Fri viden baseret på Creative Commons-licenser
Fri viden baseret på Creative Commons-licenser: Konsekvenser, risici og bivirkninger af licensmodulet "non-commercial use only – NC".
Rundt omkring i hele verden bruger flere og flere mennesker de almene licenser, som Creative Commons (CC) tilbyder, til at tilbyde resultatet af deres kreativitet til genbrug af andre mennesker. Projekter, institutioner og initiativer beslutter ligeledes i stigende grad at bidrage til CC-mottoet: "Visse rettigheder forbeholdes". Et af de meste populære eksempler på dette er Wikimedia Foundation, som sammen med sit verdensomspændende fællesskab af aktivister i 2008 besluttede at udbyde sin universelle encyklopædi Wikipedia under CC-licensen BY SA – Attribution Share-Alike.
Licensen er blot en af seks licenser i CC's samling af kernelicenser. De mest anvendte af disse licenser har som en del af deres navne angivet NC, som står for "non-commercial use only" - "kun til ikke-kommerciel brug". Mange, der anvender licenser, vælger intuitivt sådanne NC-licenser, fordi de har den forståelige hensigt, at de ønsker at forhindre deres arbejde i at blive udnyttet på uønskede og ukontrollerbare måder af andre i forretningsmæssig sammenhæng.
De mange andre konsekvenser af dette valg er imidlertid ofte ukendte. Denne brochure udgivet af Wikimedia Deutschland, Creative Commons Tyskland og iRights.info søger at belyse dette manglende kendskab til reglerne. Vi ser frem til at modtage kommentarer og forslag i denne bestræbelse og håber, at den vil give mange "aha"-oplevelser.
En særlig tak skal gå til Open Knowlege Foundation Tyskland, som bistod med og lettede oversættelsen af den originale tekst til engelsk.
John H. Weitzmann, hovedansvarlig for CC DE's juridiske projekt
- 1 Indledning
- 2 Introduktion
- 3 1. Hvad forstår vi ved Open Content? - Indhold, der frit kan bruges.
- 4 2. Why is content placed under a CC license? – To make it more usable.
- 5 3. Why are there different CC licenses? – CC licenses reflect the different interests of the authors.
- 6 4. How does the NC module affect the way content can be distributed? – NC-licensed content cannot be distributed as widely and easily.
- 7 5. What is commercial use? – Any use, that is primarily directed toward commercial advantage or private monetary compensation.
- 8 6. Can a CC license with the NC module prevent my content from being used by radicals or extremists? – No. Extremists want to change society, not make profit.
- 9 7. Is the NC module the only option to prevent the appropriation of my content through commercial enterprises? – No. There are other options, such as the Share Alike module.
- 10 8. Can NC-licensed content be used in the Wikipedia project? – No. Wikipedia contents are being used commercially.
- 11 9. Can you release NC-licensed content specifically and separately for Wikipedia despite the NC restrictions? – No. The accessibility rules of Wikipedia must not become too complex.
- 12 10. Does the NC module prevent commercial usage? – Yes, but often in all the wrong places.
- 13 11. Am I ready to act against the commercial use of my content? – If not, you should consider not to use the NC module in the first place.
- 14 12. Can NC-licensed content be printed in newspapers? – No. Newspapers are in any case commercial users.
- 15 13. Can NC-licensed content be used in schools, training and universities? – No, not everywhere.
- 16 14. How do you classify NC-licensed content that is first used at school, but later outside of school? – If used outside of school, the use is often to be considered commercial.
- 17 15. How does NC affect mashups? – Not all CC licenses can be combined with each other.
- 18 16. Can a third party commercial usage benefit the author? – Yes. If you are interested in distributing your content widely, you should allow commercial uses.
- 19 17. Can a user of CC-licensed content create the outward impression that the author endorses the particular usage? – No. A CC-license explicitly does not suggest endorsement.
- 20 18. Can the NC module still have any advantages? – Yes, but less often than you would think.
- 21 19. Which is the license Wikipedia content is published under? – The CC-BY-SA license.
- 22 Konklusion
»Forestil dig en verden, hvor hvert enkelt menneske frit har del i summen af al viden. Det er vores mål.«
— Wikimedia Foundation's vision.
