Director, Kenneth D. Crews

Update from Kenneth Crews, February 10, 2014.

I would like to thank my colleagues and Columbia and everyone who has visited this website over the years. Effective today, I am stepping out of the position as director of the CAO and will be serving the community in a new way. We are relocating to our home of Los Angeles, and I will be providing copyright legal and consulting services from the base of a law firm in Century City. See my announcement here. Many thanks to all my friends and colleagues, and I look forward to working with you again.

You may contact me in the interim at: kcrews107[at]outlook[dot]com

The firm’s website and contact information:

Kenneth Crews joined Columbia University in January 2008 as founding director of the Copyright Advisory Office (CAO) and serves concurrently on the faculty of Columbia Law School. For more than twenty years, Dr. Crews has focused much of his research, policymaking, and teaching on copyright issues and has been a leader on providing a better understanding of the relationship of copyright law to the needs of higher education. His first copyright book, Copyright, Fair Use, and the Challenge for Universities: Promoting the Progress of Higher Education, was published by the University of Chicago Press in October 1993, and it reevaluated understandings of copyright and policymaking at universities. A more recent book, Copyright Law for Librarians and Educators (third edition, 2012), has been widely received as an insightful and practical source for understanding copyright law. Dr. Crews was the first recipient of the L. Ray Patterson Copyright Award from the American Library Association (ALA) in 2005.

Professor Crews is a frequent speaker at universities and meetings throughout the world.  He has been an invited speaker on college and university campuses and at conferences in 43 U.S. states and on five continents.  He has given presentations and led meetings in such diverse locations as Uruguay, Mongolia, Moldova, Kuwait, Nigeria, and Barrow, Alaska. In 2008 he completed a study for the World Intellectual Property Organization (an agency of the United Nations), analyzing copyright statutes applicable to libraries in the laws of more than 150 countries.  He has served as a faculty member for the Munich Intellectual Property Law Center since its inception in 2003 and has been a visiting professor to teach international and American copyright law in Cairo, Egypt, at the University of Bayreuth, Germany, at the Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne.

Crews came to Columbia from Indiana University.  Beginning in 1994, he was director of the nation’s first university-based copyright office, located on the IUPUI campus of Indiana University (IU). At Indiana he also held a named professorship in the Robert H. McKinney School of Law, with a joint appointment in the IU School of Library and Information Science.

Dr. Crews brings a variety of academic and professional experiences to his duties at the University. He earned his undergraduate degree in history from Northwestern University and received his law degree from Washington University in St. Louis. He practiced general business and corporate law in Los Angeles, primarily for the entertainment industry, and during those years earned his M.L.S. and Ph.D. degrees from UCLA’s School of Library and Information Science.

His publications encompass the fields of copyright, constitutional law, political history, and library science. While practicing law in Los Angeles, he chaired a history committee of the state bar (see page 160 here). While still in college, he worked in a university archives and conducted historical research on windmills and tide mills on Long Island, N.Y., for the National Park Service. In rare moments of recreation, he enjoys bicycling, hiking, architecture, astronomy, archeology, art, and early rock and roll. He is happily married and has two perfect children. He is listed in Who’s Who in America.

Selected Publications by Kenneth D. Crews


Copyright Law for Librarians and Educators. Third edition. Chicago, Ill.: American Library Association, 2012.

Copyright Essentials for Librarians and Educators. Chicago, Ill.: American Library Association, 2000.

Copyright, Fair Use, and the Challenge for Universities: Promoting the Progress of Higher Education. Chicago, Ill.: University of Chicago Press, October 1993.

Corwin’s Constitution: Essays and Insights of Edward S. Corwin. New York: Greenwood Press, 1986.

Edward S. Corwin and the American Constitution: A Bibliographical Analysis. Foreword by Alpheus Thomas Mason. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1985.

Journal Articles

“Museum Policies and Art Images: Conflicting Objectives and Copyright Overreaching.”  Fordham Intellectual Property, Media and Entertainment Law Journal 22 (2012): 795-834.

"Copyright Duration and the Progressive Degeneration of a Constitutional Doctrine." Syracuse Law Review 55 (2005): 189–250.

"The Law of Fair Use and the Illusion of Fair-Use Guidelines." The Ohio State Law Journal 62 (2001): 602–700.

"Distance Education and Copyright Law: The Limits and Meaning of Copyright Policy." Journal of College and University Law 27 (Summer 2000): 15–51.

"Perspectives on Fair-Use Guidelines for Education and Libraries." Edited by Kenneth D. Crews and Dwayne K. Buttler. Journal of the American Society for Information Science 50 (December 1999): 1303–1357 [series of nine articles; three written by Dr. Crews].

"Fair Use of Unpublished Works: Burdens of Proof and the Integrity of Copyright." Arizona State Law Journal 31 (Spring 1999): 1–93.

"Harmonization and the Goals of Copyright: Property Rights or Cultural Progress?" Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies 6 (Fall 1998): 117–138.

"Copyright and Distance Education: Displays, Performances and the Limitations of condensedt Law." In Growing Pains: Adapting Copyright for Libraries, Education, and Society, pp. 369–385. Edited by Laura N. Gasaway. Littleton, Colo.: Fred B. Rothman, 1997.

"Copyright at a Turning Point: Corporate Responses to the Changing Environment." Journal of Intellectual Property Law 3 (Spring 1996): 277–316.

"What Qualifies as ‘Fair Use’?" Chronicle of Higher Education, May 17, 1996, B1–2.

"Copyright Law and Information Policy Planning: Public Rights of Use in the 1990′s and Beyond." Journal of Government Information 22 (1995): 87–99.

Book Chapters

“Corwin, Edward Samuel.”  In Yale Biographical Dictionary of American Law, pp. 130-131.  Edited by Roger K. Newman.  New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2009.

“Copyright Law and Unpublished Materials: Fair Use and Strategies for Archival Management.”  In College and University Archives: Readings in Theory and Practice, pp. 227-243.  Edited by Christopher J. Prom and Ellen D. Swain.  Chicago: Society of American Archivists, 2008.

“Instructional Materials and ‘Works Made for Hire’ at Universities: Policies and the Strategic Management of Copyright Ownership.”  In The Center for Intellectual Property Handbook, pp. 15-38.  Edited by Kimberly M. Bonner. New York, NY: Neal-Schuman Publishers, 2006.

“Copyright Protection and Technological Reform of Library Services: Digital Change, Practical Applications, and Congressional Action.”  In Libraries, Museums, and Archives: Legal Issues and Challenges in the New Information Era, pp. 257-273.  Edited by Tomas A. Lipinski. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2002 [co-authored with Dwayne K. Buttler].

“Licensing for Information Resources: Creative Contracts and the Library Mission.”  In Virtually Yours: Models for Managing Electronic Resources and Services, pp. 98-110.  Edited by Peggy Johnson and Bonnie MacEwan.  Chicago: American Library Association, 1999.

“Copyright and Distance Education: Displays, Performances and the Limitations of Current Law.”  In Growing Pains: Adapting Copyright for Libraries, Education, and Society, pp. 369-385.  Edited by Laura N. Gasaway. Littleton, CO: Fred B. Rothman Co., 1997.

Most recent revision: 102913


When making use of this page under the terms of the CC license, please include this form of attribution: "Used under a Creative Commons BY license from the Copyright Advisory Office of Columbia University, Kenneth D. Crews, director."  If your needs for the material are outside the scope of the license, please consider fair use or simply asking us for permission.



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