Class 12 Society, Law and Ethics – Licensing


Software licensing is te legal right to run or the privilege given to you by a company to access their application(or program). A software license is a document that provides legally binding guidelines for the use and distribution of software. Software licenses typically provide end users with the right to one or more copies of the software without violating copyrights. Software licensing is a legal right given by a company to run or access their application( or program).

Licenses can be classified into two categories on the basis of the criteria of their use.

Proprietary Licence

They reserve all the rights to use and distribute the softwares. The exclusive rights remains with the owner / developer/ publisher.

Free and Open Source Licence

It refers to the software that users can safely run , adapt and redistribute without legal restraint. Open source software refers to freedom to use, share and/or modify the source code and allow copyrights to other users.

OSS are further classified into Permissive and Copyleft Licenses

Permissive Licences

It permits using, copying, modifying, merging, publishing, selling and distribution without the source code. Example Apache, W3C etc

Copyleft Licences

It allows modification and distribution of software with source code. Example GPL(General Public Licence), Creative Commons Licence etc.

APACHE Licence

It offers the following salient feature :-
1. Rights are never-ending:- Rights do not have to be renewed, they can used for forever.
2. Worldwide Authority of Rights:- Rights are granted to all the countries even if it is granted to only one country.
3. Rights for No Fee or Royalty :- Rights are not chargeable( free of cost).
4. Rights are Irrevocable:- In any case your rights cannot be terminated.

GPL(General Public Licence)

It has the following characteristics :-
1. Copying of Software:- there’s no limit to copying the code. It can be copied anywhere and any number of times.
2. Distribution:- Under this licence software can be distributed in any form like it can be saved on the harddisk, or published on the website with a download link or can be printed on the paper.
3. Charge a Fee:- you can charge someone for the software.

CCL(Creative Commons Licence)

It has four basic parts:-
1. Accreditation:- Author must be acknowledged as the creator of the work. Then only the work can be modified, distributed, copied and used.
2. Shared with CC:- The work can be modified or distributed under CC Licence only.
3. Non-Commercial:- Work can be modified and distributed for non-commercial purpose.
4. No Derivative Work:- You can copy and distribute the licensed work but you can’t modify it in any way or create work based on the origin.


Open source software is a software which provides us the freedom to work, use, modify, distribute the source code. Open data is all stored data which could be made accessible in public interest without any restrictions on its usage and distribution. It should have following features

Availability and Access: Data must be available in convenient and modifiable form foe no/less cost.
Reuse and Redistribution: The data must be provided under terms that permit reuse and redistribution including intermixing with other datasets.
Universal Participation: There should be no discriminations and restriction for using a software for any purpose.


Privacy is the protection of personal information given online while carrying out some online activity or transactions. Privacy refers to the ability to control what information one reveals about oneself over the internet and to control who can access that information. When the proper security systems are in place, the user will not mind sharing the information necessary for a transaction to take place.

To ensure that the user privacy is not compromised, following measures must be taken:
The merchant or the seller must clearly state about how the user data will be used.
The user should go through all terms and conditions given on the site before providing any sensitive information and make sure the site is the safe site by checking http protocol.
Assurance of user data safety by implementing proper data safety and security measures..
The merchant or the seller should ensure that the user has gone through the terms and conditions given on its site application before making any transactions.

Privacy Laws

These laws deal with regulating, storing and using personally identifiable information of individuals, which can be collected by governments, public or private organisations or other individuals. Privacy laws are considered within the context of an individual’s privacy rights or within reasonable expectation of privacy.