I came across this license declaration:

This source code is subject to the terms of the Microsoft Reciprocal License (Ms-RL). For details, see http://www.opensource.org/licenses/ms-rl.html.

All other rights reserved.

And wonder what exactly are those "other rights"? Is it even necessary to explicitly state that?

1 Answer 1


This effectively says, "Ms-RL defines the rights granted to you. Any rights not granted to you are not granted to you." As a tautology, this assertion has no practical effect but is also practically harmless (except to cause some confusion).

This answer nicely covers the history of the related phrase "All rights reserved." In brief, "All rights reserved" was once necessary (many decades ago) to establish copyright, regardless of how you chose to license a work after you established copyright. This phrase is no longer necessary, but it was kept by BSD (and perhaps other projects) in an abundance of caution, which has led to the phrase's continued needless reuse today.

This variant, "All other rights reserved," is correct but legally obvious: by definition, you reserve any rights that you do not grant.

  • What about patents, sui generis database rights, moral rights, and other non-copyright rights?
    – Kevin
    Jun 25, 2018 at 18:39
  • @Kevin I'm not a lawyer, but: in the absence of a right being granted, it's not granted, right? I don't know of any principle that would make rights work differently from that. (To be clear, I'm trying to be cautious in case I'm overlooking something; apologies if this sounds at all snarky.) In this particular case, patent rights are granted, because the Ms-RL includes a grant of patent rights. Other rights, not enumerated in the Ms-RL, aren't granted, because the author is granting the rights enumerated in the Ms-RL.
    – apsillers
    Jun 25, 2018 at 18:50
  • See for example the OSI's rejection of CC0 because its patent clause was too clear.
    – Kevin
    Jun 25, 2018 at 19:06

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