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One of the most popular document processing software is Microsoft Word. If I write a book using this software, am I legally allowed to sell it without paying royalties to Microsoft?

As far as I'm aware using the software for commercial purposes is not allowed by default. But then I wonder, do all publishers who use Word actually pay Microsoft a share of each and every single book sold?


PS. I am aware that most publishers use Latex for preparing books. My question is specifically about Microsoft Word.

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    "As far as I'm aware using the software for commercial purposes is not allowed by default": you haven't read the license agreement, have you? – phoog Jun 24 at 5:46
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    Could you clarify why you believe "using the software for commercial purposes is not allowed ". Where did you read this? Please give the exact quote. In the meantime, I'm voting to close as unclear. Also note that MS Word is offered with different conditions by Microsoft, so it depends on the license/conditions for the edition you acquired. – sleske Jun 24 at 9:06
  • Related Q: “Commercial use” clarification – sleske Jun 24 at 9:35
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Can you locate your license (generally not a trivial task)? It may appear under Help-About and a click to view EULA. The EULA specifically addresses redistribution of parts of the software and number of installations you can make with a single license. They do not say what uses you make make of the software, except that "You may not rent, lease, lend or provide commercial hosting services with the Software". There is no express prohibition against commercial or non-commercial political use of the product: anything not prohibited is allowed. The fact that they say nothing about the content that you create with Word means, they have declined to have a say in the matter. (I am not sure about the wording of the "Educational" versions of Office: those are somewhat negotiated between the institution and MS).

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  • Thank you. I have the Word 2007 edition, and the License Terms are not clear on this; large.stanford.edu/courses/2010/ph240/mendez2/docs/op07.pdf – Dakter Jun 25 at 10:12
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Documents of a commercial nature have been in Word from the beginning. No one would buy it if Microsoft had any claim on one's output.

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Have you read your licence?

Surely, before checking “I agree” you read what you were agreeing to?

Yeah, neither do I. However, judges around the world have decided that legally, we have and are agreeing that we have and that we freely and willingly enter the contract we just legally read. Explains the delays in court systems - judges are clearly spending most of their time reading EULAs.

You can also read the license terms later in a Microsoft Office program by clicking File > Account > About program name (like About Excel) > View the Microsoft Software License Terms.

When you do read it, you will find out that, yes, you can.

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  • Thank you. I have the Word 2007 edition, and the License Terms are not clear on this; large.stanford.edu/courses/2010/ph240/mendez2/docs/op07.pdf – Dakter Jun 24 at 10:47
  • People don't generally read click-through licenses, and are not realistically expected too. If we're lucky a few journalists will read the licenses and alert us to anything especially concerning or important. – bdsl Jun 24 at 12:24
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    -1 one for the "Surely .. " comment. It's unrealistic and impractical to expect people to fully read and fully understand any click-through license. There are just too many updates and changes these days and the licences are often dozens of pages of complex legal language. – Hilmar Jun 24 at 14:50
  • @Dakter What license terms do you find unclear? Please edit your question to explain. – phoog Jun 24 at 19:39

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