none
Can the Open Specifications be redistributed? RRS feed

  • Question

  • The open specification pages make it clear that developers can use the information on, for example, Office document formats, but do not make it clear what the precise licensing conditions are. In particular, it is not immediately clear whether we have the right to archive and re-distribute copies or derivatives of the documentation (e.g. annotated versions). Inspecting the site Terms of Use, it would appear that this is explicitly disallowed.

    Could you respond and confirm that:

    • The Open Specification documents are licensed to use under the terms described in the Terms of Use page (e.g. http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/cc300389.aspx).
    • That downloaded specifications cannot be re-distributed publicly without further explicit written consent.

    Thanks for your time.

    Andy Jackson

    Wednesday, January 4, 2012 1:35 PM

Answers

  • Andy

     

    Apologies for the confusion. The Open Specifications themselves are not covered by the MSDN terms and conditions for general content, but have their own IP terms in the first two pages of the specification document.    

     

    Although you need to read the full text of the notice, two key parts of those terms concern copyrights and patents. The copyright grant for all Open Specifications is very broad and allows you to make copies and to distribute portions with the documentation for your implementation of the specification. It also allows distribution of the schema, IDL’s or code samples with or without modification. The IP terms do not contain a patent grant themselves. Some Open Specifications have been placed under unilateral grants such as the  Open Specifications Promise or Microsoft Community Promise which provide broad rights to implement the covered specifications on without any royalty or license fee. Microsoft offers a variety of patent license programs for implementing other Open Specifications. Finally, we have also published information for each of our Open Specifications to help identify where we do and do not have patents covering a particular specification.  For more information about the available programs and patent information, please visit the Open Specifications web-site here.

     

    If you have any particular specifications of interest, we would be more than happy to clarify what terms and programs apply. Please email protocol@microsoft.com.  In any event, we appreciate your trouble in understanding what IP terms apply and will certainly consider ways in which we might clarify that for others.


    Regards, Obaid Farooqi
    Thursday, January 5, 2012 9:45 PM
    Owner

All replies

  • Hi Andy:

    Thank you for your question. We are looking into this matter and will be in touch through this thread as soon as we have an answer.


    Regards, Obaid Farooqi
    Thursday, January 5, 2012 5:42 PM
    Owner
  • Andy

     

    Apologies for the confusion. The Open Specifications themselves are not covered by the MSDN terms and conditions for general content, but have their own IP terms in the first two pages of the specification document.    

     

    Although you need to read the full text of the notice, two key parts of those terms concern copyrights and patents. The copyright grant for all Open Specifications is very broad and allows you to make copies and to distribute portions with the documentation for your implementation of the specification. It also allows distribution of the schema, IDL’s or code samples with or without modification. The IP terms do not contain a patent grant themselves. Some Open Specifications have been placed under unilateral grants such as the  Open Specifications Promise or Microsoft Community Promise which provide broad rights to implement the covered specifications on without any royalty or license fee. Microsoft offers a variety of patent license programs for implementing other Open Specifications. Finally, we have also published information for each of our Open Specifications to help identify where we do and do not have patents covering a particular specification.  For more information about the available programs and patent information, please visit the Open Specifications web-site here.

     

    If you have any particular specifications of interest, we would be more than happy to clarify what terms and programs apply. Please email protocol@microsoft.com.  In any event, we appreciate your trouble in understanding what IP terms apply and will certainly consider ways in which we might clarify that for others.


    Regards, Obaid Farooqi
    Thursday, January 5, 2012 9:45 PM
    Owner
  • Thanks for the clear answer. If it helps, my confusion arose when looking through the Office File Format Protocols download, specifically the file '[[ReadmefirstOffFileFormat]].pdf' which I expected to contain overall terms, but does not contain any licensing information. However, as you said, the first page of each specification document contains the relevant information.

    Thanks very much for your time.

    Friday, January 6, 2012 9:43 AM