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Definition of non-commerical and commercial

Discussion in 'Legal Issues' started by pfflyer, Jul 27, 2005.

  1. #1
    I am seeking an answer to help define what exactly is a non-commerical website versus a commerical one...
    SEMrush
    how would you define each of the following examples:

    1) a website owned by an individual (ie a personal blog)
    2) a website owned by a small company (sole proprietor, small LLC)
    3) a website owned by an individual that was purely informational
    4) a website owned by a small company that was purely informational
    5)a website owned by an individual that was purely informational that had advertising (text links, Adsense, whatever)
    6)a website owned by a small company that was purely informational that had advertising (text links, Adsense, whatever, like this forum)
    7) a website owned by an individual that sold something (anything)
    8) a website owned by a small company that sold something (anything)

    is the dividing line simply: is the goal of the website to make money?
     
    pfflyer, Jul 27, 2005 IP
    SEMrush
  2. charless

    charless Banned

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    #2
    These are my opinions.

    Non-commercial: Not a registered entity, individually owned.
    Commercial: Registered entity, may or may not be individually owned.

    1) Non-commercial - reason: personal blog..owned by one individual.
    2) Commercial - reason: sole proprietor or LLC..it is operating for profits and revenue.
    3) Non-commercial - reason: unless it is heavily modified with ads, then it would be considered a non-commercial operation.
    4) Commercial - reason: owned by an entity, most likely in for advertising revenue/profits
    5) commercial - reason: read #3
    6) commercial - reason: read #4
    7) commercial - reason: selling things directly relate to profit and revenue.
    8) commercial - reason: read #7
     
    charless, Jul 30, 2005 IP
  3. dcristo

    dcristo Illustrious Member

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    #3
    IMO a site commercial in nature is one with intent to make money. Be it an ecommerce store and/or informational site generating income from advertising.
     
    dcristo, Jul 31, 2005 IP
  4. Blogmaster

    Blogmaster Blood Type Dating Affiliate Manager

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    #4
    Non commercial sites can make money, but their primary reason for existing is not that. I think it can be a fine line, but basically having some affiliate advertising does not make a site commercial. This forum could be considered non commercial IMO. Even though there is advertising, it is in addition to the content and the reason this forum is here and is being visited is primarily the exchange of information.
     
    Blogmaster, Jul 31, 2005 IP
  5. Hodgedup

    Hodgedup Peon

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    #5
    I agree with sitetutor's definition. However, some places say that any site that has affiliate ads or ads of anytime is defined as commercial. So it depends on where and how you're trying to classify a site.
     
    Hodgedup, Aug 1, 2005 IP
  6. GE Master

    GE Master Member

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    #6
    Sorry to dig this up, but heck, it came up in Google search! I'm with the original poster here. What is the definition? Or is this another internet grey area. Perhaps someone know if Google has said anything official what their adsense on a website would make them, commercial or non commercial?
     
    GE Master, Mar 31, 2009 IP
  7. mjewel

    mjewel Prominent Member

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    #7
    If your site takes in any form of revenue - i.e. advertising, adsense, membership fee, even donations for bandwidth, it is commercial.
     
    mjewel, Apr 1, 2009 IP
  8. GE Master

    GE Master Member

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    #8
    Hi thanks for your reply. I have been digging through various searches and keep coming up with grey area after grey area. I hear what you are saying. Can you offer me a link or document that I can check out on the subject? It souds like you've dug around on this or are a lawyer.

    Here is another thought. Wouldn't Google be able let the world know that their ads on a website warrent a commercial branding of your site or blog? Simple there must be a lot of ignorance over this issue because I see that even Common License with Flickr had a poll to ask everyone what is or isn't commercial. It may be the unforceable part of the internet again. I think there is no definitive answer legally speaking. Perhaps I'm wrong and you have 100% verification about the term "commercial" as it applies to the internet. I simply can't find anything anywhere that says this is commercial because of an adsense ad. Surely Google at some point can weigh into this.
     
    GE Master, Apr 1, 2009 IP
  9. mjewel

    mjewel Prominent Member

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    #9
    Ad supported websites or blogs are certainly commercial usage.

