Why is Adobe so casual about pirating?

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by ralph_jensen, Jun 14, 2008.

  1. As an owner of legal copies of the Adobe graphics programs, I've often wondered
    why Adobe allows so much pirating. (I would venture to guess that there are more
    illegal copies than legal copies of Photoshop in use out there, for example.)

    An acquaintance just came by my office, handed me a 4gb jump drive, and
    said "Check this out." I plugged it into my USB port, and it immediately listed all
    of the programs in the Adobe Graphics Suite (incl. PSCS3), and the three
    programs I clicked on fired right up. He said he paid "less than $50" for the entire
    package (Adobe charges $1800, I think).

    I guess as long as enough people like me can be persuaded to pay $1800, Adobe
    sees no need to go after the pirates; the company is making its billions and that's
    good enough for them.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. CS3 is hard to use without a license. each release gets harder.

    but there is one fundamental reason to not go back to hardware dongles and the
    such for licensing: since the software costs so much, if there was no way to use
    them without paying $1800, less than 10% of the people who know how to use the
    software would know how. You cannot really learn aptitude in a seminar, and design
    courses only teach the rudimentary basics.

    Said this, if the full CS3 suite cost $200, few people would feel compelled to use it
    without purchasing it, and i am confident that they would make more money, too.

    t
     
  3. Do you not have to put a registration # in to keep it working?
     
  4. "... why Adobe allows so much pirating."

    Three comments:

    1. It's not clear what they could do. Attempts at copy-protection went out years
    ago. Why antagonize your customers? Much of the copying is probably offshore,
    and copyright and anti-piracy issues are difficult to deal with by a single US
    company. They require international treaties and, much more difficult, a
    commitment by signatories to enforce them. Neither is under Adobe's control.

    2. We don't know what they are doing about pirating. Perhaps a lot. I doubt that
    they would see it in their interest to publicize what they are doing. (Unlike,
    say, the RIAA.)

    3. The proliferation of pirated software, while always unethical, is not
    entirely bad for Adobe. It does help to create market dominance.
     
  5. Ronald - if you google CS3 Warez Key Gen Crack you will come up with thousands of sites that are options. Some of them are a $4.95 subscription for a download, some are free, some give you the entire program and some give you just the keygen that will create a registration # based on the serial number of the trial version you legitimately downloaded from Adobe.

    Same deal with almost every single piece of software out there.

    Almost guaranteed that 99% of these sites will send you viruses, trojan horses, and many wonky things too - no extra charge. Oh yes, you'll probably crash your computer from all the porno pop-unders and pop-ups that somehow get by the anti-pop-up code in many browsers.

    How do I know this stuff? A friend is a computer security expert and we had a conversation about it not too long ago. He just gave me the words to type into google and the warning of viri and trojans.

    Be warned of that.
     
  6. i would assume that they make so much money out of it that the bootlegs found in small shops in many of the south asian countries or in russia hurts the adobe pocket very little.

    i have photoshop version 7 in my computer. i worked as a graphics designer for a number of years and found it to be more than adequate for my needs. i don't see the point of upgrading. however, i remember seeing many cheaper versions of photoshop 8 at a trip to south asia some time ago. i did not need to upgrade so didn't bother with the copy.
     
  7. "i did not need to upgrade so didn't bother with the copy."

    And if you did need to upgrade?

    Clearly, the problem with piracy isn't that the illegal and unethical copies are sold, but that they're bought.

    I'm especially sensitive to this issue because over the years I've made almost all of my money selling off-the-shelf software and books.
     
  8. I have paid for programs and was just curious about the others who buy this stuff.
     
  9. Back a few years ago when our agency was a Quark shop we HATED how strict and
    draconian and noncooperate Quark could be. They treated legitimate customers
    like we were just waiting to break the rules and pirate their software. Heaven
    forbid if a hard drive died and you had to reinstall Quark - you'd have to call
    Quark, speak to a support rep in a faraway land, read off an obscene 20 digit
    code of some sort, just to get up and running again.

    Few years later, we had to decide - stick with Quark or make the move to Adobe
    Creative Suite. Many factors influences our decision to go with Adobe, but as
    the IT person who didn't have to use either program, I know Quark's poor
    treatment of us certainly influenced my vote. We went Adobe and never looked
    back. They don't treat us like criminals.
     
