Hi all - no-one has ever understood the creative commons non-commercial clause. There are rumours that somebody at CC central once did, but this was quickly hushed up and the person responsible is now safely hidden away in Kazakhstan.

Unsurprisingly, there is little case-law around NC.

A former Dutch MTV VJ (remember VJs?) shared some images on Flickr via a BY-NC-SA license and a gossip magazine reprinted them. The magazine was fined and told not to do it again, but this centred on the SA component of the license.

The Vodafone Australia case ( ) was the other main one, but all mentions other than on Wikipedia now appear to be behind "The Australian" 's paywall.

I've been consistent in advising people always to go for -SA clauses rather than -NC clauses to avoid confusion (and I'll reiterate this here for any new readers). But if something is NC and your use may be commercial in some obvious way I would advise people to contact the source of the material and ask them. 


David Kernohan

-----Original Message-----
From: Open Educational Resources [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Alex Fenlon
Sent: 18 March 2014 11:01
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: non-profit = non-commercial

Hi Pat et al.

I remember several of these discussions taking place over recent weeks and months (and years even!) as we've struggled with the different interpretations. I seem to recall there was something from CC themselves about taking care to define what NC means.  I think the advice was for each Licensor that grants an NC licence to consider what it defines as commercial use and also NC.  This would remove the ambiguity at least for Licencees of those particular works and help in those circumstances.  (I also have bells ringing where certain OER-ers did do this ... ?)

Not sure that helps much either with the umbrella approach you might be looking for Pat.


-----Original Message-----
From: Open Educational Resources [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Chris.Pegler
Sent: 18 March 2014 10:53
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: non-profit = non-commercial


If its non profit its not profitable after all costs are accounted for, which raises an issue about what the costs are and so what the 'cost price' is. For example its common in universities for the cost of an academic to include not only their salary but also a whole load of overheads. This can almost double the cost and includes an automatic allocation to all sorts of general expenses. Did you mean 'direct costs'?

This sort of discussion also comes up when charities charge large admin fees. For example including large salaries.

This may not be the solution that you are looking for?


From: Pat Lockley [[log in to unmask]]
Sent: 18 March 2014 10:41
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: non-profit = non-commercial

Hello all,

Discussion in the other place led me to an sticking point with NC licenses

If there was a site which sold - at cost price - physical copies of presently digital OER, say bound printed epubs or CDs / DVDs, and in the sale of these items made no profit (so was non-profit /
provident?) would you consider that commercial?

Thinking is for people who don't have easy access to the internet this might prove a useful intermediary

-- The Open University is incorporated by Royal Charter (RC 000391), an exempt charity in England & Wales and a charity registered in Scotland (SC 038302).