    The "definition" can be blurred because different companies and entities can define what they consider constitutes commercial usage of their content. For instances, "widget company" may allow ad supported websites to use their content as long as they are a legal non-profit entity. That does not mean their policy sets terms for all other companies i.e. "widget company B" may not allow non-profit entities to use their content on an ad supported site. "Widget Company C" may define "non-commercial" as only educational sites displaying content on .edu domains.

    In the absence of any specific agreement or TOS stating otherwise, adsense is going to make your site commercial in nature. You need to specifically read the terms of usage for the exact content you intend to use. If you are still in doubt, contact the company.
     
    mjewel, Apr 1, 2009 IP
  10. audibleRx

    audibleRx Peon

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    #10
    If a site is primarily trying to inform the general public and does not allow any form of advertising on their site; however does charge a minimal fee to download said information is this considered a non-commercial or commercial site?
     
    audibleRx, Jan 6, 2012 IP
  11. mjewel

    mjewel Prominent Member

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    #11
    If it takes in ANY revenue, even donations for "bandwidth" - it's commercial.
     
    mjewel, Jan 6, 2012 IP
  12. amplefield

    amplefield Peon

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    #12
    After long time of visiting on pages. I got a line about non-commerical and commercial website; commerical sites updates daily and hourly but non-commerical sites don't update frequently and its like personal sites.
     
    amplefield, Jan 8, 2012 IP
  13. mjewel

    mjewel Prominent Member

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    #13
    Wrong. It has nothing to do with how often they update.
     
    mjewel, Jan 8, 2012 IP
  14. Pico23

    Pico23 Peon

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    #14
    Yeah, has nothing to do with updating xD
     
    Pico23, Jan 8, 2012 IP
  15. druidelder

    druidelder Peon

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    #15
    If you are refering specifically to how the sight would be viewed by AdSense, then you are correct. Short of being filed as a nonprofit (or not for profit) organization with the IRS, AdSense will view it as commercial. Same thing with taxes and the IRS. However, for the purpose of copyright/trademark infringement cases the same is not true. A non-commercial site certainly can accept donations in that sense. However, just to be clear for those that are reading, having a non-commercial site does not mean that all uses of something on that site would be deemed non-commercial.

    In fact, some speech that one might think is commercial in nature (books, articles written for a magazine by a freelancer) are not considered commercial speech under the law. The magazine would be considered commercial, but the articles are not. Here (http://www.law.uh.edu/faculty/cjoyce/copyright/release10/losangt.html) is a case where a non-commercial site published an article. Even though they did not directly profit from it (and only indirectly in the way of traffic), the content was still considered to be commercial use on the site. The reason was that the site the article originally came from sold the article to each reader that wanted to read it. By offering it for free on their site, the non-commercial site deprived the original site from the opportunity to profit from it. Thus even though there was no money involved, the use was deemed commercial in this case.

    Long story longer, mjewel is correct for tax and AdSense purposes, but it gets more... let's say, fluid if you are looking at the term in a strictly legal sense. As far as I can find, there is no legal definition for the terms. Rather it seems the court have a few litmus tests they use to determine whether a site would be deemed commercial or not. That being said, not all actions taken by said site would classified the same way (a commercial site can have non-commercial aspects, and the reverse is true). From the limited reading I have done so far, it would appear it is more like the definition "fair use." You just may not know for sure until you are on the inside of a court room.

    Here (http://www.pli.edu/product_files/booksamples/4906_sample2.pdf) is a paper on the topic of commercial/non-commercial speech from a legal standpoint.
     
    druidelder, Jan 9, 2012 IP
  16. MTUser2010

    MTUser2010 Active Member

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    #16
    As an attorney, I'd like to suggest this is grey area because there is generally not a bright dividing line between something that is commercial and non-commercial. It is surely possible to divise some situation that is not neatly classifiable. Intent too is generally worth thinking about. Why do you want to know? Is the purpose to design the most commercial website possible, but still argue that it is non-commercial? Alternatively, is the converse true, is the purpose to claim a non-commercial website, but to stretch that definition to limit by pursuing commercial activity?

    In my opinion, you are not going to get a definitive answer in the abstract. When you want answer to these kinds of questions that necessarily are a matter of degree attorneys are trained to look at all the facts and the context and provide both sides of the issue in terms of risk or success. There may be no "right" answer. Instead, it is a question of how much risk you are willing to take.
     
    MTUser2010, Jan 9, 2012 IP