An open file format is a file format for storing digital data, defined by an openly published specification usually maintained by a standards organization, and which can be used and implemented by anyone. An open file format is licensed with an open license. For example, an open format can be implemented by both proprietary and free and open-source software, using the typical software licenses used by each. In contrast to open file formats, closed file formats are considered trade secrets.
Depending on the definition, the specification of an open format may require a fee to access or, very rarely, contain other restrictions. The range of meanings is similar to that of the term open standard.
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