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A license is a synonym for very long text. Another synonym for license is legalese or lawyer-readable code. It is usually required that you read every last bit of it, although invariably people will check the checkmark and click Next.
Related is the open license, which posits that whenever someone reads the whole text, it has to split up (fork) and double in size. Fortunately this does not happen very often, and the only reported incidents involve lawyers reading their own creation, or so we're told.
There are a great many different forms of license, also known as license forms. For examples see Examples.
The origins of the word license are not well understood, nor is their intended use. It is believed to derive from the French 'lice sans', meaning without lice. When a coatmaker asked you if you wanted lice with that, you'd reply you'd rather have a lice sans, at which time you'd be served a piece of paper warranting the coat to be lice-free. This is of course mere speculation.
The plural of license is licenses, and there are a fair share of licenses, although almost no licenses for fair sharing. This of course is subject to a lot of debate, and is best discussed as its own topic (see: Pirates).
To make matters worse, license can be a verb depending on its usage. Uncyclopedia, for example, will license this patent nonsense to you gladly if you sacrifice a mutant stargoat, on a slightly overcast Monday, chanting the Dr. Who theme backwards. If this is illegal in your particular locality, or mutant stargoats are hard to come by, you may alternatively adhere to the Creative Commons license of their choosing.