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License of code snippets in MSDN forums

    Question

  • Some answers within this forum contain code snippets. I wonder which license applies to these snippets?

    In the Terms of Use (see bottom of this site) chapter 2.b says:

    If any such Software without license terms is marked as “sample” or “example,” then you may use it under the terms of the Microsoft Limited Public License.

    But the code snippets in the forums are usually not marked as sample/example. Therefore I guess these code snippets do have a copyright. But who has a copyright? Microsoft or the author?

    Tuesday, July 28, 2015 1:58 PM

Answers

  • Hi Interfaceobjekt,

    I'm with the engineering team that maintain the forums.

    I'm not with legal, but I think if the content is created by someone who is directly working for Microsoft (product team or CSS), and it's pretty obvious what he's posting is a code sample, you can assume it's under the Microsoft Limited Public License. If you want to be sure just ask the poster.

    If the content is posted by a third party, then technically you should to get permissions from that person, especially for use in a commercial product.

    Linked base MS TOS here:

    http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/legal/intellectualproperty/copyright

    "Third party scripts or code, linked to or referenced from this website, are licensed to you by the third parties that own such code, not by Microsoft."

    I can contact our legal folks if you need any additional follow-ups.

    Tuesday, September 29, 2015 3:08 AM

All replies

  • Answers provided in the free forums by free will of the members are free to use. You can add as a courtesy to your code (obtained from such and such thread link from user named ...). But you're not required to do so.

    For every expert, there is an equal and opposite expert. - Becker's Law


    My blog


    My TechNet articles

    Tuesday, July 28, 2015 3:03 PM
    Moderator
  • Answers provided in the free forums by free will of the members are free to use. You can add as a courtesy to your code (obtained from such and such thread link from user named ...). But you're not required to do so.

    On which law or term of use is your statement based on?

    Just because it's common sense it doesn't mean that it's legal.

    Tuesday, July 28, 2015 3:40 PM
  • On which law or term of use is your statement based on?

    Just because it's common sense it doesn't mean that it's legal.

    You can reach out to the forums team directly by sending an email to fissues (at) microsoft [dot] com.

    That said, what's your hangup? If you have actual legal questions you should be speaking with a lawyer, not asking a question in a community forum.


    Tuesday, July 28, 2015 3:58 PM
    Moderator
  • As Mike said, for the official answer you may want to contact fissues and clarify this and then post here.

    However, I don't see why would it be different than any other free support forums. When I ask a question and get answer as a code, I often add reference to where I obtained that code. Other than that, I see no reason for any license issues. Do any license rules apply to samples in MSDN?


    For every expert, there is an equal and opposite expert. - Becker's Law


    My blog


    My TechNet articles

    Tuesday, July 28, 2015 4:16 PM
    Moderator
  • Hi Interfaceobjekt,

    I'm with the engineering team that maintain the forums.

    I'm not with legal, but I think if the content is created by someone who is directly working for Microsoft (product team or CSS), and it's pretty obvious what he's posting is a code sample, you can assume it's under the Microsoft Limited Public License. If you want to be sure just ask the poster.

    If the content is posted by a third party, then technically you should to get permissions from that person, especially for use in a commercial product.

    Linked base MS TOS here:

    http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/legal/intellectualproperty/copyright

    "Third party scripts or code, linked to or referenced from this website, are licensed to you by the third parties that own such code, not by Microsoft."

    I can contact our legal folks if you need any additional follow-ups.

    Tuesday, September 29, 2015 3:08 AM