Med Creative Commons-licenser har kreative mennesker simple redskaber til deres rådighed til at frigøre deres arbejder på en måde, der lader offentligheden bruge dem. I en tid, hvor viden bliver stadig mere vigtig for udviklingen af den enkelte og for samfundet, øges betydningen af fælles kreativitet og fælles viden. Dele af den fælles viden er alle de værker, der er skabt af menneskeheden, som er frit tilgængelige og genbrugbare. Kun gennem fællesskabet er der sikret en beskyttelse af, at alle mennesker kan have lige muligheder, når det kommer til adgang til information, uddannelse og viden.
Mange kreative personer vil gerne medvirke til at etablere moderne videnssamfund. De ønsker ikke »all rights reserved« (»alle rettigheder forbeholdes«) – tværtimod. De har en interesse i at se deres arbejder brugt af mange. Dette understøttes i særlig grad af de muligheder, Internettet tilbyder med i at udbredelse og deling af viden og information på en måde, der er uden fortilfælde.
Creative Commons (CC) er det mest velkendte sæt af værktøjer til frigivelse af ens egne værker. Men ikke alle CC-licenser er ens. Det er en vigtig pointe ved CC, at den giver ejerne mulighed for at fastlægge de brugsvilkår, som er mest vigtige for dem. Brugeren (offentligheden) får kun nogle af rettighederne, mens de øvrige rettigheder forbliver hos skaberen eller rettighedsindehaveren til værket. Det opnås ved hjælp af byggeelementer i form af forskellige licensmoduler.
Blandt de forskellige moduler af Creative Commons licenser er særligt restriktionen NC - kun til ikke-kommercielt brug - meget populær hos skaberne. Kommercielt brug er ikke tilladt under dette vilkår. Men når man beslutter sig for en licens, der ikke tillader kommercielt brug, har det vidtrækkende konsekvenser.
Mange muligheder for anvendelse som f.eks. optagelse i videnfællesskaber, Wikipedia, lokale aviser, tidsskrifter og mashups er faktisk udelukkede og kræver derfor særskilt godkendelse - og det til trods for den kendsgerning, at disse anvendelser ofte ønskes af skaberne.
Dette hæfte forklarer alle konsekvenser af at vælge en variant af CC-licensen, som udelukkende er forbeholdt ikke-kommercielt brug (NC). Som oftest kan de ønskede virkninger, som man sigter efter ved at vælge NC-modulet, lige så godt opnås på andre måder. I visse tilfælde er NC-modulet helt uanvendeligt til at opnå de virkninger, som er skaberens hensigt. På den anden side har brugen af det vidtrækkende, ofte utilsigtede konsekvenser, hvad angår mulighederne for distribution af indholdet. En beslutning om at bruge NC-modulet må derfor overvejes nøje
1. Hvad forstår vi ved Open Content? - Indhold, der frit kan bruges.
Open Content er indhold, som er åbent og frit tilgængeligt - uden videre og ikke først efter, at skaberen har givet sin særskilte tilladelse. Dette er ikke nogen selvfølge. Lovgivningen om copyright går ud fra, at værkers indhold kun må distribueres og bruges, når ejeren af disse rettigheder udtrykkeligt tillader det. Men det bliver mere og mere problematisk at bruge denne grundregel i den digitale tidsalder. Kulturen er altid blevet formet gennem behovet for at forøge det eksisterende. Alle bygger på det, som andre har skabt.
Digitalt indhold kan reproduceres og bruges så let som aldrig før. Det, som er teknisk muligt, bør derfor gøres juridisk muligt. Idealet om fri viden, som altid er tilgængelig for enhver, kræver et lovgrundlag, som passer gnidningsløst til internettets forhold. Især videnskabsfolk har fremhævet det store potentiale i internettet og den frie udveksling af viden. I 2003 krævede tyske videnskabsorganisationer ved Berlinerklæringen fri adgang til videnskabeligt arbejde:
Vores opgave med at sprede viden er kun halvt fuldført, hvis informationer ikke bliver gjort bredt og let tilgængelige for samfundet.
Efterhånden er der mange projekter, der har gjort det til deres opgave at fremme og sprede viden. Denne illustration viser blot nogle få af dem:
- online-encyklopædien Wikipedia er stedet, hvor brugerne kan samle menneskehedens viden;
- Open Access muliggør udveksling af viden blandt studenter og forskere;
- Open Source softwarefællesskabet samarbejder om at udvikle software, der er baseret på frit tilgængelig kildekode;
- Open Knowledge-fonden fremmer offentliggørelse, brug og genbrug af databaser med fri viden.