  10. "How do I know this stuff? A friend is a computer security expert "

    Which trojans and viruses afflict the software sent to Mac users?
     
  11. Adobe is not so casual. By requiring activation, they stop the most common form of piracy--I buy a CS suite DVD and 'lend' it to you and fifty more people. Can't do that anymore. They do NOT stop people from downloading cracks from the Internet, but such downloading is not necessarily easy and certainly not safe. They tried to stop this in CS1, but the method they used--preventing updates to copies with 'blacklisted' serials/activation codes--backfired big time. (They caught a LOT of legal users in their net.) I believe they are VERY serious about prosecuting those who SELL illegal copies on the 'Net or at computer shows, etc.
     
  12. @Chris ... "How do I know this stuff? A friend is a computer security expert and we had a conversation about it not too long ago."

    Your friend should look for another job as he is so far out to lunch it's not even funny. Anybody who really wants a free copy knows where to go on the internet to get a copy virus, trojan and pop-up free.

    The only people who would be subject to what he is stating are kiddies and thieves who don't know any better.
     
  13. @ Chris N: Your pc security friend isn't playing the 'I'm an expert, don't question me' card. I'm also a PC Tech (although currently employed as a cable installer), and I've done my fair share of pirating. To date, I've had 2 viruses. 1 I got on purpose, b/c I wanted to see what it did. And I've only very rarely ever run AV software.
     
  14. "Your friend should look for another job as he is so far out to lunch it's not even funny. "

    No kidding. If torrent sites were that bad, no one would use them. Most, if not all, have user feed back forums to prevent others from harm.

    "Which trojans and viruses afflict the software sent to Mac users?"

    latestpics.tgz?
     
  15. "They treated legitimate customers like we were just waiting to break the rules and pirate their software. Heaven forbid if a hard drive died and you had to reinstall &program"

    Isn't that more or less what Microsoft is doing with Vista? Thank &dei for Linux, I only wish Adobe would create *nix versions so we didn't have to run Windows emulators.
     
  16. Who told you they are casual about pirating? The simple reality is that any copy protection scheme can be hacked. Any copy protection scheme.

    Adobe could try to make it even harder to pirate their software, but you very quickly get into territory where you're annoying your customers but not actually stopping the pirates.

    Adobe more than likely depends on business sales. Businesses can be audited and sued. It's not worth the time or effort to try and go after individuals.

    It's not too terrible a position for Adobe. The only real reason Adobe and Microsoft dominate their respective application markets is because the pool of people who know those products is so large. That wouldn't be true if it wasn't for home piracy. If they cracked down hard on home users, within about five years you would see employees pushing to use cheaper, competing products because that's what they would have used, and learned, in school or at home.

    There's a reason why Microsoft made free versions of the .NET programming languages and MS SQL Server. There's also a reason Adobe makes sure that every single digital imaging device sold in the world, just about, ships with a light version of Photoshop.
     
  17. No matter how much a software can be protected, the chacker/cracker will always be one step ahead.

    I would not be suprised if the worker bor adobe that is making the protection software is the same pearson that is giving the cracks to people online just so he would have more work to "make it more secure"
     
  18. I was always under the impression that they didn't make much money off the software: just off of all of those books they print on how to use the software. That's just a guess though.

    Also, they probably realise that in the case of third world countries using blackmarket software: it's more important to be THE recognized software in the industry and make up for it later than loose out to some other cheaper software company.

    In China, for example, everybody knows Adobe, everybody uses pirated software because they can't afford otherwise. But the people who are filthy rich do buy the real thing because they can and it usually installs, runs better.
     
  19. I had my first exposure to Photoshop when someone gave me a copy of 3.05. At the time, I had Corel's PhotoPaint (came with my scanner) and I found PS to be cumbersome and non-intuitive. Little by little, and with difficulty, I migrated my work to PS and eventually bought 4.0. I've been using legit versions ever since. Adobe eventually saw the wisdom of fully functional trials as opposed to the copy/save disabled demos they used to provide.

    I also would hazard a guess that most of the unlicensed versions don't see much use because the pirates are too lazy to learn the software.
     
