How to make money from noncommercial terms

Yup. I learned today you can, for example make money by copying Creative Commons works on behalf of nonprofit organizations.

Standard principles of agency law also affect patents, so that’s making money on making products for someone else even if it’s under a noncommercial patent license - if the license applies to the licensee itself.

In sum, the unambiguous terms of License permit FedEx to copy the Materials on behalf of a school district exercising rights under the License and charge that district for that copying at a rate more than FedEx’s cost, in the absence of any claim that the school district is using the Materials for other than a ‘non-Commercial purpose.’


I’ve heard elsewhere that it’s more difficult to license for classes of user than it is purposes, or use cases, or ‘field of endeavour’ but that just doesn’t seem to hold here.

Contrast German Court Says Creative Commons 'Non-Commercial' Licenses Must Be Purely For Personal Use | Techdirt

1 Like

That sounds like you’re copying something physical (say, a book).

Am I understanding correctly?

Does this have any application for digital goods, such as software?

What seems to me to bind these two seemingly opposing views is the dialectical relevance of the type of legal entity of the licensee. US law in some sense agrees with German law here. Both decisions were made primarily as a result of examining the type of legal entity of the licensee, and that had priority over the actual field of endeavor/function of the use case. The US court ignored that FedEx was making money because the licensee was non-profit while the German court did the same, it ignored the fact that no money was being made by a non-commercial entity because (for them) non-commercial activity is equivalent to ‘personal use’.

This bodes well for my licensing preferences where I seek licenses that explicitly exclude large business sector entities from the producer communities.

Copying is copying under copyright, yes so the implications for software are the same… looks as though you could definitely charge for say… cloning, forking etc. noncommercial software, you could sell repackaged noncommercial distros in the US at least, er and I suppose provide the license allows you to select the US as a venue and you/your company is US resident.