Alt dette sker ved at bruge frie licenser, hvoraf Creative Commons Public License (CCPL) og GNU General Public License (GPL) er fremtrædende eksempler.
Man må støtte de nye muligheder for spredning af viden ikke blot via de klassiske former, men også og i stigende grad gennem open access-paradigmet via internettet. Vi definerer open access som en altomfattende kilde til menneskelig viden og kulturarv, der er blevet godkendt af det videnskabelige fællesskab.
For at kunne virkeliggøre visionen om global og tilgængelig fremlæggelse af viden må det fremtidige net være bæredygtigt, interaktivt og gennemskueligt. Indhold og softwareværktøjer må være åbent tilgængelige og gensidigt overensstemmende.«
Open Source-princippet blev opfundet i softwaresammenhæng. Open Source betyder, at kildekoden til software er frit tilgængelig for enhver. Open Source blev indført, for at softwareudviklerne ikke skal begynde helt forfra igen, hver gang de skal skabe ny software, men kan bygge på eksisterende arbejder.
GNU General Public License (GPL) blev beskrevet for at sikre dette princip. Software under denne licens kan bruges og udvides af enhver. Open Source-tilgangen i software tillader udtrykkeligt også kommerciel brug. Dens succes bygger endda i vidt omfang på denne mulighed. Open Content hviler på den samme, grundlæggende idé som Open Source software: Skrevne værker, film- og multimediaværker skal også tillade, at de bruges frit. Den langt bedst kendte mulighed for at bringe indhold under en Open Content-licens, der tillader fri brug, er sættet af Creative Commons (CC) offentlige licenser.
Creative Commons blev udviklet i 2001 som et initiativ af juraprofessor Lawrence Lessig ved Stanford universitet. Det skal skabe altomfattende licenser til frigivelse af indhold for enhver og på den måde fremme det kulturelle fællesskab ("cultural commons"), eller endda først og fremmest at muliggøre det.
I stedet for det sædvanlige princip i lovgivningen om ophavsret, hvor alle rettigheder tilhører skaberen, forbeholder man sig kun bestemte rettigheder ved anvendelse af disse licenser. Indholdet gøres tilgængeligt for offentlighedens brug. Creative Commons er ikke i konflikt med den eksisterende lov om ophavsret, men bygger videre på den. Uden loven om ophavsret ville offentlig frigivelse end ikke kunne virke. Ophavsretligt beskyttet indhold så som film, musik, tekster og billeder kan bruges frit under sådan en licens.
2. Why is content placed under a CC license? – To make it more usable.
Many creatives want their texts, their music or movies to be used by as many people as possible (distribution of works is de jure also a type of usage). They have an interest in the free exchange of information. Especially educational content is created with the aim to reach as many students as possible. In this case, any legal restriction is counter-productive.
Here, the most severe restriction of all is to do nothing. What sounds paradox reflects the legal default: "All rights reserved". Whoever creates something new, but does not elaborate if and how his works can be used, is assumed to say "Nobody is allowed to use my content". The CC licenses therefore provide a simple solution to express the desire to share and say "Everybody is allowed to use my content under the following terms and conditions".
The straightforwardness and comprehensibility of the CC licenses has contributed greatly to their widespread use. They are also legally compliant and adapted internationally to the particularities of the different legal systems. People who use CC licenses often do this with the intent to have their works used in social, cultural and educational institutions.
CC licenses that contain the NC module, which allows only a free, non-commercial use, are often considered as a counter model to a world where even charitable or not-for-profit institutions are charged for every single usage. An example for this are the license fee claims for copying and distributing singing sheets in kindergartens, which have caused public outrage. However, by existing law, the claims are justified. By applying a CC license, many authors want to dissociate themselves from these practices. The choice of the NC module is often also a statement against a style of profiteering deemed inappropriate.
However, not every type of commercial use is negative. Quite the contrary – it is neither amoral nor detrimental to the community when content is also distributed by those who have a financial interest. Often, the success of cultural and educational work depends highly on existing commercial usages.
Common to all CC license variants is the mindset that the usage of content shall be facilitated. But creatives, authors, directors and musicians do not all have the same understanding of which usage of their works they want to allow.
The six different variants of CC are answering to these demands. They offer a flexible tool to tie the usage to certain conditions. A good example is the question, if the authors want to allow editing and remixing of their works. For some, it is crucial that their work remains unchanged. These creators can ensure that by applying the No Derivatives module (ND for short), and still allow other usage.