  20. I'd have to agree with the statement that "pirated versions don't see much use because people don't bother to learn the software." People I've met with the cracked versions tend to be those more interested in computers than with art/photography/design. They'll dabble and throw together some funny composites as jokes, but that's about it. Pro users buy the real thing due to fear of audits and many students acquire legit versions through the generous discount programs. I'm sure those sales, at hundreds of dollars a piece, are enough to keep Adobe happily afloat.
     
  21. >>>"Which trojans and viruses afflict the software sent to Mac users?"

    >> "latestpics.tgz?"

    From 2006? Not a problem.

    http://reviews.cnet.com/4520-6600_7-6442016-1.html

    http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=108009
     
  22. Then there are folks with PC's that almost all the cool software they use is pirated;
    a friend is always running keygens and installing bootleg stuff. The pickle is that
    he is always having to reinstall windows because of the added rootkits and crap
    that some keygens adds that cannot be detected with the salvo of anti spy/virius
    scan stuff. The "free" stuff is not so free if your computer beomes a cesspool of
    crap running in the background; or if you are constantly wasting time futzing/farting
    around. I am not sure if the Mac is always so perfectly clean either; we had a
    retoucher install a bootleg copy of illustrator on our imac 20" unit and the burner
    software got hosed; its also somehow goofed up our legal version of photoshop
    cs2; we had to install it again. Being a student with no bucks they just use a
    torrent and bootleg all their software and assume we as a business have no risks
    with bootleg stuff. .<BR><BR>In a weird way the bootleg crap that gets installed
    on a PC that hoses the PC helps Mac sales; the PC gets blamed; not the
    rootkits.The Mac controls the path thru the cow field; less manure gets stepped
    on. Here I have many PC's; the ones with clean installs and clean software have
    none of the issues that Mac folks say happen to PC's.<BR><BR>Employees
    installing bootleg software is a legal
    issue too; they can tell on you if they are let go; the install can hose other things;
    they may blow away your older legal version(s). On a PC the install can add crud
    that installs a rootkit that requires going down to the bare metal to clean the crap
    off your pc. The Mac is abit more goober proof if you have employee who try to
    install crap.
     
  23. I personally think that Adobe's strategy is a smart one. I think they understand that fighting common piracy is a losing battle, and that no matter how difficult they make it to pirate a piece of software, someone out there will break their scheme within a few hours of release. In addition, how many people that pirate their software actually would have been buyers anyways? Not a whole lot of people can justify buying $1800 worth of software just so they can mess around with it. The people that have a legitimate need for the software will probably still buy it -- either because they can, or they must due to legality concerns within a business. To see how dismal the other strategy is, just look at the RIAA. They're going absolutely nuts, prosecuting tons of innocent users, and spending their entire budgets of legal fees. They're struggling to hold on to an outdated business model, all the while music piracy hasn't dropped a bit.

    On the other hand, Adobe's apparent policy has a lot of benefits. Kids that couldn't afford PS will still download it, use it, and become masters of it. That creates a dedicated user, and someday a small percentage of those users may lead to a company somewhere purchasing an enterprise edition of CS. Since none of those kids would ever have paid the full price for the legitimate software, this could be seen as free advertising of the best sort. Taking this a little further, I'd venture to guess that a lot of the people that put out photoshop plugins developed them using pirated copies (most businesses don't allocate manpower towards putting out free products), so these 'free users' are donating back to the community.

    These are also the same users who are more likely to put up free tutorials online (quality is another issue...) that serves as a good hook to anyone just getting started in or even looking at PS. Just think back to the first time you saw some really cool or useful effect done with PS. Again, this is free advertising.

    Just to pose a question, how often do you see advertisements for photoshop or any of the CS programs in mainstream media? In graphic design literature? Maybe some in the latter, but I've never seen a commercial or pop-up ad for any of them. I'd venture to guess that if the only possible way people use photoshop was to buy it, then Adobe would have to spend a considerably larger sum on advertising. Just an idea. I'm not necessarily saying that pirating is justified, but I do think that incorporating this into a business model, rather than trying to eliminate it completely, is a good thing.

    - AP
     
  24. My suspicion is that there's a insufficiently large overlap between the people
    who are prepared to go to lengths to secure a safe, cracked installation and
    those who are prepared to pay for a legit copy for Adobe to worry about.

