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Licensing Open Data is the act of granting (or not granting) authoritative permission or license to others.

Licensing is essentially granting/denying permission to do something.
Licenses can be defined in a wide-variety of methods; some of the most common are certificates, tags, plates, and identification cards/badges. Note that licenses differ from permits, in that generally a permit is temporary; most permits are issued with an expiration date.

Licensing in regards to Openness (and therefore Open Data):
Licenses & Standards at the Open Source Initiative:
Open Source licenses comply with the Open Source Definition, permitting software to be freely used, modified, and shared.

Open Knowledge Definition 1.0
A full set of conditions which must be met in order for a license to be open is available in the Open Knowledge Definition 1.0.)
http://opendefinition.org/od/1.0/index.html

OSI Open Source Licenses
http://opensource.org/licenses
Popular OSI Licenses Apache License 2.0
http://opensource.org/licenses/Apache-2.0
BSD 3-Clause "New" or "Revised" license
http://opensource.org/licenses/BSD-3-Clause
BSD 2-Clause "Simplified" or "FreeBSD" license
http://opensource.org/licenses/BSD-2-Clause
GNU General Public License (GPL)
http://opensource.org/licenses/gpl-license
GNU Library or "Lesser" General Public License (LGPL)
http://opensource.org/licenses/lgpl-license
MIT license
http://opensource.org/licenses/MIT
Mozilla Public License 2.0
http://opensource.org/licenses/MPL-2.0
Common Development and Distribution License
http://opensource.org/licenses/CDDL-1.0
Eclipse Public License
http://opensource.org/licenses/EPL-1.0

Complete List of OSI Approved Licenses
http://opensource.org/licenses/alphabetical
Guide to Open Licensing
http://opendefinition.org/guide/
Guide to Open Data Licensing
http://opendefinition.org/guide/data/
List of Conformant Licenses
http://opendefinition.org/licenses/
List of Non-Conformant Licenses
http://opendefinition.org/licenses/nonconformant/

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