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Question on scope of .NET framework library license RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hi,

    Please accept my apologies if this question is going to the wrong place - I've yet to find the right place to send it and hope that if someone here can't help me, perhaps they can tell me who can!

    As an ISV, I develop a software product (a productivity tool) on the MS platform which I allow users to freely download for a 30-day period, then later buy a license if they like it.

    I've been considering adding a feature area to this tool that would require the distribution of .NET framework libraries with the product.  Specifically, I need to distribute binaries from the .NET framework that are downloaded and packaged with my source code using Nuget (such as this one - https://www.nuget.org/packages/Microsoft.Bcl).  It looks as though all these .NET framework library components that are available are under the following license: http://www.microsoft.com/net/dotnet_library_license.htm

    Anyway, this license has the following paragraph of interest:

    3.    SCOPE OF LICENSE. The software is licensed, not sold. This agreement only gives you some rights to use the software. Microsoft reserves all other rights. Unless applicable law gives you more rights despite this limitation, you may use the software only as expressly permitted in this agreement. In doing so, you must comply with any technical limitations in the software that only allow you to use it in certain ways. You may not

    ·         work around any technical limitations in the software;

    ·         reverse engineer, decompile or disassemble the software, except and only to the extent that applicable law expressly permits, despite this limitation;

    ·         publish the software for others to copy;

    ·         rent, lease or lend the software;

    ·         transfer the software or this agreement to any third party; or

    ·         use the software for commercial software hosting services.

    ... Of particular interest to me are the 3rd and 5th points in this paragraph.  It looks as though the license restricts any developer from distributing a library of the .NET framework with their software product for use by any of their users.  As these libraries aren't installed with the .NET framework on the user's machine (AFAIK they are only available via Nuget), this would make the libraries impossible to use for any commercial software product.

    I guess this would mean that the DLLs published by Microsoft on Nuget can only be used by software intended to support internal business processes? (i.e. software that is never used outside the company in which it is developed).

    The 6th point is also of interest to me, as it would seem that these libraries also cannot be used by any vendor providing SAAS solutions?

    If my understanding of these license terms is accurate, then this is quite a surprise to me and it seems to run against the intentions of Microsoft in providing a platform on which developers can build their products.

    It would be great if someone could let me know whether I've completely misunderstood this, or perhaps give some official guidance so I can be sure that when I use these libraries I am not operating in breach of their license.

    Thanks!

    Remco

    Monday, February 23, 2015 3:33 AM