For Approval: Microsoft Permissive License

Brendan Scott lists at
Sun Dec 11 04:58:08 UTC 2005

I make no comment on the license.  As to the process, I am not fussed by applications by proxy. I make these observations:

The first is that the terms of the license are themselves the subject of copyright.  In order for the terms to be listed on the OSI website the copyright holder must necessarily be involved - preferably doing the submission.   

The second issue, relating to the first, is that anyone using the license must themselves have the right to copy the license.  An application by proxy means that third parties do not have any assurance that they are permitted to reproduce the license terms.

The third is that OSI has plenty of applications for approval.  It should therefore give priority to those which are likely to be practically implemented.  In this respect, having a third party submit a license does not inspire confidence.  The copyright holder ought to be proposing the license for approval and stating an intention to use.

In short the process of approval is undermined unless the copyright holder of the license submits to the jurisdiction of the OSI.  Exactly who does it is not to the point, but there must be a clear chain of authority from the ultimate copyright holder.  

Now, I would repeat observations one and two more strongly in relation to licenses which contain a trade mark as part of their name.  OSI ought not be considering a license called "X's license" unless X has clearly and directly told OSI that it's ok.   


John Cowan wrote:
> Microsoft is adding new licenses to its Shared Source Initiative which I
> believe qualify as open-source licenses.  The first of these is a simple
> permissive license called the Microsoft Permissive License (MS-PL).
> The HTML is online at
> I include the full text in plain form here for convenience in commenting.
> I believe that this license should be approved by OSI even though it
> is basically similar to more widely used permissive licenses, because
> it is better to encourage Microsoft in particular to release under an
> OSI-approved license than not -- I think it very unlikely that they will
> go back and adopt some existing license.
> As noted earlier, I have no connection with Microsoft.
> Microsoft Permissive License (Ms-PL)
> Published: October 18, 2005
> This license governs use of the accompanying software. If you use the
> software, you accept this license. If you do not accept the license,
> do not use the software.
> 1. Definitions
> The terms "reproduce", "reproduction", and "distribution" have the same
> meaning here as under U.S. copyright law.
> "You" means the licensee of the software.
> "Licensed patents" means any Microsoft patent claims which read directly
> on the software as distributed by Microsoft under this license.
> 2. Grant of Rights
> (A) Copyright Grant- Subject to the terms of this license, including the
> license conditions and limitations in section 3, Microsoft grants you a
> non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free copyright license to reproduce
> the software, prepare derivative works of the software and distribute
> the software or any derivative works that you create.
> (B) Patent Grant- Subject to the terms of this license, including the
> license conditions and limitations in section 3, Microsoft grants you
> a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free patent license under licensed
> patents to make, have made, use, practice, sell, and offer for sale,
> and/or otherwise dispose of the software or derivative works of the
> software.
> 3. Conditions and Limitations
> (A) No Trademark License- This license does not grant you any rights to
> use Microsoft's name, logo, or trademarks.
> (B) If you begin patent litigation against Microsoft over patents that you
> think may apply to the software (including a cross-claim or counterclaim
> in a lawsuit), your license to the software ends automatically.
> (C) If you distribute copies of the software or derivative works, you
> must retain all copyright, patent, trademark, and attribution notices
> that are present in the software.
> (D) If you distribute the software or derivative works in source code form
> you may do so only under this license (i.e., you must include a complete
> copy of this license with your distribution), and if you distribute the
> software or derivative works in compiled or object code form you may
> only do so under a license that complies with this license.
> (E) The software is licensed "as-is". You bear the risk of using
> it. Microsoft gives no express warranties, guarantees or conditions. You
> may have additional consumer rights under your local laws which this
> license cannot change. To the extent permitted under your local laws,
> Microsoft excludes the implied warranties of merchantability, fitness
> for a particular purpose and non-infringement.

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