Noncommercial or NC is one of the terms available in the Creative Commons license suite, present in the BY-NC, BY-NC-SA, and BY-NC-ND licenses.
The Defining Noncommercial study published in 2009 looks at how the online population understands "commercial" and "noncommercial" and contains some rules of thumb for licensors and licensees using or thinking about using licenses with the NC term.
As of late 2011, Creative Commons is working on version 4.0 of its license suite. Various options for addressing NC are under consideration. Please visit 4.0/NonCommercial.
Links: Arguments for and against
Blog posts by Rob Myers:
- The NonCommercial Fallacy, August 17, 2004, Fallacy: "NC stops anyone who uses the work from making money off of it."
- The NonCommercial Fallacy Revisited, October 16, 2005. "How to make money off of CC-NC music..."
- The NonCommercial Fallacy Three, October 23, 2005. Fallacy: "I don't mind other people using my work but if they make money off it I want my cut."
- Why The NC Permission Culture Simply Doesn't Work, November 8, 2006.
- NonCommercial Sharealike Is Not Copyleft, February 24, 2008.
- Persuasion 1, March 14, 2008. (Long post, referencing Richard Stallman's arguments for free software.)
- The Emerging NC Consensus, July 23, 2008.