Open Business Models – Call For Participation

Creative Commons has long celebrated everyone who uses our licenses. TeamOpen profiles give a good sense of the diversity of use and purpose. The creative ways individuals, not-for-profits, governments, and businesses use our licenses is inspiring.

For every TeamOpen example there are many others who want to move in that direction but don’t know how. The question we frequently hear is, “How do I earn a living, pay the bills, and keep the lights on if I openly license my work and give it away for free?” This question is asked not just by entrepreneurs but by people in non-profits and government too.

We are pleased to announce, through gracious funding from the Hewlett Foundation, that we’re launching a Creative Commons open business models initiative aiming squarely at showing how our licenses can, and are, used by businesses, non-profits, and governments.

Open for business sign
Building an open source business by Libby Levi licensed CC BY-SA

We aim to help businesses see how to use and contribute to the commons in a way that aligns with the norms and values of the commons, while at the same time operating as a business. We want to show what sustainability models look like. We’re planning to generate designs for how to move from closed to open. We want to provide models for businesses whose aim is to provide products and services that have both economic and social value. We aim to make visible how open business models work and provide tools and strategies for designing and developing your own.

We want to do this work in a community-based way with all of you. So this blog post is an open call for participation.

The Creative Commons open business models initiative provides you with a set of interactive tools which you can use to design your own open business models. You can use the tools to model anything from a new startup open business to an existing open business, or something in between.

The Creative Commons open business models initiative asks you to share the models you come up with including your analysis of your own models and provide suggestions for improvement of the open business model tools themselves.

Creative Commons invites you to participate in these open business model activities:

  1. Join us in designing, developing, and iterating a set of interactive Creative Commons open business model tools that anyone can use to design an open business model.
  2. Use these open business model tools yourself to generate your own open business model(s).
  3. Share the results of your participation including the open business models you generate.
  4. Provide feedback and recommendations for improving the Creative Commons open business model tools and process.
  5. Partner directly with Creative Commons on developing an open business model for your specific initiative.
  6. Participate in a Creative Commons workshop on generating open business models.
  7. Contribute to a Creative Commons open business models report.

See our Creative Commons Open Business Models Participation Activities document for further details on each of these activities, including specifics for participation, and links to the tools.

We’re excited about doing this work with all of you and growing the commons through open business models.

5 thoughts on “Open Business Models – Call For Participation”

  1. The Netherlands Blender Institute is doing business with CC-BY animation film and training since 2007. We’re very well known for pioneering with making a living selling CC media and using free/open source software exclusively. Based on my experience I have to make a couple of remarks though.

    For me a definition of ‘open business model’ implies that a business is transparent and accessible for clients and customers – open about how costs work, how internal processes work, including sharing the revenue figures etc. This is even a new trend now. It’s the counter movement to answer to the financial crisis – and one of the positive outcomes of the “occupy” movement.

    Calling “Making a living by selling your work under CC” an Open Business Model is just confusing people and potentially misleading. People who do business with free/open source software also don’t call their work “open business”. I even know corporations (Autodesk) who share training under CC-ND-NC, a license a sane person wouldn’t call “open business model” nor would I consider Autodesk to be interested in sharing and openess at all.

    Let me state it stronger – doing bizz with CC should not be explicitly branded as such a special thing. The CC is there to stay and is one of the valuable choices artists can make (should be legally allowed to make!) when doing business. But it’s not a religion, it’s not exclusive. Leave the choice to artists themselves what to do. Sometimes CC works great, sometimes not.

    What I always liked about CC so much is that they found an elegant solution to name something that’s related to essential user freedom, sharing and openess. All three aspects are relevant together.

  2. You may want to have a look at our study on Emerging Business Models in PSI Re-use, where we look at how to generate for profit ventures starting from a common good (public sector information). You may find all the related information concerning the study:

  3. Enrico, thanks for this suggestion. Really interesting work. Useful to see a growing rationale for making public sector information open. Generates interesting business opportunities. Thanks.

  4. Tom, great to hear the Netherlands Blender Institute functions as a business making a living selling CC media. Congrats. You’re the kind of business we’re hoping will share its model so that others can learn from your experience. I particularly appreciate your comments that for a business to be “open” it needs to be transparent. This is very compelling. Thanks for proposing inclusion of that in our work. Of course “open” has many meanings and transparency is but one. For our “open business model” work we clearly state that we are focusing in on businesses that use Creative Commons licenses. In this context we’re using open to refer to open licenses. As this open business model initiative is being done as a community based one feedback like yours is incredibly helpful. We welcome suggestions from you or anyone in the community on a more elegant description.

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