Recently, Creative Commons published a post about the popularity of their licenses on Flickr: Creative Commons licenses on Flickr: many more images, slightly more freedom:
«First, the overwhelming trend is simply more CC-licensed images — an increase from 10 million to 135 million over four years — and we amusingly said 5 years ago that Flickr’s CC area had “gone way beyond our expectations” with 1.5 million licensed images».
A link on that post got my attention, their metrics wiki. In that wiki, world-wide Creative Commons adoption stats are available, last updated on November 2009. Stats are just indicative, because the methodology is quite simple and based on search engine results.
Creative Commons in the world
There are many interesting numbers. There are a total of 257 million results with a Creative Commons license, and the biggest percentage, 37% are by-sa license (attribution, share alike). The most permissive license (by) account just 10%, and the most restrictive (by-nc-nd) gets 20%.
I'm surprised by the high percentage of by-sa works. It could be an indication that authors actually care about the long term goals of Creative Commons.
There is another metric page that compares the volume of works in the 52 Creative Commons jurisdictions. Results are quite amazing for Spain.
As can be seen, Spain is the country with the highest amount of Creative Commons' licenced works -at least, according to Yahoo statistics. In absolute numbers, Spain has approximately 10 million works. This ranks seem stable at least in the last years.
If we relate the top 15 countries to adoption per capita, Spain ranks second with 0,223 works per inhabitant. Taiwan is first, with 0,229 per inhabitant.
In Spain's jurdistiction data page, the license with highest percentage is the less restrictive, by, with 28%. Second is by-nc-sa. Indeed, by " license freedom", Spain ranks 8th.
A culture of solidarity?
In the 2007 paper Monitoring the Use of Creative Commons Licenses (PDF), Giorgos Cheliotis et al commented on Spain's position:
«Nevertheless, besides the contributions of South American authors, there is reason to believe that the awareness of CC licenses in Spain itself is high. The CC launch event (October 2004) and the Copyfight event (July 2005) have likely increased awareness, but a recent (March 2006) and widely publicized court case regarding the streaming of royalty-free music from the Internet in bars has probably also contributed to a heightened awareness and sensitization to intellectual property issues in Spain. We therefore assume that Spain holds a special position among CC jurisdictions mainly because of two contributing factors: language and high license awareness and promotion. Moreover, Spain is among those countries with a relatively matured information society and developed economy which nevertheless exhibit relatively high piracy rates (and low-to-zero levels of litigation against piracy and file-sharing). This also places Spain in the group of countries where liberal licensing approaches may be benefiting from a general social attitude that is friendly towards sharingsharers».
I don't think this analysis captures the right picture. Spaniard Internet users has long been aware of the copyright issues. I don't think that particular case played a major role, but legislative issues involving royalties applied to digital storage devices and the behavior of SGAE (a RIAA-like association) against "internet piracy". In the Spaniard legislation, private copies of copyrighted works are allowed between individuals, and royalties are imposed to storage and copying devices (both analogic and digital) which are collected by author/publishers associations. File sharing between individuals is legal, but royalties quite unpopular.
In my opinion, Creative Commons has been popular because of the same reason libre software has been also popular in Spain: a high percentage of Spain's internet users are highly compromised with a vision of an open and sharing culture. Almost all top bloggers promote open source software and free licenses. Of course this vision is not shared among traditional authors and big media corporations. Political parties feel the pressure of lobbies -from this country, and from other countries.
So the question, for us, is how much time will Spain remain the #1 country in the Creative Commons rank?