    Most professional digital artists who would pay for Photoshop can't be bothered
    with a cracked download, and of the computer/net cognoscenti who are prepared to
    go to the (non-trivial) lengths to get an illegal copy very few would otherwise
    chose to buy it.

    You can be fairly sure that Adobe have done a cost-benefit analysis of different
    protection methods, and probably decided that they're somewhere around the
    optimum level for their customer base.
     
  25. "I guess as long as enough people like me can be persuaded to pay $1800"

    Ralph, if your sole income is from working as a professional photographer, then buying CS3 is your safest choice. For the rest who dabble in photography, an illegal version of CS3 (be it the basic or the premium editions) are available from a reliable source for less than $50 virus free.
     
  26. If you go with illegal, you best stay that way for future editions. They've clamped down. Starting with CS or CS2 you're allowed 2 applications. After that the S/N is no longer accepted, unless you remove one of the applications If you have illegal & try to go with a legit upgrade version, you'll get bounced
     
  27. To go along with Tolik,

    The sad thing is no matter how many people companies hire to 'copy proof' their programs, there will be x as many computer buffs that get a thrill out of cracking it. With something as unregulated as the internet, if you want something free, you can get it. With the torrent community as large as it is, cracked programs completely virus/spam/ad free are extremely easy to obtain.

    With the original question, if Adobe weren't making any money of PS, they wouldn't be making it. In relation to cracking, I guess outside the US Adobe wouldn't have a leg to stand on against crackers? It's perhaps still a question of them not having any legal power to shut down servers providing cracked copies?
     
  28. With a torrent bits and pieces are spread across many users; one can have 1 percent and be sharing that morsel.
     
  29. T Feltus: "CS3 is hard to use without a license. each release gets harder."

    Umm... what makes you think so?

    Kelly Flanigan: "Then there are folks with PC's that almost all the cool software they use is pirated; a friend is always running keygens and installing bootleg stuff. The pickle is that he is always having to reinstall windows because of the added rootkits and crap that some keygens adds that cannot be detected with the salvo of anti spy/virius scan stuff. The "free" stuff is not so free if your computer beomes a cesspool of crap running in the background; or if you are constantly wasting time futzing/farting around."

    This is the price you pay for not being competent enough with computers. Pirated software can be very safe if you don't download randomly.

    You can download 100% working CS3 with no viruses in *few minutes*. What should Adobe do?

    "It's perhaps still a question of them not having any legal power to shut down servers providing cracked copies?"

    FTP-servers are private and fast.

    Torrent trackers only provide metadata, actual files come in small pieces from all around the world. How do you shut down that?

    DC++ hubs are "mobile", shutting down one (or hundred) makes no difference.

    Limewire etc. are for children and teens who can only click one big button and hope for the best, so no big catches there.
     
  30. "if you google CS3 Warez Key Gen Crack you will come up with thousands of sites that are options. Some of them are a $4.95 subscription for a download, some are free, some give you the entire program and some give you just the keygen that will create a registration # based on "

    If you want to keep your computer clean stay away from these places. There's no reason whatsoever to use these ****holes for software cracks.

    Never pay anyone for pirated stuff, not even $5, it's seriously stupid.
     
  31. Again, I think the thing is that Adobe has been one of the smart companies and is actually adapting to the reality of the internet instead of trying to fight a battle that can't be won. I think they're doing quite well with their strategy.

    To be honest I don't think it makes sense to look at piracy as a moral issue anymore, but rather as an economic issue. Try turning the question around: why would any high-school kid try to save up $1800 for a piece of software that they can get for free? In that case, if they never really would have paid for it, then did Adobe really lose anything by them downloading it? Maybe, but probably not. I argue that they gained from it -- some percent of these kids will become dedicated users and buy several generations of their software. It's better than losing these potential customers early. It's great, free advertising. It keeps their product's status as a necessity. While it may be and likely is true that over 50% of the copies of CS out there are pirated, that doesn't mean that Adobe is losing 50% of their revenue.

    A few notes -- I keep using kids as the example because I think they're the demographic that downloads the most, by at least an order of magnitude. Also, I don't think it can be treated as a moral issue. For many people it is, and they equate it with brick-and-mortar theft. For a lot of people it isn't at all the same--they see it as stealing from a greedy corporate America.

