License

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See also: Law | Patent | Copyright | Open/Closed-source | Intellectual Property | Free

A document or agreement giving permission to do something. Most commonly, a driver's license is an agreement with the state to allow operation of a motor vehicle. Like many licenses, it can be revoked in the presence of unlawful behavior or, with private institutions, make the user liable for suit.

Software

Licenses in software are common as they selectively decide what an individual can do with software. Sometimes a license has a requirement such as limited use such as reverse engineering or export.

The GPL open-source license is unique in that it requires any changes to code also be made public. This is an effort to encourage innovation and prevent code from stagnating. BSD licenses require no such distribution.

Related

Various licenses