I'm hoping to use software from the Windows 10 Operating System in an academic research project. I'm struggling to understand some of the wording in the terms found here:


I'm hoping to analyse the software in a way that could be considered 'Reverse Engineering'. Under section 2.c.iv it says you may not:

reverse engineer, decompile, or disassemble the software, or attempt to do so, except and only to the extent that the foregoing restriction is (a) permitted by applicable law; (b) permitted by licensing terms governing the use of open-source components that may be included with the software; or (c) required to debug changes to any libraries licensed under the GNU Lesser General Public License which are included with and linked to by the software;

Therefore I believe I'm not allowed to analyse the software as I was hoping to. However I think I may be allowed as an Academic.

Section 14.d

Limited rightsversions. If the software version you acquired is marked or otherwise intended for a specific or limited use, then you may only use it as specified. You may not use such versions of the software for commercial, non-profit, or revenue-generating activities.

(i) Academic. For academic use, you must be a student, faculty or staff of an educational institution at the time of purchase.

If I was to purchase a software version that is not marked as limited rights, but is intended for a specific and limited use, whilst being a student of an academic institution, I assume this means I can use the software solely for academic purposes.

Section 13.c says

The academic use restriction in Section 14.d(i) below does not apply in the jurisdictions listed on this site: (aka.ms/academicuse).

I'm struggling to understand the wording here. If i qualify for academic use as explained above. Does this mean I can reverse engineer the software, as it prohibits in 2.c.iv?

Thank you

1 Answer 1


All of the statements in the license have to be complied with. The no reverse engineering requirement must be obeyed by all. Section 14 lists some additional conditions that are not applicable to everyone, and (d) specifically limits use of the software made available under the academic license at the time of acquisition – you must be student, staff or faculty at an educational institution. So taken together, those conditions must both be true: you may not reverse engineer, and you must be "academic". It also carries with it (specific) limitations, as negotiated between MS and the institution. However, one restriction is that "you may not use such versions of the software for commercial, non-profit, or revenue-generating activities".

What 13(c) says is, basically, "If you are in certain EU jurisdictions, the academic-only restrictions don't apply" (other restrictions may apply, the linked site is either broken or under lock and key), so you may be able to use software acquired under an academic license to make a buck. But the restriction against reverse engineering is not within the scope of (14)(d). Saying "14(d) does not apply in these conditions" does not mean "none of the license conditions apply", (13)(c) only limits the limits stated in (14)(d).

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