[cc-licenses] 4.0 NonCommercial

Gregor Hagedorn g.m.hagedorn at gmail.com
Sat Jan 21 06:14:57 EST 2012

> I agree with Greg. Is it not better to have people use CC-NC (and a
> potential CC-NP) rather than keep a strict copyright and reserve all rights?
> The plain truth is that not everybody is willing to make creative work and
> give it away for commercial purposes, because they simply cannot afford to.
> The good news is many of those people want to be able to let others use
> their work for personal/private uses, so shouldn't CC try to enable them to
> share their work as much as they are willing? A conservative NC license
> would bring more content creators into the world of CC (possibly to give
> more rights later), and a liberal license would make those already in the
> world of CC happy. That's the main reason I propose having a conservative
> and a liberal non-commercial-type license.

I agree with others that there is little evidence that closed content
NC-licenses pave the way to open content CC BY/CC BY-SA licenses.
Personal experience rather tells me that people widely misunderstand
the NC license as something better, and certainly fit for non-profit
use. I think the ambiguity analyzed in the NC-perception study by CC
also shows this.

I cannot yet see a way for an operationally and internationally
working definition of a non-profit license. If someone can propose a
working definition, it may be a way to explore that as well. In the
absence of a non-profit-enabled license (or rather, as long as the CC
BY/CC BY-SA _are_ the non-profit licenses), my proposed solution for
CC 4.0 is:

a) make the definition of NC unambiguous. The only possible way to do
this is to make it more conservative (else licensors could claim the
did not intend the liberal rewording, and any licensee of this
"liberal-NC" would be faced with unmanagable legal risks)

b) change the name and code from NC to "CRR" = "Commercial rights
reserved" to avoid the "positive feeling" of the NC phrase. In my
experience many who have no commercial interest choose the NC license
because they believe it is the more valuable commons, the one that
they would like to see. They are not aware of the practical
differences between non-commercial and non-profit or charity work.

c) Perhaps, to in the end reduce license incompatibility
proliferation, make the CC-CRR 4.0 license time-limited, i.e. provide
it ONLY as a set of licenses where the CRR-term expires prior to
copyright expiration.

Thus, CC would no longer provide a direct successor for CC BY-NC or CC
BY-NC-SA, but the CC 4.0 license chooser set would include:

CC BY-SA-CRR(exp-2017)
CC BY-SA-CRR(exp-2022)
CC BY-SA-CRR(exp-2032)

(5, 10 and 20 years expiration, i.e. in 2018, 2023, or 2033 the works
become available under CC BY-SA)

The license chooser would be updated each year to reflect the 5, 10,
20 year terms. The license itself would contain a clause that allows a
maximum duration of such a license is 20 years, i.e. CC does not
support, in the year 2012, an exp-2042 term - but in 2022 it does. I
think this is doable, understandable, transparent, and operationally
workable for licensees. The latter point is not true for licenses that
state a duration, because typically it will be impossible to certainly
proof the creation time of a work, even photo metadata are not

The time-limited licenses in general have been discussed in a separate
thread. For the purpose of CC 4.0 I propose to test them only for the
NC/CRR case, however, to keep things relatively simple.


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