Others are interested in having their work used in remixes, collages and mashups. They consider the creation of content merely as a transitional stage in a process. Their own content is based on the old and shall be developed into newer works. Those who assign a CC license out of this mindset will not choose the No Derivatives restriction.
If you hold the Open Content principle very dear, you can express through the Share-Alike module (SA) that your content may be edited and distributed, but only under the same (license) terms. It thus remains freely accessible.
Some creatives may want to exclude the commercial usage of their content. To address this demand, each of the license types can be extended with the module "Non-commercial use only" (NC). However, this is not advisable in every case, since it restricts many usage rights which may actually be in the interest of the creator or rights owner of the work.
4. How does the NC module affect the way content can be distributed? – NC-licensed content cannot be distributed as widely and easily.
If you mark your content as NC, it cannot be included in free knowledge databases like Wikipedia, in some kind of open media archives and in Open Source projects. It is often a commercial use that helps not-for-profit initiatives to have their breakthrough.
The Wikipedia DVD which was produced commercially by Directmedia has greatly increased the popularity of Wikipedia. The same goes for the inclusion into commercial repositories – both are legally commercial usages and would not be allowed if the NC module was included.
In the context of education and training, a great number of institutions depend on their own revenues, as they are not (to the full extent) publicly funded. The dependency on course fees leads to their classification as commercial. They are therefore not allowed to use content marked with a CC license that includes the NC module, at least not without asking for permission of the author.
Even the usage in many blogs becomes illegal under the NC condition. Many bloggers display advertisements to lower their hosting costs or have an additional income. Therefore, the usage in these blogs is no longer – or at least not unambiguously – non-commercial.
5. What is commercial use? – Any use, that is primarily directed toward commercial advantage or private monetary compensation.
When hearing about commercial use, you would often think of multinational companies like Microsoft or Shell, of stock trading, quick money or profiteering. The term "commercial use" however contains no moral evaluation of the business conduct of the respective institutions or persons, but merely describes that they are obtaiting a commercial advantage and possibly aim for a financial remuneration. And that is necessary for anyone who is not fully financed by public funds or private donations.
It is evidently commercial usage if a company uses an image or a text on their company website. It is also commercial use if an image is printed in a book that is published by a publishing house, entirely independent of whether the author receives a remuneration or possibly even has to pay a printing fee to make the publication possible. The publishing house acts with a commercial interest in either case.
A more difficult decision is whether private blogs act with commercial interest, if they (or their hosting service) display advertisements and achieve revenues. These revenues are often minimal and cover barely the hosting costs. There are good arguments against classifying these undertakings as predominantly aimed at a monetary compensation, and therefore allow to call them noncommercial. The distinction is difficult, though, and many cases are disputed.
To stay with the example of the private blog: At which point does a blog lose its non-commercial nature? Already if the advertisement revenue surpasses the operational costs? Or when the first penny is earned? Or only when an "appreciable" income is generated?
Out of precaution, this difficult distinction will often lead the responsible party to not make use of CC licensed content, when the license contains the NC module. Even where the usage would actually be acceptable as non-commercial.
Another approach to distinguish commercial from non-commercial use could be to evaluate not the specific usage, but the type of user. Then you would only have to assess whether the user or institution – as a whole – can be considered commercial. Public schools and museums could then be classified as non-commercial based on their not-for-profit mandate, and one would not have to inspect the individual use cases for their commercial nature.
Unfortunately, the NC module does not make it this easy, since it explicitly mentions the acts that have to be non-commercial. Hence we have to assume a commercial act if, for example, content is sold in a museum shop which is aimed at generating revenue, regardless of the legal status of the shop and the not-for-profit status of the museum.
Completely irrelevant for the distinction between commercial and non-commercial use is, whether the user is even financially able to pay license fees or if they would pay for usage rights in comparable situations. A charitable fund, for example, that uses a picture within their not-for-profit mandate, is considered non-commercial under the NC license terms even if it disposes of considerable means and would pay photographers in a similar situation.
But there are very few not-for-profit institutions these days that have adequate funding and do not depend on additional revenues – which again places them into the gray area of our attempted distinction. To completely avoid the NC module and its restrictions would avoid these uncertainties.
6. Can a CC license with the NC module prevent my content from being used by radicals or extremists? – No. Extremists want to change society, not make profit.
