For Approval: Microsoft Permissive License

Chris Travers chris at
Mon Aug 20 06:19:44 UTC 2007

Just a quick note.  IANAL, TINLA, etc.

Copyright law does not appear to give you the right to restrict what 
your users can do with third party code under your own copyright 
licenses (provided there is no other contract involved, etc).  Therefore 
no license seems to allow changing the license of the code released to 
the public.  The most it can allow you to do is choose licenses for the 
work as a whole.

Therefore the BSDL does not permit sublicensing or relicensing of code 
if you provide it to a customer as part of a GPL application.*  All it 
allows you to do is comply with the ability to provide all downstream 
users with the same permissions (but not necessarily restrictions) that 
the GPL offers.  Since copyright and license notices cannot be removed, 
and since the original code can still be *only* distributed according to 
the terms of the BSDL, there is no operational difference between the 
implications of the BSDL under standard copyright law and the portions 
of the MS-PL under debate.

* Of course, the BSDL itself neither requires that you give the customer 
the source at all nor does it prevent you from using your own changes to 
further encumber the work as a whole.

I would therefore say that *all* MS-PL-licensed code contains an 
implicit GPL v3 license.

Best Wishes,
Chris Travers

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