We have an open source project going on Github and so far, have been able to comply with all licensing terms and conditions of libraries used, to the best of our knowledge.

Today when debugging, I ended up with an exception in this file:

enter image description here

Transcript, emphasis mine:

Copyright (C) 1985-2015 Intel Corporation. All rights reserved.

The information and source code contained herein is the exclusive property of Intel Corporation and may not be disclosed, examined or reproduced in whole or in part without explicit written authorization from the company.

I would venture to examine it rather thoroughly now, for diagnostic and bug-fixing purposes. Is this already a transgression, and how to avoid?

As to previous research, I've rarely encountered such a clause before and when I did, it meant that I was not supposed to have that source code file on my machine in first place. Is this file (and many more, similarly) wrongfully included in the SDK? Microsoft themselves do not mention this in the SDK licence, DirectX licence, at least not in a way for laymen to grasp.

Answering commenters' questions:
I'm in the jurisdiction of the European Union (Austria),
location of the file on my computer running Windows 10:
C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio\2017\Enterprise\SDK\ScopeCppSDK\VC\include
It was put there by the installer software of the Microsoft Visual Studio 2017 Enterprise product, for which I legally own the required licences.

  • 4
    My personal feeling is it's not going to be easy to answer this without knowing at least (a) where exactly in your file system is this file, (b) what put it there (ie, is it part of the Windows SDK install, or some other package?), and (c) under what license terms was the responsible package conveyed to you and subsequently installed. I know very little about Windows, so I can't begin to guess the answers to those questions, and they seem to me important in answering the OP's question.
    – MadHatter
    Commented Apr 19, 2020 at 10:39
  • will find out and add info to question later today Commented Apr 19, 2020 at 10:55
  • searching for the filename gives you a link to the gcc implementation: github.com/gcc-mirror/gcc/blob/master/gcc/config/i386/… Commented Apr 19, 2020 at 15:15
  • Additionally, what country/jurisdiction are you in? Some of those restrictions might not be enforceable in all jurisdictions. Commented Apr 19, 2020 at 15:45
  • @planetmaker yes, I found that, too, but if you read the file itself it's clearly not the same thing. It looks to me like this header file is an integral part of a C compiler, and each compiler provides its own; but as I say, Windows is not my thing, and neither is C, so I'm hoping the OP can provide more information.
    – MadHatter
    Commented Apr 20, 2020 at 6:12

2 Answers 2


I'd assume that Microsoft simply does have an "explicit written authorization from the company". As long as you don't share the library, you're fine.

With one exception. You just shared a part of the library. If I were you, I'd not actually worry about it, but technically you disclosed a part of the file publicly...

You can probably use the header under the terms of the applying Microsoft EULA, but you should be aware that it is most certainly NOT open source compatible, so your problem might have a much larger scope than you might think.

EDIT: See this Question, which is about using proprietary libraries in GPL-code, although I don't know what license you are using.

  • Why the downvote? I'd like to improve the answer ;) Commented Jan 26, 2021 at 13:01

If Microsoft was mixed up with sublicensing of others products which they bundled into SDK you are in trouble even without any notices in files headers. Like buying stolen doesn't legalize ownership.

You have to read EULA of SDK. It might point to 3rd parties and their conditions.

It it requerment in USA to mark copyright rights in each work. In Europe is doesn't make sense as almost all joined Berne convention and you get the rights on a creaton regardless providing special marking or registering copyrights in any body.

So probably MS got sublicense from Intel but they incorporated work without altering "standard boilerplate copyright" header.

To clarify situaton read conditons and contact legal department both of MS & Intel.

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