May 16, 2018 - 03:50 AM
I've got some thoughts...
WIll the bots be working in place of a user?
I.e. sometimes it will be a human creating invoices, sometimes it will be a bot - based on workload or capacity or something?
If so, just using the human's license could be seen as short term re-assignment, meaning the bots may need their own licenses.
In the EA, a "Qualified User" is "a person who...accesses...any Enterprise Online Service".
Legally, the term "person" can be used to refer to a corporation, firm, society etc. so it already doesn't have to be a human person. I can imagine a successful arguement that a bot would be included under that definition - especially where it is acting like an employee.
I remember being told YEARS ago re: MS licensing - "If you think you've found a loophole, you haven't"...and this feels like one of those.
This is definitely an area which will have many shades of grey over the coming years and will be full of interest for us all!
May 16, 2018 - 04:02 AM
I.e. sometimes it will be a human creating invoices, sometimes it will be a bot - based on workload or capacity or something?**
Apparently not - they will "pick up stuff" and just go do it instead of the user. Thought of the short-term reassign, or even the "it is 1 of the 5" installs... but it could be multiple people's work at anyone point, so the they are completely indepenant of actual people.
May 16, 2018 - 04:17 AM
May 16, 2018 - 04:59 AM
In most cases you will have to look at the whole process from human to software, in whiuch the bot is merely a piece of middleware. The human may or may not need a user license, depending on the contract's definition of user and whether the human's action triggers the bot/ macro/ automatic process or whether it happens independently (e.g. at a set point in time, whether or not there is any data to process)
I'd also suggest that customers should comply with the spirit of software contracts, not merely the letter. The software publisher would be right to take issue with a customer who uses a bot to multiplex several people's activity through one connection, or otherwise abuses the 'fair use' assumption. That's different from a bot that is merely a type of macro or batch script.
May 16, 2018 - 05:16 AM
May 17, 2018 - 07:39 AM
Microsoft Online Service Terms state that:
1) For Exchange: "An end user will be able to send email messages, receive email messages that originate from within and outside of Customer’s organization, and access the end user’s mailbox".
2) Office Applications: " [A user] may also install and use the software, and use shared computer activation, on a shared device, a network server, or on shared servers on Microsoft Azure or with a Qualified Multitenant Hosting Partner"
May 21, 2018 - 04:24 PM
There's no license model or terms in existence right now to adequately meet theis scenario. Unsurprisingly, Microsoft worked in good faith to define the "bot user" and built some contractual concessions to support the use case.