The "non-commercial" (NC) option in the Creative Commons suite of licenses introduces more confusion than it eliminates. I wrote a short essay to sum up the main problem, as I see it. This core problem can get lost in discussion of more technical issues. I'm hoping this short statement will be useful to share with well-intentioned copyright owners considering NC. But this "first draft" could probably use your edits or comments!

@PeteForsyth If you have to ask you probably already know the answer. If you're searching for loopholes in the 'NC' clause it's probably because you know your use is commercial, and that the creator of the resource would object.

People who opt for an 'NC' license aren't trying to make like easier or clearer for commercial vendors. So the 'introduces more confusion' argument is irrelevant. People who opt for 'NC' simply want to promote non-commercial sharing. NC is clear enough for that purpose.

My experience -- that is, questions that have come my way over the years -- suggests otherwise. Much educational use takes place in a context where somebody is making money. Commercial entities do things that have social value,but are adjacent to a profit motive (even if not driven by one). But I do agree there are *some* clear-cut cases, and for that reason I added a "limitations of this argument" section.

@PeteForsyth @lightweight Pete - a good read - thanks for sharing. One issues worth referencing are the complications of NC when combined with SA in a remix scenario wrt what copyright holders deem to be commercial activity. In the education context - I understand why many authors prefer the NC restriction, but speaking personally, I think copyleft is sufficient to mitigate against corporate exploitation.

The NC clause is very clear. The only confusion ever seems to stem from commercial entities trying to use works they aren't licensed to. The tone and point of view the two NC articles seems to take is that creators should be happy commercial entities will consider looking at their work. This is the same argument people use when they offer to only pay in exposure. I do see the argument that NC is not FREE but then you also must oppose the SA variant as it also restricts freedoms. The only other point of view that I could see is if maybe you want a Commercial variant of CC. Its written well and I liked how the site was laid out. That's my two cents 😃🤓

I may have a ways to go in my pursuit of clarity, as this essay is not meant to argue for (e.g.) CC BY instead of CC BY-NC. I'll revisit and tweak as needed.

I am a big fan of the creative Commons licenses and look forward to reading your next work

@PeteForsyth, agreed. That people are still having this conversation over and over again years after NC's deployment demonstrates that it's unclear in a way that none of the other clauses are. (And I'm including SA, even though I'm not a fan of that one either.)

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