LICENSE (Lat, licere, to permit).
In Real Property Law. A permission. A right, given by some competent authority to do an act, which without such authority would be illegal, or a tort or trespass.
A permission to do some act or series of acts on the land of the licensor, without hav ing any permanent interest in it ; it is found ed on personal confidence, and not assignable. It may be given in writing or by parol; it may be with or 'without consideration, but in either case it is usually subject to revoca tion, though constituting a ,protection to the party acting under it until the revocation takes place. Morrill v. Mackman, 24 Mich. 282, 9 Am. Rep. 124; Sewart v. Ry. Co., 89 Mich. 315, 50 N. W. 852, 17 L. R. A. 539; Metcalf ,v. Hart, 3 Wyo. 513, 27 Pac. 900, 31 Pac. 407, 31 Am. St. Rep. 122.
An authority to do a particular act or series of acts on another's land without pos sessing any estate therein. Cook v. Stearns, 11 Mass. 533; Wolfe v. Frost, 4 Sandf. Oh. (N. Y.) 72; Clark v. Glidden, 60 Vt. 702, 15 Atl. 358; 1 Washb. R. P. *398.
The written evidence of the grant of such right.
An executed license exists when the li censed act has been done.
An executory license exists where the li censed act has not been performed.
An express license is one which is granted in direct terms.
An implied License one which is pre sumed to have been given from the acts of the party authorized to give it.
It may be granted by the owner, or, in many cases, by a servant ; Cro. Eliz. 246 ; 2 Greenl. Ev. § 427.
• The distinction between an easement and a' license is' often so metaphysical, subtle, and shadowy as to elude analysis. The ad judications upon this subject are so numer ous and discordant that taken in the ag gregate' they cannot be reconciled. But there are certain fundamental principles un derlying' most cases which enable courts to distinguish an easement from a license when construed in the light of surrounding cir cumstances ; East/ Jersey Iron Co. v. Wright, 32 N. J. 254; Nunnelly v. Iron Co., 94 Tenn. 397, 29 S. W. 361; 28 L. R. A. 421. An easement implies an interest in land which can only be created in writing or con structively its equivalent—prescription ; 1 Washb. R. P. 629. A license may be created
by parol; 13 M. & W. 838; Dolittle v. Eddy, 7 Barb. (N. Y.) 74; Texas & St. L. R. Co. v. Jarrell, 60 Tex. 267 ; by specialty ; Pars. Con. 222 ; or by implication of circtimstanc es ; Hob. 62 ; 2 Greenl. Ev. § 427.
Licenses are of two kinds, simple or re vocable, and coupled with a grant or irre vocable. Simple licenses are revocable at the will of the grantor ; Cook v. Stearns, 11 Mass. 533; Mumford v. Whitney, 15 Wend. (N. Y.) 380, 30 Am. Dec. 60; Pinker v. Bank ing Co., 81 Ga. 461, 8 S. E. 529, 2 L. R. A. S43, 12 Am. St. Rep. 328 ; Wheeler v. West, 78 Cal. 95, 20 Pac. 45; Cowles v. Kidder, 24 N. H. 364, 57 Am. Dec. 287; they are revok ed fps° facto by the licenso•'s conveying the land to another ; 4 M. & W. 538; Northern P. R. v. Paine, 119 U. S. 561, 7 Sup. Ct. 323, 30 L. Ed. 513 ; or by his doing any other act preventing the user ; 13 M. & W. 838; although the licensee has incurred expense; Prince v. Case, 10 Conn. 378, 27 Am. Dec. 675; Cowles v. Kidder, 24 N. H. 364, 57 Am. Dec. 287. Morse v. 2 Gray (Mass.) 302; Wilson v. R. Co., 41 Minn. 56, 42 N. W. 600, 4 L. R. A. 378; Pitzman v. Boyce, 111 Mo. 387, 19 S. W. 1104,,33 Am. St. Rep. 536; contra, Rerick v. Kern, 14 S. & R. (Pa.) 267, 16 Am. Dec. 497; and it is not so with a license closely coupled with a transfer of title to personal property ; Nettleton v. Sikes, 8 Mete. (Mass.) 34; Parsons v. Camp, 11 Conn. 525. , A license is irrevocable when it is coupled with a grant or when the licensee has on the faith of the license spent money in execut ing works of a permanent character on the land ; 2 B. & Ald. 724; 11 A. & E. 34; Rhodes v. Otis, 33 Ala. 600, 73 Am. Dec. 439; Wood bury v. Parshley, 7 N. H. 237, 26 Am. Dec. 739; 13 M. & W. 838 (but see comments on this case in 4 Del. Ch. 195, note) ; and in some states even parol licenses without con sideration are held irrevocable when execut ed, on the ground of equitable estoppel; Lacy v. Arnett, 33 Pa. 169 ; Russell v. Hubbard, 59 Ill. 337; Clark v. Glidden, 60 Vt. 702, 15 Atl. 358.