OpenLayers code releases published under a modified BSD license. This license applies to both hosted API files and source tarballs.
Code and content in the OpenLayers SVN repository at http://svn.openlayers.org/, and in the OpenLayers Trac database at http://trac.openlayers.org/ is provided under a modified BSD license, with an additional provision that excludes from the license grant any technologies for which MetaCarta has a patent or has applied for a patent.
This special repository license allows the project to offer SVN commit rights to a broader group of contributors. The reason for this is legal: Having funded the initial development of OpenLayers, MetaCarta holds copyright on the project's source, as dictated by international copyright law. The company also holds or has applied for patents in related technical domains. The repository license is a compromise taken on by the OpenLayers SteeringCommittee, in the interests of supporting the Open Source development process, without risking infringement of MetaCarta's patents. When MetaCarta transfers copyright ownership to another party, like the OSGeo Foundation, this special repository license can be changed or removed.