1943, Canadian/Australian monographs before 1963 (cont’d from prior grant); pilot review of non-serial U.S. state government documents 1923-1977; and publication of a toolkit for copyright review based on the CRMS model.
Interim report to IMLS: December 2014 to November 30, 2015 (pdf)


Program staff

HathiTrust/University of Michigan copyright review team

  • Kristina Eden, copyright review program manager
  • Moses Hall, lead programmer
  • Greg Nichols, trainer and expert reviewer
  • Heather Shoecraft, state government documents project manager
  • Melissa Levine, legal specialist (UM Copyright Office)
  • Justin Bonfiglio, legal specialist (UM Copyright Office)

Current copyright reviewers from institutional partners

  • Amherst College: Maryanne Alos
  • Boston College: Naomi Rubin
  • Cornell University: Caitlin Finlay
  • DePaul University: Wendall Sullivan
  • Harvard University: Peter Hirtle
  • Johns Hopkins University: Chris Case (expert reviewer)
  • McGill University: Louise Robertson
  • New York University: Daniel Biddle
  • Penn State University Libraries: Grace Brooks, Melanie Rinker, Nicolle Nicastro, Jenn Phillips
  • Princeton: Jennifer Block (expert reviewer)
  • Stanford University: Kris Kasianovitz, Judy Marsh
  • The Ohio State University: Pam Cale, Walter Risley
  • The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: Cynthia Baker, Cynthia Cowan, Libby Wilcher 
  • University of Arizona Libraries: Elissa Mondschein
  • University of Chicago: Connie Fleischer
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: Lura Joseph, Qiang Jin
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst: Jeremy Smith
  • University of Michigan: Greg Nichols, Heather Shoecraft
  • University of Minnesota:  Rory Segety, Sandra Cressman, Melissa Aho, Marlys McGuire

Previous copyright reviewers and staff from institutional partners



  • Melissa Levine, Kristina Eden. Finding the Public Domain webinar presented for ALA CopyTalk. September 1, 2016.
  • Bernadette Bartlett, Kyle Courtney, Kristina Eden and Kris Kasianovitz. State Government Information and the Copyright Conundrum, webinar presented for Indiana Networking for Documents and Information of Government Organizations (INDIGO). June 15, 2016.
  • Bernadette Bartlett, Kyle Courtney, Kristina Eden and Kris Kasianovitz. State Government Information and the Copyright Conundrum, webinar presented for Help! I'm an Accidental Government Information Librarian. April 25, 2016. (webinar recording
  • Argryi Panezi, Melissa Levine, Kristina Eden. The International Framework and the Reality of Copyright Determination: Copyright Developments in the US, the EU and WIPO and Briefing on the Copyright Review Management System (CRMS). DPLAfest 2016, Washinton D.C. April 15, 2016. Eden slides, Panezi slides
  • Michael Furlough, Kristina Eden. Copyright Reviews and Access in HathiTrust. presented for HathiTrust membership. March 16, 2016.
  • Bernadette Bartlett, Kyle Courtney, Kristina Eden, and Kris Kasianovitz. State Government Information and the Copyright Conundrum, presented for ALA OITP CopyTalk. February 4, 2016. Slide presentation.





Kristina Eden, Copyright Review Program Manager
Twitter: @EdenKristina