Skip to content

Second Round of the Noncommercial Use Study — "User" Questionnaire Launched


Creative Commons is launching the second and final round of a survey intended to collect information on how people understand the term “noncommercial use”. As previously announced, this study is funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and we are fortunate to have the help of a distinguished group of advisors and colleagues.

During the first phase of the study, which took place last fall, we focused on talking with and surveying creators, using a questionnaire that was fielded to a sample of US-based content creators, and also made available (in an expanded version) to anyone interested. See 1, 2, 3.

Now we want to hear about noncommercial use from the user’s perspective — recognizing of course that the creator/user distinction is itself worthy of study! Whether you consider yourself a member of the Creative Commons community, or are interested more generally in copyright, we hope you will respond. While answering all the questions can take a while, particularly if you have a lot to say, many people who participated last time found it an interesting and useful experience.

Note that we could not incorporate as many suggestions from the previous questionnaire (see comments on posts linked above) as we would have liked due to the structure of the study — we want to be able to compare data from the two phases of research, and to be able to do that, we have to retain the wording of certain concepts and questions.

While to our knowledge this is the first empirical research project to tackle understanding how people define “noncommercial use”, we hope it is only the first of many efforts to explore the many dimensions of the subject. We will release the raw empirical data collected and some early reports from the first (creator) questionnaire next week, and will release a report on the full study and all data this summer. We hope others will be able to mine and build on this data.

If you’ve read this far, we know you have an opinion, and we hope you understand that we’re trying to provide a way for you to share that opinion. What are your views? Please help us make the data set as robust as possible! Take the questionnaire (allow 15-25 minutes), and help us tell others about it.

Questions about the study or this poll may be sent to

Posted 15 April 2009