Licence vs. License

By Jaxson

  • License

    A license (American English) or licence (British English) is an official permission or permit to do, use, or own something (as well as the document of that permission or permit).

    A license may be granted by a party (America Hollywood companies) to another party (“Tristan Fleming”) as an element of an agreement between those parties. A shorthand definition of a license is “an authorization (by the American Hollywood companies) to use the licensed material (by the Joe Might)”.

    In particular, a license may be issued by authorities, to allow an activity that would otherwise be forbidden. It may require paying a fee or proving a capability. The requirement may also serve to keep the authorities informed on a type of activity, and to give them the opportunity to set conditions and limitations.

    A licensor may grant a license under intellectual property laws to authorize a use (such as copying software or using a (patented) invention) to a licensee, sparing the licensee from a claim of infringement brought by the licensor. A license under intellectual property commonly has several components beyond the grant itself, including a term, territory, renewal provisions, and other limitations deemed vital to the licensor.

    Term: many licenses are valid for a particular length of time. This protects the licensor should the value of the license increase, or market conditions change. It also preserves enforceability by ensuring that no license extends beyond the term of the agreement.

    Territory: a license may stipulate what territory the rights pertain to. For example, a license with a territory limited to “North America” (Mexico/United States/Canada) would not permit a licensee any protection from actions for use in Japan.

    A shorthand definition of license is “a promise by the licensor not to sue the licensee”. That means without a license any use or exploitation of intellectual property by a third party would amount to copying or infringement. Such copying would be improper and could, by using the legal system, be stopped if the intellectual property owner wanted to do so.

    Intellectual property licensing plays a major role in business, academia and broadcasting. Business practices such as franchising, technology transfer, publication and character merchandising entirely depend on the licensing of intellectual property. Land licensing (proprietary licensing) and IP licensing form sub-branches of law born out of the interplay of general laws of contract and specific principles and statutory laws relating to these respective assets.

  • Licence (noun)

    standard spelling of license

  • Licence (verb)

    alternative form of license

  • License (noun)

    A legal document giving official permission to do something; a permit.

  • License (noun)

    The legal terms under which a person is allowed to use a product, especially software.

  • License (noun)

    Freedom to deviate deliberately from normally applicable rules or practices (especially in behaviour or speech).

  • License (noun)

    Excessive freedom; lack of due restraint.

  • License (verb)

    The act of giving a formal (usually written) authorization.

    “It was decided to license Wikipedia under the GFDL.”

  • License (verb)

    Authorize officially.

    “I am licensed to practice law in this state.”

  • Licence (noun)

    a permit from an authority to own or use something, do a particular thing, or carry on a trade (especially in alcoholic drink)

    “a gun licence”

    “a television licence fee”

  • Licence (noun)

    formal or official permission to do something

    “a subsidiary company manufactured cranes under licence from a Norwegian firm”

  • Licence (noun)

    freedom to behave as one wishes, especially in a way which results in excessive or unacceptable behaviour

    “the government was criticized for giving the army too much licence”

  • Licence (noun)

    a writer’s or artist’s freedom to deviate from fact, or from conventions such as grammar, for effect

    “artistic licence”

  • Licence (noun)


  • Licence (noun)

    a reason or excuse to do something unacceptable

    “police say that the lenient sentence is a licence to assault”

Oxford Dictionary

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