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In animanga fandom, the word licensing refers almost exclusively to the act of a company in one country purchasing the right to domestically broadcast or publish media material from a company in a different country.

When an anime or manga series is referred to as licensed, this means an officially-sanctioned version of the title has been or will be released in markets outside Japan -- generally a series must be separately licensed for each country/region, and new anime/manga titles often reach the North American market before being released in other parts of the world. "I want to get the official version, but it's not licensed in my country yet" is a common lament of animanga fans around the globe.

An unlicensed work, by contrast, is one for which the rights have not been acquired in a particular market. Due to many English-speaking forums and websites being hosted or administrated in the United States and Canada, the acquisition of a North American license often results in scanlations and fansubs being pulled from the site, even if a large portion of users are in other regions and will not be able to acquire the professional version.