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2007.10.11

Creative Commons Around the World

On Saturday Lawrence Lessig will be inaugurating the launch of Creative Commons licenses in Greece. This prompted me to investigate how pages licensed under creative commons licenses are distributed on the internet.

To compile the metrics I used the Internet Systems Consortium July 2007 list of top-level domain names by host count distribution. From that I selected the 71 domains with more than 100,000 hosts. I then run a Google search for all pages in each domain (for instance .edu) and a search for the pages in that domain containing the string "creative commons". The results, ordered by the percentage of pages containing the consecutive words "creative commons", (most of which are presumably licensed by a corresponding license) are striking.

RankDomainTotal PagesCC Pages% CC Pages
1Yugoslavia5,230,000866,00016.56
2Chile7,690,000937,00012.18
3Hungary17,100,0001,830,00010.70
4Croatia 7,930,000820,00010.34
5Spain22,300,0002,300,00010.31
6Brazil25,600,0001,950,0007.62
7Portugal11,200,000723,0006.46
8Argentina10,900,000702,0006.44
9Italy41,400,0002,280,0005.51
10Taiwan, Province Of China23,200,0001,150,0004.96
11Greece13,400,000606,0004.52
12Luxembourg4,140,000182,0004.40
13Mexico9,380,000411,0004.38
14Korea, Republic Of16,000,000581,0003.63
15Morocco2,180,00062,5002.87
16Belgium30,800,000869,0002.82
17Estonia9,770,000274,0002.80
18United States53,600,0001,350,0002.52
19Netherlands42,300,0001,050,0002.48
20Japan76,200,0001,820,0002.39
21Austria23,100,000456,0001.97
22Commercial4,420,000,00086,900,0001.97
23China60,300,0001,160,0001.92
24Bulgaria7,140,000135,0001.89
25Romania13,700,000251,0001.83
26Poland22,400,000392,0001.75
27Germany131,000,0002,080,0001.59
28Niue6,870,000107,0001.56
29Sweden31,400,000452,0001.44
30Venezuela4,630,00065,4001.41
31France155,000,0001,860,0001.20
32Iceland6,330,00069,9001.10
33Switzerland68,400,000705,0001.03
34Hong Kong12,400,000120,0000.97
35Indonesia4,250,00040,9000.96
36Ireland11,500,000108,0000.94
37New Zealand14,200,000114,0000.80
38Networks407,000,0003,260,0000.80
39Norway24,700,000195,0000.79
40Finland22,500,000170,0000.76
41Colombia4,560,00034,3000.75
42Thailand6,690,00048,3000.72
43Israel14,900,000104,0000.70
44South Africa12,000,00081,5000.68
45Russian Federation49,700,000326,0000.66
46Denmark25,700,000166,0000.65
47Australia64,300,000399,0000.62
48Canada143,000,000873,0000.61
49Czech Republic25,200,000148,0000.59
50United Kingdom298,000,0001,630,0000.55
51Philippines5,650,00027,9000.49
52Singapore9,470,00046,2000.49
53India13,600,00061,9000.46
54Slovakia 9,810,00043,4000.44
55Peru5,060,00018,6000.37
56Ukraine9,760,00031,3000.32
57Lithuania7,040,00020,0000.28
58Turkey10,400,00026,9000.26
59Organizations2,580,000,0006,090,0000.24
60Educational1,150,000,0001,470,0000.13
61Malaysia8,950,0009,7100.11
62Uruguay3,940,0002,3500.06
63Government502,000,000281,0000.06
64Moldova, Republic Of2,710,0008970.03
65United Arab Emirates2,640,0005930.02
66Pakistan3,020,0006010.02
67Viet Nam5,830,0007770.01
68Latvia7,320,0008900.01
69Egypt2,250,0002200.01
70US Military4,940,000280.00
71Cyprus1,800,00030.00

I was expecting (US) educational institutions and non-commercial organizations (the .edu and .org domains) to be leading the league, but with a rank of 59 and 60, they are near the bottom. In contrast, the percentage of creative commons pages hosted under the .com (commercial) domain is an order of magnitude higher. This discrepancy makes arguments concerning the inherent benevolence of educational institutions and civil society organizations slightly suspect.

There are many potential problems with my method.

  • Google's coverage is far from universal
  • Not all content is equally important; contrast the value of an MIT lecture to that of a MySpace page
  • I may be ignoring localized versions of creative commons licenses
  • Some large but relatively unimportant sites may be contributing many pages (almost a fifth of the creative commons pages in the Yugoslavia domain come from the forum site MyCity)
  • Many sites may have liberal content distribution policies that are not codified under a creative commons license (the US Government, ranked 63rd, and many open source project come to mind)
Nevertheless, a sample of eight billion pages certainly has some truth in it.

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Creative Commons License Last modified: Thursday, October 11, 2007 1:56 pm
Unless otherwise expressly stated, all original material on this page created by Diomidis Spinellis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Greece License.