A quick reading of MT3's new license agreements


With the release of MT 3.0 today, new license agreements (Personal, Commercial) were also unveiled at the same time. The objectionable terms in MT's prior license agreements relating to support services and compensation appear to have been eliminated.

But in the new FAQ is this apparent holdover:

Q: I want to charge for installations. Is this allowed?
A: You may charge for installation of Movable Type for any user who has purchased
a license for Movable Type Personal Edition or any Commercial Use license. Charging
for installation of the free, unsupported version of Movable Type is not permitted.

Sorry, but Six Apart cannot prohibit that. I'm puzzled as to why that would even be included. Surely it wouldn't be something as petty as "Well, Six Apart didn't make any money from that user, so no one else can either", would it? Fortunately, the FAQ is not legally binding or enforceable.

Here's some new license terms that caught my eye -

From the Personal License:

A Little Credit. You must maintain, on every page generated by the Software, an operable link to http://www.sixapart.com/movabletype/ , with the link text "Powered by Movable Type", as specified by Six Apart, unless otherwise stated in the terms included with your copy of the Software.

I'm curious how exactly a user is supposed to do this with a stylesheet page. The old Personal License only required such a link (or logo) to be displayed on the main page.

This next one is in both license agreements:

Age Restrictions. The Software is not intended for use by persons under the age of 13 and may not be used anyone under such age.

Okay, what's up with that? Is the new MT3 hazardous to small children?

From the Commercial License:

Term and Termination. The term of this Agreement shall be for the period corresponding to the fee you pay and set forth in your copy of the Software, unless terminated earlier as provided herein.

This sounds to me like a 'software as a service' clause, where licenses are sold for a specific period of time (such as 1 year, 2 years, etc.). I wonder if commercial users will wake up one day to find their MT licenses now have expiration dates, and if they want to keep using MT, they have to keep paying the license fees over and over.

This last one is also from the Commercial License:

Educational institutions are not qualified to use this Standard Commercial Use License and must enter into an Educational License with Six Apart.

I don't know if this is good or bad for educational institutions. I did not see an 'Educational License' on Six Apart's web site, and there is no pricing information published to indicate whether an educational institution would pay more or less for an Educational License than it would for a Commercial one. My guess: It pays more under an Educational License; why else prohibit them from purchasing a Commercial License?

For the most part, these agreements looks okay (as far as software license agreements go). This doesn't really matter now though, as the real fuss is over MT3's new pricing.


Thanks for your feedback. The "charging for the free version is not permitted" item was just a holdover from the old version, I fixed that. Sorry to have left it in.

I'll try to check over and clarify the other points you've mentioned as well. I should mention that the educational version is generally *cheaper* than the commercial version for those users, we just have some different terms that are appropriate for their uses.

I'd love to hear more about whether we adddressed the earlier concerns you had. Your conversations last year were a big influence on all the work we've put into our new licenses. It'd be great to have some discussion as to whether those complaints were addressed.

I remarked on the issue of installation for the free version here, though I must have noticed after Anil removed the last sentence. Even as it is worded now, with installation OKed only for those who have purchased licenses, it would still seem that there is a prohibition on installing for free users (ie, those who did not purchase a license). Colour me confused.

I agree, Sarah - the answer to that FAQ question needs to be reworded. In a nutshell, the answer to that question simply should be "Yes". If Six Apart wants to have a legal sounding answer, I would recommend something like the following:

Q: I want to charge for installations. Is this allowed?
A: You may charge for installation of any licensed version of Movable Type.

The user is not allowed to install unlicensed copies anyway, so there is no harm in stating that you can't charge to install an unlicensed copy for someone else either.

A reply to Anil's comments is here.