Use of Copyrighted Content

Published: April 26, 2005 | Updated: November 13, 2009

Microsoft products and services—including images, text, and software downloads (the "content")—are owned either by Microsoft Corporation or by third parties who have granted Microsoft permission to use the content. Microsoft cannot grant you permission for content that is owned by third parties. You may only copy, modify, distribute, display, license, or sell the content if you are granted explicit permission within the End-User License Agreement (EULA) or License Terms that accompany the content or are provided in the following guidelines. For more information, consult your copyright attorney.

Requirements for Allowed Uses

For permission to be granted for any uses allowed by these guidelines, you must comply with the following four requirements:

  1. If your use includes references to a Microsoft product, you must use the full name of the product. When referencing any Microsoft trademarks, follow the General Microsoft Trademark Guidelines.
  2. You must include the following statement: "Used with permission from Microsoft."
  3. Your use may not be obscene or pornographic, and you may not be disparaging, defamatory, or libelous to Microsoft, any of its products, or any other person or entity.
  4. You may link to Microsoft content by using either a plain text link with words such as "This way to" or by participating in an applicable Link Logo program. No other images may be used as a link to a Microsoft site.

On This Page

Advertising and Advertisements

If you have any questions concerning the usage or licensing of Microsoft copyrighted materials, for example, Microsoft advertisements, photographs, video footage or other Microsoft materials, please submit your detailed request in writing to:

Microsoft Corporation
One Microsoft Way
Redmond, WA 98052-6399

Please be sure to include any surrounding copy or text to the Microsoft material.

In your advertising, Microsoft does not permit you to:

Top of page

Box Shots

Microsoft product box shots are complete images of Microsoft product boxes. You may not use Microsoft box shots on third-party software packaging. You may use box shots in advertising, in documentation (including educational brochures), in tutorial books, in videotapes, or on Web sites, provided that, in addition to the requirements above, you:

  1. Do not alter the box shot except to resize the entire box shot.
  2. Do not use any images contained with the box shot (for example, graphics, artwork, or trade dress) independently of the entire box shot.
  3. Present your company name and logo, product, and/or graphics significantly larger or more prominently than the box shot.

Top of page

Clip Art and Sample Art

The End-User License Terms that accompany your software describe the permitted commercial uses of images, clip art, animations, sounds, music, shapes, video clips, and templates that accompanied the product. Find End-User License Terms for Microsoft products.

The Clip Art and Media gallery provides a compilation of artwork. See the use terms for the description of permitted uses. If those terms do not meet your needs, our Clip Art partners at Office Online provide a variety of images you can license directly.

In the absence of language to the contrary in the License Agreement, Sample Art (which includes images customarily found in the "sample" folders within Microsoft operating systems) may be used for personal use only. You may not sell, lease, or distribute Sample Art, or any materials you create that use Sample images, for any commercial purposes.

Top of page

Donations of Product

If you are part of a nonprofit organization and are seeking a donation of software or software licenses from Microsoft to your organization, visit Microsoft Community Affairs.

Top of page


Use the free Font properties extension to determine who owns a font that Microsoft distributes. A number of Microsoft fonts may be licensed from Ascender Corporation. These include Verdana, Georgia, Comic Sans MS, Microsoft Sans Serif, Nina, Tahoma, Wingdings, Webdings, and Trebuchet MS. For more information regarding fonts, and for links to font vendors, visit the Microsoft Typography Web site.

Top of page

Game Content

For questions regarding the use of content related to Xbox and Games for Windows games, visit Game Content Usage Rules. For information about the use of Xbox content, go to

Top of page


Visit Bing Maps for information on licensing arrangements and pricing options for the commercial use of maps.

Top of page

Microsoft Icons

Microsoft product icons are the thumbnail-sized images indicating that a Microsoft product has been installed on your operating system. Icons may not be used in advertising, in books and other printed matter, on clothing or other promotional items, in online and Internet locations, in software applications, in television programs, in commercials, in movies, or on videotape.

