Definition of Commercial Use

Evan Prodromou evan at
Sat Jul 2 20:20:21 EDT 2005

On Mon, 2005-06-27 at 17:15 -0400, Karl Dubost wrote:

> I was wondering what defines the notion of "commercial use" for a  
> content.

It's not 100% clear and is a major sticking point for a lot of Creative
Commons users. Here is the text from the legal code:

        You may not exercise any of the rights granted to You in Section
        3 above in any manner that is primarily intended for or directed
        toward commercial advantage or private monetary compensation.

The language comes from US copyright law; the previous term used in US
copyright law was "for profit", and US courts have roughly equated
"commercial advantage" with making a profit.

By the way, the license deed text is crappy and inaccurate:

        Noncommercial. You may not use this work for commercial

That should probably be changed posthaste; it is an extremely wrong
summary of what section 4b says. "Use" is much, much different than
reproduction or distribution, and only the latter are restricted.
Copyright, after all, is simply an exclusive right to distribute and
reproduce a work or its derivative works. Once I've got my hands on a
work, the copyright holder's ability to restrict how I use their work is
extremely limited, as long as I don't reproduce it.

> For that, I talked about a Scenario on my weblog, let's try  
> to give a glimpse here.

I've cut it for brevity.

>      * Is there an infringement of CC license (attribution, and non  
> commercial use)?

As far as I can tell, No. The analyses are not a derivative work of the
Web log entries, any more than other commentaries or reviews are. The
samples would have to be quotes, and not the entire articles, but
otherwise they should be OK. It's not clear that a clipping service
would be "distributing" the works in a copyright sense, so perhaps even
full copies of all the samples would be OK.

I am not a lawyer, and I don't work for or represent Creative Commons.
This is just one man's opinion.


Evan Prodromou
evan at
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