Sometime in 2015, the number of works licensed under Creative Commons agreements will surpass the 1-billion mark, the organization which stewards the licenses announced Thursday.
The prediction came in a “State of the Commons” report, the first issued by that organization—which is also called Creative Commons—in four years. As of November 2014, it said, there are roughly 882 million works licensed under Creative Commons (CC) licenses. That’s more than double the number when the last report was issued in 2010.
“I was surprised at the number,” said Ryan Merkley, who started as CEO of Creative Commons this summer. And he called the approaching 1-billion mark “an exciting milestone for a 12-year-old organization.”
The previous two reports—released in 2006 and 2010—estimated the number of CC-licensed works at 50 million and 400 million, respectively. Merkley said that he hopes to release these reports annually starting this year.
Merkley said there were two ways that Creative Commons tabulated the number of works under its eponymous licenses. The first is that a “decent majority” of CC-licensed works live on websites that encourage users to use those licenses. Flickr, for instance, hosts 307 million photos licensed under CC, and Scribd stores 50 million documents under the same terms. The entirety of Wikipedia—some 34 million articles, photos, or illustrations—is also published under a type of CC license. All Creative Commons has to do is ask these sites for the data, and add it all together.