Where Does For-Profit End and Social Good Begin?

Michael Cervieri at Scribe, whom I work closely with on Naked Media and other projects, writes about a complaint against the Boston Globe website, which has used material under a Creative Commons license, but may be violating its terms because it's for-profit. Here's my take, left on their site as a comment:

The discussion of commercial vs. non-commercial is becoming ever more difficult. Innocentive -- a Game Changer award-winner from our Naked Media media partners "We Media" is venture funded and helps companies get crowd-sourced solutions to their scientifically oriented challenges (injecting flouride into toohpaste, finding a new chemical compound, etc.) but is also helping find cures to AIDS and ALS for charitable foundations.

SocialVibe, another award-winner that's also venture-funded and for-profit, helps users place ads on social networks like Facebook, and elect a charity to which the ad money goes.

We could be cut and dry: is the entity created and incorporated, is its legal tax status "not-for-profit." In that case, both the above companies fail the sniff test Michael alludes to. But, isn't that, then, shooting some not-for-profits in the foot, if we force the narrow interpretation on them?

I have been personally working with We Media, and will be going to the conference in Miami next week. Having interviewed all the award-winners, I came across this new trend of holding both capitalistic and social ideas in one's head at the same time. I don't think one has to say it's one or the other.

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