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Specification Documents in VS

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  • User profile image

    Can any the Channel 9's help answer my query as I seem to be able to find an answer?

    You know;- The Microsoft Visual Basic Language Specification Document and the corresponding one for C#, that comes with Visual Studio. (I don't know if their include in the Express versions.)


    C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio 10.0\VB\Specifications\1033\Visual Basic Language Specification 10.0.docx



    What are their redistribution and reproduction terms?  


    Can I store it separately from VS? Can I print it out? Could I say attach it it a download from my blog / website (provide the proper references are also associated with it)?



  • User profile image

    The specification has a copyright footer on the front-page:

    "Copyright Microsoft Corporation 1999-2008. All Rights Reserved.
    Please send corrections, comments,  and other feedback to"

    So unless explicitly stated, you cannot redistribute the document (obviusly Fair Use/Fair Dealings apply).

    Of further interest, here is the ECMA version:

    All ECMA specifications are covered by this Copyright disclaimer:

    "This document and possible translations of it may be copied and furnished to others, and derivative works that comment on or otherwise explain it or assist in its implementation may be prepared, copied, published, and distributed, in whole or in part, without restriction of any kind, provided that the above copyright notice and this section are included on all such copies and derivative works"

    So assuming the ECMA version is what you're after, then you're in the clear. (but note the ECMA version only goes up to C# 2.0).

    Note that the ISO are nowhere near as charitable. The ISO make the same specification available on this page, but with this message:

    "The following standards are made freely available for standardization purposes. They are rotected by copyright and therefore and unless otherwise specified, no part of these publications may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, microfilm, scanning, reproduction in whole or in part to another Internet site, without permission in writing from ISO"

    So we have a situation where the same content is available under different licenses.

    Personally (given the C# 4.0 specification is available for download from you would 'get away' with redistributing the document (but keeping it intact). I've spoken to authoritative Microsoft employees in the past and they all agreed that Microsoft's lawyers really would not bother touching you simply because you aren't affecting the profitability of the company). Copyrights aren't like Trademarks where they need to be defended with a Richard Dawkins-like zeal.

    But legally? I cannot say. Shoot an email off to if you're in doubt.

  • User profile image

    Could you not just link to the downloadable versions on MSDN? That would seem easier, IMHO.

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