Are You Pirating Microsoft Office 365?


4-Step Computer Security Upgrade

Learn to encrypt your files, secure your computer when using public Wi-Fi, enable two-factor authentication, and use good passwords.

Do you have a Home, University, or Personal subscription to Office 365? Well, bad news if you are using that software for your law practice:

The service/software may not be used for commercial, non-profit, or revenue-generating activities.

That’s from the Microsoft Software License Terms for Office Consumer Subscriptions.


Get Lawyerist in Your Inbox, Daily

Current Articles
Current Lab Discussions
  • Most “Home” software packages have similar terms.

    • Yep. It’s particularly crappy in the case of Office 365, though, since the business package (SharePoint in disguise) is designed for big companies, not small ones (much less solo practices).

      • Paul McGuire

        Yeah I’m still trying to figure out what SharePoint does but I also got the Office 365 Business version and the only real difference I noticed is much better customer service options when you have issues.

        You could say the same thing about anyone who doesn’t have a premium business version of Windows on their computers. But again I think in some cases the companies don’t consider a solo to be the sort of business they are targeting with enterprise software (like the higher end versions of Windows).

        • I don’t think Microsoft probably cares all that much, but I do think it would be nice to see some “very-small business” plans.

  • Jason Gershenson

    I wouldn’t say this type of use is as serious as pirating…but it does violate the terms.

    • That’s fair. I think Microsoft would call it pirating, but I agree it feels more like half-legit if you’re just not paying for the right version.

  • M Rummler

    So… (and I hesitate because maybe this is already obvious?) umm don’t use Office 365 @ all unless you want to give a charitable donation to Microsoft. There are so many alternatives that using their paid service seems like a poor choice, (again, unless you feel so much appreciation for Microsoft that you want to hand them some money).
    Chief among the alternatives is Google Docs… but there are armfuls of other free (and good) alternatives.