If you’ve been paying a subscription price to use old Creative Cloud versions of Adobe Products like Premiere Pro, Photoshop, Animate and even Lightroom Classic, the company is making a veiled threat that you could be sued if you don’t upgrade to the most recent version. And it underscores the harsh reality, that we don’t really buy software, we buy permission, and it can be revoked at any time.
We recently discontinued certain older versions of Creative Cloud applications, and as a result, under the terms of our agreement, you are no longer licensed to use them. Please be aware that you may be at risk of potential claims of infringement by third parties. – Adobe cease and desist letter
The news broke by Creative Cloud User Matt Roszak, who received his cease and desist email from Adobe, advising him that he was no longer licensed to use Adobe Animate. Others have been advised that using an older version of Adobe Premiere Pro or even Media Director, would also be subject to legal action. The issue comes from what some describe as a copyright dispute that Adobe is having with third parties, presumably plugin developers.
I just got an email from @Adobe that I'm no longer allowed to use the software that I'm paying for. Time to cancel my subscription I guess.
Share plz. pic.twitter.com/ZIIdqK5AkM
— Matt Roszak 🍞 (@KupoGames) May 10, 2019
Adobe had announced earlier this month that users of older versions of select Creative Cloud apps would have to update their apps, and that some would be discontinued. Those who chose to ignore this warning are now being advised that legal action could be forthcoming from “third parties.”
But while Adobe doesn’t comment on the claims of third party infringement due to an “ongoing litigation” that it is embroiled in, it does say that there is an IP infringement and that users of older versions of Creative Cloud may be subject to a copyright claim due to IP infringement. According to Apple Insider, however, the company is currently in a copyright and breach of contract dispute with Dolby, that is currently winding its way through federal court.
Adobe had licensed the use of Dolby technologies prior to launching Creative Cloud, when the company had sold their applications piecemeal in stores and online. But with software being distributed and employed in the Cloud, a legal dispute arose by Dolby claiming that Adobe wasn’t giving them accurate numbers of who is using their software through their subscription.
“When Dolby sought to exercise its right to audit Adobe’s books and records to ensure proper reporting and payment,” states the Dolby legal filing, “Adobe refused to engage in even basic auditing and information sharing practices; practices that Adobe itself had demanded of its own licensees. Adobe apparently determined that it was better to spend years withholding this information from Dolby ,than to allow Dolby to understand the full scope of Adobe’s contractual breaches.”
The move to revoke licensing of paying customers to use apps they paid for hasn’t been met with understanding from some Creative Cloud users. “Can someone explain to me how a company gets so out of touch with reality and becomes so vampiric that they think that sending legal threats to their own customers is a good idea?” said Creative Cloud user Geoff Gaidreault, on Twitter.
Creative Cloud users that have upgraded to the recent Spring update, are not subject to any problems and can continue as normal. But any users who have kept using older builds with those apps, including Premiere Pro, included, are now caught in the middle. But while users have had the freedom to use any version of Creative Cloud they wanted with their monthly or annual subscription, the emails above clearly indicate that is no longer the case.
Obviously, it would undermine Adobe’s case against Dolby (or any other third party developer) if they continued to allow users to use apps that had technologies that are now being withdrawn. But how they’re going about letting users know is a PR nightmare.