Adobe and Subscription Model

I haven’t heard much about this but it does trouble me

Adobe is warning some owners of its Creative Cloud software applications that they’re no longer allowed to use older versions of the software. It’s yet another example of how in the modern era, you increasingly don’t actually own the things you’ve spent your hard-earned money on.

Adobe this week began sending some users of its Lightroom Classic, Photoshop, Premiere, Animate, and Media Director programs a letter warning them that they were no longer legally authorized to use the software they may have thought they owned.

“We have recently discontinued certain older versions of Creative Cloud applications and and a result, under the terms of our agreement, you are no longer licensed to use them,” Adobe said in the email. “Please be aware that should you continue to use the discontinued version(s), you may be at risk of potential claims of infringement by third parties.” Users were less than enthusiastic about the sudden restrictions.

I have an older Mac Pro running 10.14 that I’ve installed C6 on, so I don’t think this new “policy” will effect me at the moment

Arrrrrggggghhhhh…………. I’m still running CS9 on my million year old MacBook Pro. It works just fine.

When I needed to do something CS9 couldn’t handle, which was rare, I’d run over to my husband’s MacBook Pro and use the Adobe subscription stuff he had from work. However, he recently retired and no longer has access to an Adobe subscription. With all the excellent recommendations I’ve heard here about the Affinity stuff, I’ll be trying it out once the new MacBooks are unveiled this year.

But I doubt that Adobe will prosecute single users of older versions that were already paid for; the PR repercussions would be too horrendous. Corporate subs are a whole other story.

1 Like

I guess I’m confused about what’s going on here.

Creative Cloud (CC) and Creative Suite (CS) are different products. CC fully replaced CS a decade ago, and the last version of CS was CS6. CS was a buy-it-once software package with traditional licensing. CC is a subscription-based software product.

This announcement specifically points to old versions of CC apps, and does not mention CS apps. Given the alluded-to-but-not-specified legal issues behind this announcement, I would expect that if CS were meant to be included here, it would have been stated. So presumably, if you are still using a version of CS, nothing has changed.

There are really only two scenarios for running “old” versions of CC apps: either your subscription has lapsed, or you haven’t upgraded to the most current version. If the former, you’ve never been permitted, under licensing terms, to continue to use the apps without an active subscription, so nothing has changed there.

If the latter, you’re continuing to pay to use out-of-date apps that you could update at no additional cost. (Presumably, by “old” versions, they’re not talking about minor updates, but major version upgrades. It would be beyond stupid to penalize users who simply haven’t run the CC updater in a while and missed a few updates.) The only scenario in which this makes sense is if you are using older hardware that can’t run the current version. And it doesn’t make sense for Adobe to penalize these users if they’re still paying.

CS6 is far too old to be useable on current hardware, so if you want to use Photoshop, subscription is how you have to do it. And there has never been any pretense that you “own” any version of subscription software; you have access to it as long as you pay, and not a minute longer. So nothing has changed here with regard to the idea of “owning what you buy”: you don’t “own” any version of CC, and never have.

So the only users I see having grounds to complain about this are those unable to run the most current versions but are still paying for a CC subscription. For the rest of us, this announcement has zero effect.

Complain about subscription software all you want—please do! I hate the subscription model—I see it as predatory rent-seeking. But I don’t understand the sudden outcry about what seems to be primarily a reiteration of existing license terms.

Is there something I’m missing?

1 Like

Note I bolded the “third parties” phrase, which I think is key, here. It’s not Adobe suing the user, but third parties (the original article mentions Dolby, which had tech licensed by Adobe, that has expired).

Like MMTalker, I doubt anyone will be suing individual users. This strikes me as Adobe trying to scare people into upgrading, as well as covering their ass in case there are legal issues about old versions of their software continuing to be used. Adobe can claim they warned users and exempt themselves from any blowback, while also benefiting by some who may decide it’s time to upgrade.

This is a lot like the Pantone color debacle.


Moved away from Adobe after Dark Room changed. Never played the subscription game. Affinity – Professional Creative Software for the win. Mac, Windows and iPad! Also use Pixelmator Pro and Luminar Neo. All good.

1 Like