You may use Microsoft product icons in training manuals or documentation about a Microsoft product. The use of the icon must be specific to the function of the icon within the Microsoft software. The icon may not be used as a graphical or design element. Icons cannot be modified or altered and must appear as they would within the Microsoft software.

Microsoft makes certain icons available to developers. (Find more information about how to buy Microsoft developer products.) If you have licensed a Microsoft development tool, review the redistributable section of the EULA to learn which Microsoft properties may be redistributed by licensees.

Top of page

Microsoft Sounds and Logos

Microsoft does not allow separate distribution of audio or AVI files—that is files with the extensions (.wav), (.mid), or (.avi). Logos may only be used in compliance with a Microsoft Logo Program.

Top of page


For information on the use of Microsoft images in articles or other news reports, visit the Microsoft PressPass Image Gallery. You may use any of the images found on the PressPass Web site as long as you adhere to the guidelines provided on the PressPass site.

Top of page

Redistributing Software

If your License Terms do not grant redistribution rights for a particular software file and you need assistance with your software, visit the Microsoft Help and Support page. For software downloads, unless expressly permitted in the accompanying License Terms or End-User License Agreement (EULA), Microsoft does not allow redistribution. You may link to the download page, but not directly to the download, from your product or Web site. If you experience technical difficulties, visit the Product Solution Center and select the product in question. If the customer does not have Internet access, Microsoft may provide a CD. Call (425) 882-8080 and ask to speak with a Product Support Services representative.

For Windows Internet Explorer (or any of its components), review the information regarding use and redistribution rights at the Internet Explorer home page or the Internet Explorer Administration Kit (IEAK) home page. The IEAK allows a minimal silent install of Internet Explorer. If you have questions regarding the IEAK, send an e-mail message to

Top of page

Reprinting Book Excerpts, Articles, and Images

Microsoft does not own all articles and images appearing on its pages. To determine the owner of an image, move your pointer over the image and the copyright owner's name will be displayed. To determine the owner of an article, look at the top of the article for the author or company that owns it.

Anyone, including a business, may link or point to articles on Microsoft Web sites for informational purposes, provided the material is available at no charge, it is not used for publication or sale outside of your company, and the pointer takes the user to the Microsoft page from which the material originates.

If you wish to reuse or reprint stories or images you found on, please visit the MSNBC Reprint Requests page.

For use of Microsoft Press materials, send an e-mail message to

Top of page

Request to Downgrade Microsoft Retail Products

Visit the Volume Licensing Briefs Downloads page to determine if you may have downgrade rights for your product. If Microsoft does not permit the downgrading of your product, visit the Product Solution Center, which provides information for many Microsoft products, including information on common issues and the Microsoft product return policy.

Top of page

School Reports and Projects

You may use images or content from Microsoft products and services in school reports provided that you comply with the guidelines above. You may critique or comment on the product or service.

Top of page

Screen Shots

You may not use screen shots of Microsoft product boot-up screens, opening screens, "splash screens," or screens from beta release products or other products that have not been commercially released. You may use other screen shots in advertising, in documentation (including educational brochures), in tutorial books, in videotapes, or on Web sites, provided that, in addition to the requirements above, you:

  1. Do not alter the screen shot except to resize it.
  2. Do not use portions of screen shots.
  3. Do not include screen shots in your product user interface.
  4. Do not use screen shots that contain third-party content.
  5. Do not use screen shots that contain an image of an identifiable individual.

Top of page

Spreadsheets and Databases

You may sell a spreadsheet or database you made using Microsoft software. The spreadsheet or database must be created using legitimate, licensed Microsoft software.

Top of page

Use of Name and/or Likeness of Bill Gate

Bill Gates' name and likeness are protected by publicity and privacy rights. If you want to use photographs of Bill Gates for reporting purposes, contact the photographer who created the work or contact Waggener Edstrom at (425) 637-9097. No other use is permitted.

Top of page