Summary: Microsoft publishes the Product Use Rights, commonly known as the PUR, on a quarterly basis. Because the use rights and license terms change, knowing which PUR to use when evaluating a licensing model, contemplating a purchase or downgrade, and evaluating compliance is important.  In this Licensing How To post, we cover the concept of knowing which PUR applies, or which Product Use Rights document you should be using, and when you should be using it.

The Licensing How To series posts are provided by our Customer Service Presales and Licensing team members.  These scenario based licensing topics are written on trending topics and issues based on their interactions with customers, Partners and field sellers.  For more posts from the Licensing How To series, search the “Licensing How To” tag on this blog. 

When you purchase a license through a Microsoft Volume Licensing program, the terms and conditions, or how you can use the license is primarily defined in the Product Use Rights (PUR).  The Product Use Rights is a legally binding document that you agree to follow as outlined in the Agreement you sign.

A common question our Licensing Team gets is, “which PUR should I be using?”  This is often comes up if you have licenses for several editions of the same software, or have Software Assurance (SA) coverage which, among other benefits, gives you new version rights. 

Here is general guidance on “which PUR you should be using”:

For current and future versions of a product: When you buy a license for a Microsoft  Products through a Volume License Program (e.g. Open License, Open Value, Select Plus, EA), the Product Use Rights in effect on date the Agreement/Enrollment becomes effective, will applyFor future versions, the Product Use Rights in effect when those future versions are released, will apply. 

For example, if you buy a license for SharePoint 2013 in December 2012 on a new Agreement/Enrollment, which starts on December 2012 – you should refer to the October 2012 PUR (which was the most current version of the PUR that was available in December 2012). Generally, PUR’s are released in the months of January, April, July and October.    

Let’s continue with this example, and say you buy another SharePoint 2013 Server license later the next calendar year (e.g. July 2013) under the same Agreement. Depending on your Agreement, you should still refer to the October 2012 PUR because SharePoint 2013 is still the current version of
the Product, and the second license was purchased on the same Agreement that was originally started in December 2012.

Let’s continue using the same example above with SharePoint 2013 Server licenses purchased on an Agreement/Enrollment started in December 2012.  With these licenses, let’s say you also purchased Software Assurance (SA) coverage, which aligns to the term of your Agreement/Enrollment.  If during the term of your SA coverage, a new version of SharePoint Server is released and you decide to install/upgrade to the newest version – the PUR currently available when the new version is released will apply to your use of the new version.  Please note that if you have rights to a new
version via SA coverage, and choose not to upgrade your software, you may choose to use the new PUR, or continue to use the PUR you were originally required to.  However, if you upgrade your software, you will be required to use the new PUR as outlined above (unless the Product List says otherwise).

For prior versions, aka downgrades:  In some cases, customers buy a license through a Volume License program for current versions of products with the specific intent on downgrading to a prior version of that product.  When this is the case, you must use the PUR in effect on the Agreement/Enrollment start date for the version you licensed – not the version you will downgrade to and deploy or run. 

This is a particularly common question when the license model for a Product changes significantly with the newest version.  For example, if you buy SQL Server 2012 licenses, which have moved from a Processor model to a Core licensing model under a Volume License Agreement – but deploy SQL Server 2008 R2 instead of the SQL Server 2012 you purchased – you are still required to use the PUR in effect for the version licensed (e.g. SQL Server 2012) as described in the section above.

As is the case with most all licensing related topics – there may be exceptions for certain products or Volume Licensing programs.  These exceptions are generally called out in our Agreement/Enrollment Terms and Conditions, or the Product List.  The most common exceptions are for Online Services, which generally always require you to follow the most current PUR, or for Products which have a significant change in the licensing model when a new version is released (e.g. SQL Server 2012). Exceptions will always be called out in the Product List.  

When in doubt over which Product Use Rights document applies to a particular piece of software, always consult your licensing resources such as your Agreement/Enrollment, the PUR, Product List, or contact your reseller or account team. The current PUR and ten year archive can be downloaded here.

This is one scenario, and licensing situation. Each customer scenario can vary by deployment, usage, product version, and product use rights.  Always check your contract, and the current Products Use Rights document to confirm how your environment should be fully licensed.  The blogging team does not warrant that this scenario will be the right licensing solution for other similar cases.