The University of Michigan Library has released Finding the Public Domain: Copyright Review Management System Toolkit, written by Melissa Levine, Richard C. Adler, Justin Bonfiglio, Kristina Eden, and Brian S. Hall (all University of Michigan). The toolkit, which aims to help users determine copyright status of works in their collections, can be read in sections online, downloaded as a PDF, or purchased in hard copy.
Copyright is meant to do something—several things—to accomplish socially desirable ends. One of those ends is to create a space for a free exchange of ideas that allows us to build upon a universe of expression that came before.
How can I tell if something is in the public domain? This is the central question addressed daily by the Copyright Review Management System (CRMS) project. It is a special question and one essential to the social bargain that society has struck with authors and rights holders…
How do we move the copyright status of works in the collections of our libraries, museums, and archives from confusion and uncertainty to clarity and opportunity? Working over a span of nearly eight years, the University of Michigan Library received three grants from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to generously fund CRMS, a cooperative effort by partner research libraries to identify books in the public domain in HathiTrust. The Toolkit is a resource that aims to allow others to understand and replicate the work done by CRMS.