[cc-community] Commercial Rights Reserved proposal outcome: no change

Kat Walsh kat at creativecommons.org
Mon Feb 11 19:15:41 EST 2013

CC recently considered a proposal to rename the NonCommercial license
to "Commercial Rights Reserved", as raised on this list back in
December: http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/cc-community/2012-December/008087.html

We have decided not to pursue that proposal, and to leave the name of
the license the same. However, there is a possibility of using the
"Commercial Rights Reserved" language in messaging and other
informational materials about the license to make the function of the
license clearer.

We are continuing to work on the other action items mentioned in the
blog post at http://creativecommons.org/weblog/entry/35773 to improve
understanding around the NC and ND licenses.

We received a lot of valuable feedback on the Commercial Rights
Reserved proposal, and ultimately, there were many strong arguments
both for and against it. One point that was broadly recognized,
however, was that a change of the license name would be difficult to
communicate and require a fair amount of time, effort, and in some
cases expense, and a change would have to justify this cost. After
evaluating the feedback, we believe that the case for changing the
name was not strong enough for this.

Some common arguments in favor:

* It avoids the problem of licensors selecting an NC license due to
misunderstanding based on the name.

Some of the use of NonCommercial comes from licensors who choose to
use it based on the name alone. More specifically, some licensors are
choosing NC because they intend to use their work only for
non-commercial purposes. They may be choosing NC without considering
that it also restricts licensees.

* It is more descriptive of the way the license operates.

Many license users are confused about the actual operation of the
NonCommercial license. Some believe, for example, that it is to be
placed on works that are not meant to be commercialized at all,
including by the licensors themselves. CRR describes what it does, not
what it doesn’t.

* The proposed name would help make some CC business models clear

Many potential licensors are not aware that you can use CC licenses as
part of a business model that includes reserving rights for paid use.
A license with a name that is more explicit about commercial rights
could make it more immediately apparent that this possibility exists.

And against:

* There is difficulty involved in any name change that potentially
comes at high cost.

The primary argument against a rename is that any switch would
potentially create a great deal of confusion among the license-using
community, as well as work to rebrand and relocate all of the
materials currently referring to NonCommercial.

* A name change may lead to licensors adopting this license instead of
more free licenses.

Changing the name to “Commercial Rights Reserved” may attract some
licensors to use it who were not previously thinking about the
possibility of leveraging their commercial rights and might otherwise
have used a free license.

* The name would be harder to understand.

“Commercial Rights Reserved” is more “legalese” than “NonCommercial”.
Potential licensors who wish to use a no-commercial-use license may
not understand that this would meet their needs, leading them to avoid
using CC licenses altogether.

* The change would not satisfy the desires of those critical of NC.

Though it would be intended to address some of the criticisms of
NonCommercial license, many would see the rename as too small a change
to meaningfully address their concerns.


Many thanks to those of you who offered feedback, both on and off the
lists; while we have ultimately decided not to make this change, the
comments we received in the consultation process contained a lot of
useful insight and information that we'll take into account when
revising and creating new educational materials around the 4.0


Kat Walsh, Counsel, Creative Commons
IM/IRC/@/etc: mindspillage * phone: please email first
Help us support the commons: https://creativecommons.net/donate/
CC does not and cannot give legal advice. If you need legal advice,
please consult your attorney.

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