Creative Commons (CC) licenses have transformed the way that people share creative works online. Guided by the notion that sharing art, articles, designs, data, and more creates a rich cultural foundation that can be built upon continually, CC licenses allow creators of content‚ including photos, music, videos, text and more, to safely share their work.

In the recent State of the Commons report, CreativeCommons details the number of CC licenses being used and how people are using them. The report highlights the rapidly-growing use of CC licenses and reveals a global culture of CC enthusiasts. The report is described by the organization as “the most revealing account [they]’ve ever published.”

Below are some of the report’s key findings:

  • The number of CC works has grown at a staggering pace, from 50 million in 2006, to 882 million in 2014.
  • CC licenses are used around the world. North America publishes most of the CC licensed content at 37 percent, followed by Europe at 34 percent, Asia-Pacific at 16 percent, Latin America at 10 percent, the Arab World at 2 percent and Africa at 1 percent.
  • Nine million websites use CC licenses. Platforms used to share CC content include YouTube, with 10 million videos, Wikipedia with 34 million articles, Flickr with 307 million photos, Scribd with 50 million documents, and Jamendo with 400,000 songs.
  • 14 countries have made national commitments to open education by creating legislation or projects that lead to the creation, increased use, or improvement of open educational resources by requiring an open license like CC BY.
  • Open textbooks have saved students $100 million.

To gather the data for the report, researchers turned to Google for the raw data, counting all of the websites in its cache that link to Creative Commons license deeds. They published their data and methodologies used to gather data here: State of the Commons: Notes and Additional Resources


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Cat Johnson


Cat Johnson | |

Cat Johnson is a writer and content strategist focused on coworking, collaboration and community. She's the author of Coworking Out Loud, a guide to content marketing for coworking space operators. Publications include Yes!