The number of books in HathiTrust’s collection open to reading access in the U.S. and globally grows every week thanks to this trailblazing program. Teams of member reviewers examine individual records to determine whether a particular work is in the public domain, and whenever possible, they provide access to it. This delivers on our core mission to preserve the scholarly and cultural record and permit reading access to the collection to the fullest extent allowable. A prime example of the collective benefit of shared action, the Copyright Review Program opens thousands of titles each year for reading access by readers and researchers around the world.

Benefits of the Copyright Review Program

Increase Open Access Scholarship

  • Sustain this long-standing, collaborative program that increases reading access for researchers in the U.S. and worldwide.
  • Support day-to-day efforts to expand access to the HathiTrust collection through rights review.
  • Give authors a path to open their work through the adjacent effort of managing rights requests for their titles in HathiTrust.

Offer Professional Copyright Review Experience

  • Provide opportunities for your employees to contribute to the profession in a meaningful way and receive specialized training to investigate the rights status of digital library items.

Every day, we receive new contributions to the digital library and with every new title comes an opportunity to ensure its rights status is accurate. Items with certain types of missing or undetermined metadata often make good candidates for review. Core to our mission is permitting reading access to items in the collection to the fullest extent allowable. Our team of member reviewers conducts thousands of reviews each week to grow the collection of public domain materials

Much of our review work is ongoing and includes reviews of monographs and serial titles suspected to be out of copyright; U.S. Federal Documents and state docs (which are not automatically in the public domain); and government works published primarily in commonwealth countries — UK, Canada, and Australia.

Join the Copyright Review Team

Any individual from a member library is eligible to serve as a copyright reviewer. HathiTrust periodically puts out an open call for new team members. After training, the primary responsibility of reviewers is to investigate the copyright status of digitized works. 

Learn more

Support and Training


Finding the Public Domain, published by Michigan Publishing in June 2016 with funding from IMLS, is a comprehensive guide to understanding the Copyright Review Management System (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.



Contact our member-led user support team for help!