Open Licensing and the Business World: A Creative Commons Initiative

creative commons licensing

Many heated debates have been made over the years regarding the co-existence of open licensing and business development. As we speak there is a broad spectrum of businesses, organizations, governments and individuals who use Creative Commons’ license.  Although there is a tendency for more and more people to join, still many are wondering how it is possible for one to “openly license his work and give it away for free”, and at the same time make a living. In order to address this issue, Creative Commons, with the support and funding of the Hewlett Foundation, is launching an “open business models initiative” with the sole purpose of showcasing and indicating how their licenses are used.

As Paul Stacey beautifully explains in his article, the idea behind this initiative is to assist the aforementioned users on operating as businesses while adopting the norms and values of the commons. This way, companies will be guided to create business models which will support them through their transformation from closed to open. A set of interactive tools will be provided in order for one to design his own open business model despite of whether the company is a newly born one or an already existing one. As a result of that, companies can build a product or provide services which will have economic value and will offer social benefits at the same time.

creative commons logo

Long working under the concept of community, Creative Commons, makes an open call to anyone interested in participating in this initiative by sharing its business models and being part of the following open business activities:

  • Join in designing, developing, and iterating a set of interactive Creative Commons open business model tools that anyone can use to design an open business model.
  • Use the aforementioned tools to generate your own open business models.
  • Share the outcomes of the participation to the above activities along with the open business models generated.
  • Participate in the feedback procedure and suggest improvements for the Creative Commons open business model tools and process.
  • Cooperate directly with Creative Commons for the development of a tailored open business model according to your case.
  • Be part of a Creative Commons workshop which will create open business models.
  • Contribute to a Creative Commons open business model report.

This great initiative along with these participatory activities will boost the open movement to establish itself in the business world. It is not out of chance that the value of Creative Commons has already been acknowledged by three of the largest US foundations, namely the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation, the Ford foundation, and the William and Flora Hewlett foundation. Let’s hope that with the passing of time businesses will become more and more open and therefore transparent and sustainable.


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