    For those of you saying things to the extent of "They better enjoy it while they can, because you won't be able to pirate the next version," I have one thing to say: wake up. Look at the trend. It will be impossible to stop piracy without severely limiting many other rights that we take for granted. The technology doesn't work that way. Every major tech company has thought they solved the problem, and every one of them has failed. Registration keys. Copy-protected discs. DRM.
     
  32. "Never pay anyone for pirated stuff, not even $5, it's seriously stupid."

    No, get it for free. And be smart enough to avoid the viruses.
     
  33. Austin: "It's great, free advertising. It keeps their product's status as a necessity. While it may be and likely is true that over 50% of the copies of CS out there are pirated, that doesn't mean that Adobe is losing 50% of their revenue."

    I agree. Many kids download Photoshop because it's the Best, they barely know how levels work, have found the blur filter and oversharpen everything. So what? Is Adobe losing something here? How much and how? Some of these kids get interested and perhaps buy a student version later on and then full licence. Photoshop remains as The product and its GUI familiar.

    At least in Finland Photoshop is very well known among the teens. It's sometimes very hard to convince them that they could do well with Photoshop Elements, Paint Shop Pro or *gasp* free GIMP. Interestingly, in popularity after (full) Photoshop come way smaller and free apps like Picasa, Photofiltre (French, I think) and Paint.NET. (This is not official statistic but first hand information from numerous conversations.)

    "Every major tech company has thought they solved the problem, and every one of them has failed. Registration keys. Copy-protected discs. DRM."

    HD-DVD/Blu-ray were delayed because some people had a great idea about honing the copy protection to perfection. It lasted, what, like two weeks. Great job, thanks a lot.

    Area codes for DVDs? Right, I'd never buy a player that couldn't bypass that... innovation.

    Newest digital connection scheme to reduce resolution or display garbage when your hardware isn't compatible with the coding. Nice. I'll just buy a new tv / video card / projector then.
    *Sometimes it's easier to download a movie or album from the net than get the original working where you want*. Needless to say this isn't exactly good for the sales.

    (Thankfully CD copy protections died already. What was funny about most of them they were coded for Windows. Linux and OS X just asked, literally, if I wanted to remove this crap that doesn't belong to CD-audio disc or just showed it as separate file. Do you want to run copy protection rootkit? Yes/no? :D)
     
  34. Feeling a bit talkative on the subject today...

    Actually Adobe is effectively not using copy protection at all. That serial you have to enter is for registering legit users. It has very little to do with stopping piracy.

    Good old dongle is a more serious effort, but those can be cracked. It's a bit easier to realize that software patch can be allocated as a usb-stick / hard drive / dvd / dongle if you've used other than Windows computers. Same as with the cd-protection, I can't see serious hackers flapping their furry paws in front of supermarket Vista machines all the day.
     
  35. Well Adobe and others understand the game... The vast majority of those using a pirated copy of CS3 would not actually pay for a registered copy at any price (or $5 at the most)... So, the fact that they are running a pirate copy does not affect Adobe's cash flow... The pro users who are running a business with CS3 do not have time for playing pirate games...

    In my business all the software I run is purchased and registered... IF there is a problem with the software that company is going to hear about it loud and clear as that affects my cash flow... My pocketbook has no time for pirated software, crashing computers, and lack of tech support... And yes, I recognize that I am paying through the nose for that support - $2400 a year on one package alone - but this is business, time is money, and a customer walking away because my system is crashed is lost money I will never recover... It only takes a few customers walking away to make the $2400 look like chump change...

    denny
     
  36. Dennis, amen. Not to mention - if you run a company, you darn well want legitimate software, because if employees know it is pirated and they change from gruntled to disgruntled for whatever reason, that software piracy hotline is only a few click away...and you can be in for tens of thousands of dollars worth of fines. Besides, it IS Adobe's creation and they are free to set the price - and you are free to pay it or not. If you don't think it's worth the money, don't buy it. But if you steal it, then think about how you'd feel if somebody stole your own work. I'm always amazed by creative professionals who think nothing of stealing intellectual property, but if one of their photos or illustrations were to show up somewhere unauthorized they'd freak out and start talking lawsuits.
     

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