Radicals and extremists follow a political agenda. Their objectives are at the same time not necessarily commercial, not aimed at a business advantage or financial remuneration, but at political and social changes. Radical political and religious extremists are often organised in non-economic associations. Hence, a NC licensing can in a way even privilege the usage of content by extremists.
In other terms: A scientist who intends to publish a study of political extremism with a publishing house will not be allowed to use the content, if it is protected by the NC module against commercial use, because the publisher is acting with commercial interest. An extremist group, however, which formally acts as an association is well allowed to use the same content under the NC terms.
An equally effective yet often more efficient way to prevent content from being used with financial intentions is the Share Alike (SA) module. It allows the publication of adaptations only under the same or similar licenses.
Companies or private actors who want to appropriate creative content can usually achieve this goal relatively easily by editing the work and restricting the use of the edited version based on a separate new copyright it carries. The Share Alike module in the Creative Commons license set can prevent that. All adaptations must be published under the same license as the original content. This means that under the restrictions set by CC, the new content remains as freely accessible as the original content.
Furthermore, when the edit consists in enhancing own content with freed-up external CC-SA content, the CC-SA license works in a contagious or viral way: the newly created work (the edited version) as a whole can only be published under the same license. This alone prevents many companies from appropriating free content which is licensed under Share Alike. It would require them to release their own reproduction, advertisement materials (or whatever the end result might be used for) to the public under the same Share Alike license – and that is one thing most companies, especially larger ones, are not willing to do.
At the same time the Share Alike module – as opposed to the NC module – does not have the negative effect of hindering the distribution of content (in blogs for example) in general. Quite the opposite: with the Share Alike license all edits are under a CC license and the adaptations can thus be used afterwards not only by the editor, but by any third party.
8. Can NC-licensed content be used in the Wikipedia project? – No. Wikipedia contents are being used commercially.
One of the reasons for the widespread and intense usage of Wikipedia is that its contents may be used commercially. Otherwise it would be prohibited for major news sources or other commercial websites to use Wikipedia content verbatim without payment and without asking for permission.
Wikipedia benefits greatly from the commercial use of their content. They are integrated tightly with several search engines, which further the distribution of Wikipedia content, and hence the knowledge compiled by collaboration. The operation of a search engine is an undoubtebly commercial enterprise aimed at profits.
Another example for commercial usage which supports Wikipedia, is the distribution of the DVD versions of Wikipedia, such as the German version produced by the Berlin-based company Directmedia. Within a period of short time this DVD became a bestseller – because of its low price tag and a software with extended search functions.
A prerequisite for creating a Wikipedia DVD was that Directmedia was able to use its contents simply because it is allowed by the license. Furthermore, the project encouraged to sort out incomplete articles, so that they would not end up in the DVD project. Finally, the Wikipedians helped to make the data indexable and sortable.
In return, Directmedia donated one Euro per sold DVD to the German Wikipedia and inflated the Wikimedia image archive with a content donation of 10,000 reproductions of public domain artworks. The business concept of the Wikipedia DVD worked because the software added new features and made the content more attractive, but also because it used a different medium.
Even if you often get to hear that the difference between online and offline is fading, the traditional lexicon and reference format of the DVD appealed to a different target group than the Internet encyclopedia was able to attain. By this process, new readers could be interested in Wikipedia. But all of this was a commercial act, which would not have been permitted if the license that is used by default in Wikipedia would contain the NC module.
9. Can you release NC-licensed content specifically and separately for Wikipedia despite the NC restrictions? – No. The accessibility rules of Wikipedia must not become too complex.
Wikipedia rejects separate side agreements – just as all other initiatives and projects that work on the free content principles. Otherwise, that third parties which want to collaborate with Wikipedia could be hindered and harmed.
These are, for example, local initiatives, which want to use Wikipedia content in local newspapers, as well as search engines and press services wanting to integrate Wikipedia content. Each of these would have to pay close attention as to which content is freely accessible and which is subject to individual side agreements – an additional effort that would suffocate many cooperations.
In May 2005, Wikipedia's founder Jimmy Wales consequently announced that content, which can only be used non-commercially or can only be used with separate approval, is not permitted in Wikipedia and has to be deleted.
10. Does the NC module prevent commercial usage? – Yes, but often in all the wrong places.
The NC restriction in CC licenses does indeed prohibit commercial usage, but – as any clause in any legal contract – does not in itself guarantee that others abide by this prohibition. Just as in many other areas of copyright law, breaches of the restrictions imposed by CC licenses are common. The NC module is no exception.
