Subject: Re: For Approval: Microsoft Permissive License
From: Matthew Flaschen <>
Date: Fri, 28 Sep 2007 16:24:44 -0400

Philippe Verdy wrote:
> From: [] :
>> Relevant to this, as I said in my interview with Peter Galli, I saw no
> reason to challenge the title of "The Microsoft Community License", because
> whether it is a community of one or one thousand, it's perfectly reasonable
> for anybody to state the aspiration of creating a community in the world of
> open source.
> My main concern against the Microsoft proposed licences is in their name:
> they contain the copyrighted and severely restricted trademark name
> "Microsoft"

IANAL, but you can't copyright a name, and I believe using the trademark
nominatively is fair use (as much as some trademark owners may like to
convince you otherwise).

Thus, I can say either: "This program runs on Microsoft Windows" (if it
does) and "This program is licensed under the Microsoft Open License"
(if it is).  No special permission is needed, since I'm simply referring
to something by its name.

This is a separate issue (that I was just reminded of), but you do need
permission to reproduce the license itself (which is copyrighted).  This
is only even a potential problem if you're licensing a new program under
the license (and you're not Microsoft).  If you're distributing
(modified or unmodified) an existing program, the requirement "If you
distribute any portion of the software in source code form, you may do
so only under this license by including a complete copy of this license
with your distribution." should grant an implicit license to reproduce
the license.

To address the license text copyright issue completely, Microsoft could
say, "You have permission to reproduce this license text verbatim".
Many licenses have equivalent grants.

Matt Flaschen