Please share with Shareable. DONATE today to support our ad-free coverage of the real sharing economy


Need a great image for your blog post? How about some original music for your slideshow? Or a free textbook? Or access to historical photos or public data? Look no further than Creative Commons. A “simple, standardized way to give the public permission to share and use your creative work — on conditions of your choice,” Creative Commons licenses are now used on a whopping one billion works.

Creative Commons’ State of the Commons 2015 report details the remarkable growth and impact the Creative Commons organization and license has had the world. As the report states:

“The online communities that we’ve created together are a global platform for sharing. If we want to live in a digital world that is fair, diverse, vibrant, serendipitous, and safe for everyone, we will have to choose to make it that way. If that world is going to be accessible, equitable, and full of innovation and opportunity, it will require our leadership to foster and defend these ideals.

Founded in 2001, Creative Commons has created legal and technical infrastructure that is fundamental to the Web we know and love. Today, our work goes beyond the ubiquitous CC licenses to foster cooperation and sharing, support collaborative communities, and drive engagement across the spectrum of open knowledge and free culture.”

State of the Commons 2015 presents the Creative Commons movement’s changes, accomplishments, and challenges. Here are the key points from the report.

  • There are now over 1 billion Creative Commons licensed works
  • Creative Commons licensed works have nearly tripled in the last 5 years
  • More people are choosing to share with “Free Culture” licenses, which allow for both commercial use and adaptations
  • The Creative Commons marked public domain has nearly doubled in size over the last 12 months
  • In 2015, Creative Commons licensed works were viewed online 136 billion times
  • Creative Commons has active communities on every continent
  • To date, the 4.0 license suite has been officially translated into 7 languages
  • People are sharing with Creative Commons licenses in 34 languages
  • Creative Commons is a “Treasure Trove of Content” with 391 million images, 76,000 Open Educational Resources, 1.4 million journal articles, 4 million audio tracks, 18.4 million videos, and 46.9 articles, stories and documents

For more, see State of the Commons 2015


Follow @CatJohnson on Twitter

Cat Johnson


Cat Johnson | |

Cat Johnson is a content strategist and teacher helping community builders create strong brands. A longtime writer, marketing pro and coworking leader, Cat is the founder of Coworking Convos and