You have to consider that many companies see breaches of copyright law as a mere financial risk, and may intentionally defy its restrictions. Seen from this perspective, the NC module hinders exactly those companies and institutions that respect copyright law most. That includes public institutions which cooperate with commercial partners, but also knowledge databases like Wikipedia, open media archives or Open Source projects.
All these projects, initiatives and institutions which explicitly endorse free access to knowledge are subject to closer scrutiny to not breach the restrictive copyright regulations. In order not to endanger their work, they have to study license agreements with the utmost care. Since the possibility of a commercial use cannot be ruled out altogether – and often it should not be excluded since these initiatives are interested in spreading knowledge – content licensed with a NC condition will not be used by them.
This creates a paradox: the NC restriction is most minutely heeded where its consequences are least intended.
11. Am I ready to act against the commercial use of my content? – If not, you should consider not to use the NC module in the first place.
To restrict a Creative Commons license by means of the NC module is only reasonable if the author is also willing to act against commercial use, for example in court.
That does not mean that you have to fight every single breach of copyright. Breaches of copyright law are common, and CC licensed content is no exception – and the decision for or against a legal dispute will always depend on many considerations.
However, if you do not intend to act against commercial use anyway, the NC license variant will only discourage those who observe the law meticulously, especially if they are not perfectly certain whether they are considered non-commercial. These are usually the users that you do not want to scare off.
12. Can NC-licensed content be printed in newspapers? – No. Newspapers are in any case commercial users.
Newspapers are operated to generate revenue; they aim at a commercial advantage and a financial compensation. That is a fact irrespective of the fundamental right of free press and the great influence of newspapers on public opinion and debate.
Furthermore, the classification of newspapers as commercial is valid even when they are – such as in the case of advertisement journals – distributed for free. These papers are financed by advertisement, and thus operate for a monetary advantage.
Of course, a CC licensed content can be printed in newspapers, despite the NC module, if the author explicitly agrees. This equally applies to any other commercial use. The great advantage of the CC standard licenses is, however, that you do not have to negotiate an agreement in every single case. This effort-saving effect of standard licensing is lost if the NC module demands case-by-case negotiations.
13. Can NC-licensed content be used in schools, training and universities? – No, not everywhere.
Depending on the legal status of the provider, a school, trade school or university can be classified either as commercial or non-commercial. Today, a large number of schools, universities, training centres professional schools, scientific and cultural institutes are not exclusively publicly funded and are not exclusively financed by donations or endowment capital. These educational institutions depend on own revenues. By this orientation, to generate own revenue, their enterprise is aimed at monetary compensation to a degree that can no longer be considered negligible.
The less public funding an institution gets, the higher is the necessity to acquire additional revenue by commercial means. This puts educational institutions, that already are in a difficult position as they do not have sufficient public funding, in further disadvantage, as they can not make use of CC licensed content containing the NC module.
14. How do you classify NC-licensed content that is first used at school, but later outside of school? – If used outside of school, the use is often to be considered commercial.
The use of CC licensed content with the NC module is usually not an issue if it happens strictly within public schools. These schools have an educational mandate and do not follow commercial goals. A different case is that of private schools which do generate revenue (see question 13).
Therefore, a wide spectrum of possible uses of NC-licensed content is opened within those schools that would otherwise classify as commercial. Students and professors may print texts, play songs; Students may – as long as the No Derivatives (ND) module is not applied and thus prevents it – create mashups and collages and edit the content. Even though the results are unproblematic in a school setting they become problematic outside of the school premises.
If for example the local newspaper wants to report on the results of a student competition, they cannot just reprint the collage with the CC licensed contents, if the NC module is included. This would require the permission of the original author.
Since the CC-NC license makes the school a location of free access to copyrighted content, many students gain a false sense of security if they use the same content outside of school. In this case, the threshold of commercial use is easily breached. If for example such content is uploaded to social networks on the Internet, the mere possibility of access by third parties (for example other people in the social network) would constitute a breach of the NC module in the license, since the hosting providers and operators of social networks usually act with commercial interest.
Although the actual breach will, in these cases, be effected by the respective hosting providers or operator, these companies usually have clauses in their usage agreements that allow them to claim recompensation for incurred damages from their users.
This is one more reason why you should not use the NC restrictions on content for educational purposes. Especially students should not be put into the situation that their unproblematic conduct within school leads to a carelessness that puts them in conflict with the law outside of school.
