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We review the state of the art in worldwide regulation of cognitive radio-based secondary access to radio spectrum. Emerging regulatory trends with regards to incumbent protection and detection, operation parameters of cognitive radio, and secondary licensing models in the United States, United Kingdom, Europe, and elsewhere are reviewed and compared. Particular emphasis is given to cognitive radio operation in unused portions of TV bands, the so-called TV white spaces. Initial views on regulatory feasibility of secondary access to civilian radar and military bands are presented.