New Market, MD asked in Copyright, Business Law, Intellectual Property and Trademark for Maryland

Q: Looking for Guidance on Sale of Microsoft PowerPoint Templates

I am looking to operate an online business where I sell online courses and PowerPoint templates as materials with the course. I have seen that a Microsoft Office Home and Student license is not allowed for commercial purposes.

Questions List:

1. Is the Microsoft Professional license the proper license I would need to distribute these materials? If not, is there a particular license I should choose?

a. An example of the Professional license can be seen here –

2. Are the stock images included within Microsoft-provided PowerPoint presentations permissible to be used within PowerPoint presentations that are sold as part of the online courses? Can these images be copied and pasted from Microsoft-provided PowerPoint presentations and used in custom/self-created Microsoft PowerPoint presentations?

Thanks in advance!

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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A: 1. The Microsoft Office Professional license may indeed be suitable for distributing materials such as online courses and PowerPoint templates for commercial purposes. However, it's essential to carefully review the terms and conditions of the license to ensure that it allows for the specific use case you have in mind. While the Professional license typically offers more robust features than the Home and Student version, it's always wise to confirm with Microsoft or a legal expert specializing in software licensing to ensure compliance.

2. Regarding the use of stock images included within Microsoft-provided PowerPoint presentations, it's essential to understand the terms of use associated with these images. While Microsoft may provide certain images for use within their presentations, the permissions granted for these images may not extend to commercial use or redistribution. Therefore, it's advisable to review the licensing terms associated with each image and determine whether they permit usage in materials that will be sold as part of online courses. Alternatively, consider sourcing images from royalty-free or appropriately licensed sources to avoid any potential copyright issues.

3. To ensure legal compliance and mitigate any risks associated with the distribution of PowerPoint templates and online courses, it's advisable to seek guidance from a legal professional specializing in intellectual property and software licensing. They can provide personalized advice based on the specific details of your business model and help you navigate any potential legal challenges or concerns. Additionally, consulting with Microsoft directly or reviewing their official licensing documentation can provide clarity on the appropriate licensing options and usage rights for your intended purposes. By taking these proactive steps, you can operate your online business confidently and ethically while adhering to all relevant legal requirements.

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