[cc-licenses] Discussion Draft - NonCommercial Guidelines

Mia Garlick mia at creativecommons.org
Tue Jan 10 20:53:48 EST 2006

So the topic of what constitutes a "noncommercial use" under those  
Creative Commons licenses that contain the NonCommercial license  
option has been a perennial source of debate over the years. Shortly  
after I first started with Creative Commons, I posted an  
interpretation of "noncommercial" to the cc-education list (http:// 
which was consistent with that community's understanding of the term  
but which then seemed to cause considerable consternation on the cc- 
licenses list (http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/cc-licenses/2005- 
April/002160.html). This also lead to what may be able to be  
described as one of the most comprehensive noncommercial use cases  
list in the history of, well, a lot of things (http:// 

To reconcile the otherwise potentially different views of different  
CC communities and try to clarify some of the easier and more  
realistic use cases, we at CC and through our international network  
of affiliates (http://creativecommons.org/worldwide/) have been  
working over many months (with the invaluable assistance of one of  
our summer interns - Laura Lynch (http://creativecommons.org/about/ 
people#19) who spent her summer on the issue - on trying to draft  
possible guidelines on what does and what does not constitute a  
noncommercial use. Obviously, it's not possible to define  
noncommercial for every single situation. However, we have attempted  
to craft these guidelines to resolve some of the more common and  
pressing questions about what is and what is not a noncommercial use  
in the CC world.

These guidelines have undergone tremendous internal debate and  
discussion amongst staff and our international affiliates. They have  
been considerably improved and revised in the process so,  
particularly in light of the most recent discussion on the list  
003104.html) we thought now would be a great opportunity to expand  
the debate and invite more analysis, debate and discussion from all  
of you who are also heavily involved in the practices and application  
of CC licenses.

Please note - these guidelines are not set in stone; they are a draft  
subject to debate, discussion and refinement by all those who adopt  
CC licenses and use CC licensed content, ie. you. Let us know what  
you think.

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