What does the Creative Commons â€œNonCommercialâ€ license mean? It seems I’m not the only one confused.
Pictured here is the ceiling of a Washington, DC subway/metro station. I took this photo last year while traveling on business. The photo resides within Flickr and is enjoying an Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike licence.
This week, many Flickr photographers received an email from Schmap, a start-up that will soon offer destination guides. Schmap’s email stated my photo was short-listed for inclusion in an upcoming guide, and gave me an option to submit or withdraw my photo from their final selection phase.
So they were nice enough to ask. They didn’t have to ask, since my photo has a Creative Commons license — or did they?
The question at hand is, “Is Schmap considered commercial or noncommercial?” Well, they don’t even know.
Their website said, “The creative commons license that you’ve assigned your photo(s) provides for non-commerical use. While all of our Schmap destination guides will be FREE to download, some photographers might nevertheless consider these to be commercial (advertising revenue will support free distribution to our readers).” And then some Terms of Submission followed.
Three out of Creative Commons’ six licenses restrict the licensed content from commerical use, which reads “Noncommercial. You may not use this work for commercial purposes.”
Creative Commons fails to better define what Commercial means. Does it mean people pay for a content or service directly? What if the content or service is subsidized through advertising? And how about nonprofits, are they commerical entities or not?
I don’t know these answers and perhaps neither does Schmap, which is why they asked.