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San Francisco, California, USA â€” September 14, 2009
Creative Commons announces the publication of Defining â€œNoncommercialâ€: A Study of How the Online Population Understands â€œNoncommercial Use.â€ 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 â€œNCâ€ license term through online surveys of content creators and users in the U.S., open access polls of global â€œCreative Commons Friends and Family,â€ 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 â€œNoncommercialâ€ 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 members.
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. â€œNoncommercialâ€ or â€œNCâ€ 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 â€œin any manner that is primarily intended for or directed toward commercial advantage or private monetary compensation.â€ The majority of respondents (87% of creators, 85% of users) replied that the definition was â€œessentially the same asâ€ (43% of creators, 42% of users) or â€œdifferent from but still compatible withâ€ (44% of creators, 43% of users) theirs. Only 7% of creators and 11% of users replied that the term was â€œdifferent from and incompatible withâ€ their definition.
Other highlights from the study include the rating by content creators and users of different uses of online content as either â€œcommercialâ€ or â€œnoncommercialâ€ on a scale of 1-100, where 1 is â€œdefinitely noncommercialâ€ and 100 is â€œdefinitely commercial.â€ On this scale, creators and users (84.6 and 82.6, respectively) both rate uses in connection with online advertising generally as â€œcommercial.â€ However, more specific use cases revealed that many interpretations are fact-specific. For example, creators and users gave the specific use case â€œnot-for-profit organization uses work on its site, organization makes enough money from ads to cover hosting costsâ€ 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 â€œpersonal or privateâ€ 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, CCâ€™s global network of â€œfriends and familyâ€ rate some uses differently from the U.S. online populationâ€”although 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 40.3, respectivelyâ€”somewhat more noncommercial. They also rate â€œpersonal or privateâ€ use as strongly noncommercialâ€”8.2 and 7.8, respectivelyâ€”again on a scale of 1-100 where 1 is â€œdefinitely noncommercialâ€ and 100 is â€œdefinitely commercial.â€
â€œAs more people have begun to make, share, and use content online, the question of what constitutes a â€˜commercial useâ€™ versus a â€˜noncommercial useâ€™ has become increasingly important to understand,â€ said Josh Crandall, President of Netpop Research. â€œWith this study, we were particularly interested to see thatâ€”contrary to what many might believeâ€”there is little variation between creators and users in the perceived â€˜commercialityâ€™ 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 perspectivesâ€”from both members of the general public and people who work closely in the world of copyrightâ€”that can help people begin to think more clearly about the issue.â€
The study report and its associated data are available at http://wiki.creativecommons.org/Defining_Noncommercial, where members of the public can contribute feedback about the report. Defining â€œNoncommercialâ€ is published under a Creative Commons Attribution license, and the research data is available under a CC0 public domain waiver.
â€œWeâ€™re excited that the results of this important project will be available for all kinds of usesâ€”including commercial useâ€”by anyone,â€ said Joi Ito, CEO of Creative Commons. â€œWe encourage researchers and our community to use what weâ€™ve done and expand this investigation further, building upon the data we collected and incorporating more perspectives from Creative Commons adopters worldwide.â€
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 â€œNoncommercialâ€ 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 â€œall rights reservedâ€ concept of traditional copyright to enable a voluntary â€œsome rights reservedâ€ 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 contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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https://creativecommons.org/about/press/Posted 14 September 2009