The Creative Commons (CC) licenses are a suite of copyright-based licenses defining terms for the distribution and re-use of creative works. CC provides licenses for different use cases and includes open content licenses such as the Attribution license (CC BY, used by many Open Access scientific publishers) and the Attribution Share Alike license (CC BY-SA, used by Wikipedia, for example). However, the license suite also contains non-free and non-open licenses like those containing a “non-commercial” (NC) condition.
Although many people identify “non-commercial” with “non-profit”, detailed analysis reveals that significant differences exist and that the license may impose some unexpected re-use limitations on works thus licensed. After providing background information on the concepts of Creative Commons licenses in general, this contribution focuses on the NC condition, its advantages, disadvantages and appropriate scope. Specifically, it contributes material towards a risk analysis for potential re-users of NC-licensed works.