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State of the Commons: Notes and additional resources

Number of Creative Commons--licensed works

We arrived at this estimate using Google's cache (see files below) in conjunction with the statistics for each platform we're aware of that:

  1. includes at least one million works under a CC license, CC0, or the Public Domain Mark, and
  2. is not included in Google's cache.

Those platforms are as follows:

|Platform name|Number of works (rounded down by millions)|source| |---|---|---|---|---| |Flickr|307 million|| |Wikipedia (all pages in all languages)|111 million|| |Scribd|50 million|Source at Scribd| |MusicBrainz|39 million|| |Freebase|39 million|| |deviantART|15 million|| |Geonames|10 million|| |YouTube|10 million|Source at YouTube|

Google data files

Creative Commons license use

For the sake of simplicity and precision, this data includes only Google's cache; therefore, it doesn't include the platforms listed above.

Where CC licenses are used

We created the geographical breakdown of licensors' locations using the web statistics for our License Chooser page. The Chooser is available in 34 languages and is prominently featured on CC affiliate websites worldwide; therefore, its visitors are more geographically diverse than those of the homepage, which primarily offers content in English.

That said, people who use the chooser represent only a fraction of all CC licensors. Since is more popular in English-speaking countries than in non-English-speaking countries, these numbers are weighted toward the United States and other English-speaking countries.

This data reflects the time span of January 1 to September 30, 2014.

Number of websites

Google found 9 million websites (defined as any web domain) with a link to a current or retired CC license deed.

National commitments to open education

A national commitment is defined as any national legislation or government-mandated project that leads to the creation, increased use, or improvement of open educational resources by requiring an open license. Descriptions of each of the 14 policies are available in the OER Policy Registry.

Savings from open textbooks

Nicole Allen of SPARC developed this estimate by surveying each of the open textbook programs that SPARC tracks and finding out how many students were impacted, and the price of comparable traditionally-published textbooks. See Nicole's presentation.


Thanks to the following organizations, companies, and individuals for their contributions to this report.


To the extent possible under law, Creative Commons has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to this data.