Why I Don't Like The "No Commercial" Creative Commons Licenses

I notice that iNaturalist sets the default licence for uploaded photos to one of the "No Commercial" Creative Commons licenses.

I dislike these licenses for a variety of reasons:

Commercial use of images is not inherently bad.

For example, I once had a company approach me because I had taken a flattering photo of some of their lighting in a transit station, and they wanted to use the photo in a sales brochure. I eagerly granted them permission!

By doing this, I probably saved someone from the company a trip out to the site to photograph it, which probably reduced the company's carbon footprint and saved them time and resources that they were able to dedicate to something else.

If you restrict commercial use of images, you could be contributing to additional travel (and carbon footprint and other pollution.)

It can be confusing whether or not use is "commercial".

A lot of people consider use "commercial" if someone were to duplicate the image and then put it on a page that had ads and make money off the ads. But what about if the image is used in an educational page on a blog, and the blog has ads as a way of partially paying for the work of the person maintaining that blog (but probably earning way less than minimum wage). Is that "commercial use"?

What if the image is used on an educational page that is run by a for-profit corporation, and there are no ads on it, but the educational page is maintained as part of a PR campaign by the corporation to improve its image by providing a community service?

What if the image is used on a non-profit educational page but the page includes ads on it, and the nonprofit uses the ad revenue for their general budget?

People, businesses, and organizations don't usually want to open themselves up to legal liability, so in the gray areas where they aren't sure whether or not use is allowed under the licence, a lot of them will err on the side of caution and not use it. For example, I run RateTea, which is a tea rating website that also has a lot of educational content about tea. Because it's run as a for-profit endeavor, and because there are ads on many of the pages, I'm wary of using images with "no commercial" licenses. But I'm not exaclty making big bucks off those articles...many of the articles earn me so little money I probably earn pennies per hour for the work I put in to create and maintain them, so it's really more of a public service than anything else.

Please don't use these "no commercial" licenses.

Please use a fully free license, like CC BY-SA, CC BY, or even public domain.

And I would urge the people who run this site to change the default setting, ideally to CC BY-SA. This license is "copyleft" so it provides better protection in some ways anyway.

A lot of people don't ever bother to think about or switch licenses, and will just go with the default, so I think it would make a big difference to make the default a truly free and open license, not one that vaguely discriminates against for-profit or commercial use.

Posted on Φεβρουάριος 17, 2019 0837 ΜΜ by cazort cazort


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