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Copyright Office

I recently gave a talk on Copyright Essentials on campus to a group of faculty and students. It was a pleasure to find the group for this particular Copyright Essentials to be lively, informed, and inquisitive.  One participant offered some interesting observations from his experiences. Michael Hortsch, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology from the University of Michigan, Medical School remarked that copyright is best considered at the outset of a project.  Keeping track of resources from the start make other possibilities infinitely easier later. From Professor Hortsch (contact Professor Hortcsh at – I share this with his permission – the italics are mine):

As I am involved in several University publication projects, attending the copyright session was very important for me. Several months ago I published a self-review iPad app for students learning histology ( So far the app is very successful, and I am now working on an iBook that is based on work of a now deceased former colleague. For both items the Regents of the University have and maintain the copyright. For the iPad app, I made sure from the very beginning that I would use only material that is owned by the University of Michigan or hire a professional artist, who agreed to transfer the copyright to the University of Michigan. Things become a lot easier if they are planned and considered from the beginning.

As I mentioned, when designing my SecondLook PowerPoint series, which is now the first “commercial” iPad app sold by the University of Michigan and which recently won the Provost’s Teaching Innovation Prize, I planned from the very beginning that the copyright for all images needed to reside with the Regents of the University or I would need special permission from the copyright holder. I still had to get special permission from the copyright holder to use about 15 images for a “commercial” project. That turned out to be a lot of extra work. 

Well said.

For information on fair use and getting permissions visit the Library Copyright Office and for ideas for making new work open from the start take a look at Open.Michigan’s resources.


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