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From: Richard Forno <rforno@infowarrior.
Subject: [Air-L] Creative Commons Publishes Study of "Noncommercial Use"
Creative Commons Publishes Study of "Noncommercial Use"
Mike Linksvayer, September 14th, 2009
San Francisco, California, USA September 14, 2009
Creative Commons announces the publication of Defining "Noncommercial"
Study of How the Online Population Understands "Noncommercial Use." The
report details the results of a research study launched in September 2008
to explore differences between commercial and noncommercial uses of
content found online, as those uses are understood by various communities
and in connection with a wide variety of content. Generous support for the
study was provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
The study investigated understandings of noncommercial use and the
Creative Commons "NC" license term through online surveys of content
creators and users in the U.S., open access polls of global "Creative
Commons Friends and Family," interviews with thought leaders, and focus
groups with participants from around the world who create and use a wide
variety of online content and media. The research behind Defining
"Noncommercial" was conducted by Netpop Research, under advisement from
academics and a working group consisting of several Creative Commons
jurisdiction project members as well as Creative Commons staff and board
Creative Commons provides free copyright licenses to creators who want to
grant the public certain permissions to use their works, in advance and
without the need for one-to-one contact between the user and the creator.
"Noncommercial" or "NC" is one of four license terms that creators may
choose to apply to CC-licensed content.
Creative Commons noncommercial licenses preclude use of a work "in any
manner that is primarily intended for or directed toward commercial
advantage or private monetary compensation." The majority of respondents
(87% of creators, 85% of users) replied that the definition was
"essentially the same as" (43% of creators, 42% of users) or "different
from but still compatible with" (44% of creators, 43% of users) theirs.
Only 7% of creators and 11% of users replied that the term was "different
from and incompatible with" their definition.
Other highlights from the study include the rating by content creators and
users of different uses of online content as either "commercial" or
"noncommercial" on a scale of 1-100, where 1 is "definitely noncommercial"
and 100 is "definitely commercial." On this scale, creators and users
(84.6 and 82.6, respectively) both rate uses in connection with online
advertising generally as "commercial." However, more specific use cases
revealed that many interpretations are fact-specific. For example,
creators and users gave the specific use case "not-for-profit organization
uses work on its site, organization makes enough money from ads to cover
hosting costs" ratings of 59.2 and 71.7, respectively.
On the same scale, creators and users (89.4 and 91.7, respectively) both
rate uses in which money is made as being commercial, yet again those
ratings are lower in use cases specifying cost recovery or use by
not-for-profits. Finally, both groups rate "personal or private" use as
noncommercial, though creators did so less strongly than users (24.3 and
16.0, respectively, on the same scale).
In open access polls, CC's global network of "friends and family" rate
some uses differently from the U.S. online populationalthough direct
empirical comparisons may not be drawn from these data. For example,
creators and users in these polls rate uses by not-for-profit
organizations with advertisements as a means of cost recovery at 35.7 and
or private" use as strongly noncommercial
on a scale of 1-100 where 1 is "definitely noncommercial" and 100 is
"As more people have begun to make, share, and use content online, the
question of what constitutes a 'commercial use' versus a 'noncommercial
use' has become increasingly important to understand," said Josh Crandall,
President of Netpop Research. "With this study, we were particularly
interested to see thatcontrary to what many might believethere is little
variation between creators and users in the perceived 'commerciality' of
particular uses of copyrighted content. Furthermore, where they do differ,
users tend to have a more conservative outlook than creators. This study
provides useful data and perspectives
public and people who work closely in the world of copyrightthat can help
people begin to think more clearly about the issue."
The study report and its associated data are available at
the public can contribute feedback about the report. Defining
"Noncommercial" is published under a Creative Commons Attribution license,
and the research data is available under a CC0 public domain waiver.
"We're excited that the results of this important project will be
available for all kinds of usesincluding commercial useby anyone," said
Joi Ito, CEO of Creative Commons. "We encourage researchers and our
community to use what we've done and expand this investigation further,
building upon the data we collected and incorporating more perspectives
from Creative Commons adopters worldwide."
In the next years, possibly as soon as 2010, Creative Commons expects to
formally launch a multi-year, international process for producing the next
version (4.0) of the six main Creative Commons licenses. This process will
include examination of whether the noncommercial definition included in
licenses with the NC term should be modified or if other means of
clarifying noncommercial use under the CC licenses should be pursued. The
results of Defining "Noncommercial" and subsequent research will be an
important thread informing this process.
About Creative Commons
Creative Commons is a not-for-profit organization, founded in 2001, that
promotes the creative re-use of intellectual and artistic works, whether
owned or in the public domain. Through its free copyright licenses,
Creative Commons offers authors, artists, scientists, and educators the
choice of a flexible range of protections and freedoms that build upon the
"all rights reserved" concept of traditional copyright to enable a
voluntary "some rights reserved" approach. Creative Commons was built with
and is sustained by the generous support of organizations including the
Center for the Public Domain, Google, the John D. and Catherine T.
MacArthur Foundation, the Mozilla Foundation, Omidyar Network, Red Hat,
and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, as well as members of the
public. For more information about supporting Creative Commons, please
About Netpop Research, LLC
Netpop Research, LLC is a San Francisco-based strategic market research
firm that specializes in online media, digital entertainment and
user-generated content trends. Netpop Research has fielded numerous
studies for major profit and nonprofit entities, and is the creator of the
Netpop tracking study of Internet usage among broadband consumers in the
United States and China.
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