Can a fully tax-funded public school use music licensed under CC-BY-NC in a video to promote its educational programs?

  • Are we assuming they do proper attribution?
    – D M
    Commented Oct 15, 2018 at 21:10
  • Yes, with proper attribution.
    – janlindso
    Commented Oct 15, 2018 at 21:51
  • 2
    Why was this migrated? The question about how one should use CC BY-NC is probably answerable by Open Source, but the crux of this question seems to be what is allowed by a "fully tax funded public school" which I guess is probably more of a legal issue and will depend on location. Open Source community may say e.g. "yes, you can use CC BY-NC as long as you do x,y,z." but Law community may say e.g. "in theory yes, but in location L public schools must do a,b,c because of regulations 1,2,3."
    – Brandin
    Commented Oct 16, 2018 at 4:46

1 Answer 1


[mandatory disclaimer: I am not a lawyer]

Let's start with the easy part - any usage of a CC-BY-NC piece must include proper attribution, so the video would have to include such attribution (presumably in the end credits?)

The tricky part is interpreting the Non-Commercial part of the license. First, as the CC wiki states:

NonCommercial turns on the use, not the identity of the reuser.

So the fact that the school is fully funded by taxes isn't the key point of this discussion. How this funding works probably is.
If the school just gets a flat sum no matter how it uses it, and has X open positions on this program, first-come-first-served, there's no monetary gain from producing such a video, so this usage would probably be allowed.
On the other hand, if the school's funding depends on the number of students that enroll to this program, such a video could be interpreted as an attempt to create a monetary gain (i.e., "commercial", under the license's terms), and would such be forbidden.

  • I'm not sure whether the school's accounting would affect whether a CC-BY-NC use would be allowed. The license defines: “NonCommercial means not primarily intended for or directed towards commercial advantage or monetary compensation.” This is more about intent than tracing the cash flow resulting from that use. I therefore suspect that OP's use would qualify as NonCommercial.
    – amon
    Commented Oct 16, 2018 at 8:41
  • @amon My reasoning was that if attracting more students would result in better funding, that would constitute of "monetary compensation" - but, as I said, I'm not a lawyer.
    – Mureinik
    Commented Oct 16, 2018 at 8:51
  • Some years ago Creative Commons published a 255 page report on defining noncommercial. I guess it is not so clear cut.
    – Brandin
    Commented Oct 16, 2018 at 12:02

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.