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SPDX License List


The SPDX License List is an integral part of the SPDX Specification. The SPDX License List itself is a list of commonly found licenses and exceptions used in free and open or collaborative software, data, hardware, or documentation. The purpose of the SPDX License List is to enable easy and efficient identification of such licenses and exceptions in an SPDX document, in source files or elsewhere. The SPDX License List includes a standardized short identifier, full name, vetted license text including matching guidelines markup as appropriate, and a canonical permanent URL for each license and exception.


The purpose of the SPDX License List is to enable efficient and reliable identification of such licenses and exceptions in an SPDX document, in source files or elsewhere. The SPDX short identifiers combined with the matching guidelines ensures that anyone can reliably know exactly what license text is being referred to for a given SPDX identifier.


  • For more about how SPDX license identifiers are used in an SPDX document, a software bill of materials, or other places that store license data, see SPDX Specification, Sections 3, 4, and 6 and Appendices II, IV, and V.
  • For examples of use of SPDX license identifiers in source code, see Please note, a license not on the SPDX License List can be included in an SPDX document by using a 'LicenseRef-' and including the full license text as per the specification. If you think there is a license that should be on the SPDX License List, please follow the instructions CONTRIBUTING

This Repository

This repository contains the XML source and schema files used to generate the authoritative, supported SPDX list file formats, including the web pages you see at and other generated data formats found in the SPDX license-list-data repository.

How to contribute/participate

We welcome participants and contributions! The SPDX License List is maintained by the SPDX Legal Team. Work and discussion is primarily done via:

  • mailing list: Please introduce yourself and let us know a bit about your interest in SPDX! The mailing list is our traditional form of communication. Join the mailing list, see archive, and manage your subscription via
  • bi-weekly calls: used to discuss topics and issues that may be difficult to only discuss via email or via Github. Information on the bi-weekly calls and the working area for the SPDX Legal Team, can be found on the SPDX legal team wiki
  • this Github repo: comments and issues and PRs related to specific changes to the files that comprise the SPDX License List, e.g., update a URL, recommend additional markup for matching purposes, or other such changes.

See our contribution documentation for details.

Consuming License Data from this Repository

Output files in the SPDX license-list-data repository are generated from the XML source in this repository. These output files are stable and well-supported, and make the License List available in RDFa, HTML, text, and JSON formats. You can use SPDX tools (or create your own) to consume the supported formats of the license list.

Please note that the XML format for this repository is internal to the SPDX legal team and is subject to change, so any direct consumers of this repository's source files should expect occasional, backwards-incompatible changes.

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