Now, as a creative professional you could take up the position that you will not pursue or hang a lantern on such unwanted breaches of your licenses. However, then you should ask yourself why you had to choose the NC module in the first place (see question 11).
15. How does NC affect mashups? – Not all CC licenses can be combined with each other.
Works that are licensed under CC-BY-SA (Attribution, Share-Alike) license can only be combined and used with works that bear the same license or the freer license type CC-BY (Attribution). The combination of CC-licensed content with other combinations of the different modules, especially those without NC module, is not permitted.
Thus, severe problems are caused by the fact that licenses have to be compatible with each other if you want to combine contents. This applies especially to mashups, which originate from a culture of free manipulation of content, and consider CC licensing as supporting their cultural values. In fact, however, many license combinations are not compatible, especially NC licenses cannot be combined with other licenses that do not have this restriction.
Furthermore, mashups are often created without the intent of financial compensation, which initially makes the use of NC-licensed content legitimate. Later, those mashups can become popular and are republished in blogs and on other platforms. This puts their makers, who legitimately used NC-licensed content when making the mashup, in a legal gray area where the usage can be attributed a commercial character.
A commercial use is not by definition an abusive use. Wherever publicity and attention for the content are the primary goal, any use of the content usually benefits the author, as it increases their popularity.
Especially content that is used in the context of public education initiatives should be permitted to be used in as many distribution channels as possible, as a maximum outreach is the primary goal.
CC does not affect the personality rights of the author. A user must not implicitly or explicitly assert or imply any connection with, sponsorship or endorsement by the CC licensor. This "no endorsement" clause, as it is called in the US, is a standard provision in many open content license models.
18. Can the NC module still have any advantages? – Yes, but less often than you would think.
For private individuals, there is usually no good reason for a restriction to non-commercial use only. In many cases there is very little realistic chance that a commercial user is willing to pay money for using the content. A CC license has the main goal to make the content as widely spread as possible. For achieving that the NC module is often a hindrance.
In turn, anyone who has no intention of seeing the content widespread without strict control over it, can achieve this goal by excluding commercial uses. CC licenses with the NC module can make sense for publishers, whose business model is based on the traditional "all rights reserved", who invest considerably in a publication and hold their own distribution channels.
Such publishers have no particular interest in allowing competitors to gain profit from their investment. The benefits of commercial use by third parties, namely a better and faster dissemination, is less important for them because they maintain their own, often costly distribution operations.
However, despite focussing on a business model that is based on the kind of exclusivity offered by classic copyright law, these publishers can have an interest in their content being used in at least the non-commercial areas of education and science, as this may boost sales via classical distribution.
19. Which is the license Wikipedia content is published under? – The CC-BY-SA license.
In order to increase the commons of free knowledge and culture, Wikipedia requires every author to allow the general public a free reuse of their articles. This is achieved by a Creative Commons license that includes the Attribution (BY) and Share Alike (SA) modules, meaning that the license requires giving credit to the author and distributing any edited versions under the same terms.
Texts that were not created by the authors themselves, or texts that originated in a collaboration, may also only enter Wikipedia if they are put under a CC-BY-SA license or a compatible license.
Up until 2009 Wikipedia had used the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL) by the GNU initiative. The Free Software Foundation had originally developed this license for software documentation, hence it was too complicated and not ideally suited for Wikipedia.
Nonetheless, the GFDL open content licenses did not have to be abandoned when Wikipedia was transitioning to a CC-BY-SA license. The old license is still used to avoid possible contradictions. Commercial use of content is explicitly permitted by both licenses. The Share Alike module ensures that content cannot be taken from the world-wide pool of freely accessible knowledge by editing and republishing, but that it remains a part of free knowledge and free culture.
Just as the NC module, the No Derivatives (ND) module is also not permitted for Wikipedia articles. Wikipedia thrives from allowing its articles to be corrected, extended and edited by others. Therefore ND is not compatible with the Wikipedia concept.
The public licenses developed by Creative Commons (CC) are tools which make creative works available for free use under certain conditions. As rights holders have different needs and motives, CC offers six different license variants.
Some of the most popular license variants include the condition that the licensed works must not be used commercially. This has far-reaching and often unintended consequences for the dissemination of the respective works and sometimes even entirely thwarts what the licensor wants to achieve by choosing a CC license.
This brochure wants to offer information on consequences, risks and side-effects of the restrictive CC license variants that don't allow commercial use.