On my journey to keep you better informed I will throw in information as I get it sometimes. Just to be clear I’m not an expert on licensing so you should always consult a licensing specialist before making any decisions. Now that I’ve got the CYA done; there was a pretty cool update to the MSDN licensing recently. Here is the summary from more knowledgeable folks than me:
Two new use rights were added to MSDN subscription use terms on January 1, 2013. In addition to the existing use rights, MSDN subscribers now have the right to use the software for evaluation and to use the software to replicate a customer environment for diagnosing issues.
1. Evaluation use rights were added to enable MSDN subscription use rights to be a superset of the use rights offered in TechNet subscriptions, and to make it easier for MSDN subscribers to evaluate the software, no longer needing to download trial versions for this purpose.
2. The right to replicate a customer environment was made to enable use of the MSDN software by support staff in non-production environments, even when they aren’t technically developing or testing the software when performing this support. A typical scenario is when a customer calls in for support and the front-line agent escalates the issue to a support engineer to troubleshoot.
The second item is the most compelling. Assuming the support engineer has an MSDN subscription, they can use MSDN to replicate the customer’s environment. If you’ve been doing this already you are now legal and if you haven’t been doing this then you should definitely make a decision about using this feature. If you want to know the specific area that was changed in the license agreement here is the verbiage from the Product Use Rights with highlighting of the added pieces:
You have the rights below for each license you acquire.
1. You must assign each license to a single user.
2. Each Licensed User may run an unlimited number of copies of the software and any prior version on any device.
3. For MSDN and TechNet subscriptions, the “software” means what is made available to your subscription level via MSDN and TechNet Subscriber Downloads.
4. The Licensed User may use the software for evaluation and to design, develop, test, and demonstrate your programs. These rights include the use of the software to simulate an end user environment to diagnose issues related to your programs.
5. The software is not licensed for use in a production environment.
6. Additional rights provided in license terms included with the software are additive to these product use rights, provided that there is no conflict with these product use rights, except for superseding use terms outlined below.