Made With Creative Commons
Paul Stacey
Made With Creative Commons

When we began this project in August 2015, we set out to write a book about business models that involve Creative Commons licenses in some significant way — what we call being Made with Creative Commons. With the help of our Kickstarter backers, we chose twenty-four endeavors from all around the world that are Made with Creative Commons. The mix is diverse, from an individual musician to a university-textbook publisher to an electronics manufacturer. Some make their own content and share under Creative Commons licensing. Others are platforms for CC-licensed creative work made by others. Many sit somewhere in between, both using and contributing creative work that’s shared with the public. Like all who use the licenses, these endeavors share their work — whether it’s open data or furniture designs — in a way that enables the public not only to access it but also to make use of it.

We analyzed the revenue models, customer segments, and value propositions of each endeavor. We searched for ways that putting their content under Creative Commons licenses helped boost sales or increase reach. Using traditional measures of economic success, we tried to map these business models in a way that meaningfully incorporated the impact of Creative Commons. In our interviews, we dug into the motivations, the role of CC licenses, modes of revenue generation, definitions of success.

In fairly short order, we realized the book we set out to write was quite different from the one that was revealing itself in our interviews and research.

It isn’t that we were wrong to think you can make money while using Creative Commons licenses. In many instances, CC can help make you more money. Nor were we wrong that there are business models out there that others who want to use CC licensing as part of their livelihood or business could replicate. What we didn’t realize was just how misguided it would be to write a book about being Made with Creative Commons using only a business lens.

The book we ended up writing is so much more than what we set out to do. Made With Creative Commons started as a book about business models, but it ultimately became a book about sharing. Part analysis, part handbook, part collection of case studies, we see Made With Creative Commons as a guide to sharing your knowledge and creativity with the world, and sustaining your operation while you do. It makes the case that sharing is good for business, especially for companies, organizations, and creators who care about more than just the bottom line. Full of practical advice and inspiring stories, Made with Creative Commons is a book that will show you what it really means to share.

Made with Creative Commons
Part 1: The Big Picture
The New World of Digital Commons
The Commons, the Market, and the State
The Four Aspects of a Resource
People and processes
Norms and rules
A Short History of the Commons
The Digital Revolution
The Birth of Creative Commons
The Changing Market
Benefits of the Digital Commons
Our Case Studies
How to Be Made with Creative Commons
Problem Zero: Getting Discovered
Use CC to grow a larger audience
Use CC to get attribution and name recognition
Use CC-licensed content as a marketing tool
Use CC to enable hands-on engagement with your work
Use CC to differentiate yourself
Making Money
Market-based revenue streams
Providing a custom service to consumers of your work [MARKET-BASED]
Charging for the physical copy [MARKET-BASED]
Charging for the in-person version [MARKET-BASED]
Charging advertisers or sponsors [MARKET-BASED]
Charging your content creators [MARKET-BASED]
Charging a transaction fee [MARKET-BASED]
Providing a service to your creators [MARKET-BASED]
Licensing a trademark [MARKET-BASED]
Reciprocity-based revenue streams
Memberships and individual donations [RECIPROCITY-BASED]
The pay-what-you-want model [RECIPROCITY-BASED]
Making Human Connections
Be human
Be open and accountable
Design for the good actors
Treat humans like, well, humans
State your principles and stick to them
Build a community
Give more to the commons than you take
Involve people in what you do
The Creative Commons Licenses
Part 2: The Case Studies
Blender Institute
Cards Against Humanity
The Conversation
Cory Doctorow
Knowledge Unlatched
Lumen Learning
Jonathan Mann
The Noun Project
Open Data Institute
Amanda Palmer
PLOS (Public Library of Science)
Tribe of Noise
Wikimedia Foundation
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