Adobe Photoshop CC Has Already Been Pirated In Just One Day

Adobe Photoshop CC Has Already Been Pirated In Just One Day

With all the recent discussion about Adobe's Creative Cloud model and the polarizing opinions surrounding it, one of the topics people have been mentioning is how it will stop the pirating of Photoshop and other Adobe products in the suite. Some felt that many people were just upset with the model because it could no longer be pirated by those who did not pay. 

Now that Photoshop Creative Cloud went live just the other day, we didn't know what to expect. However, news is out that just a day after the release, Photoshop CC has already been pirated and available. Although we do not condone piracy, we're shocked to see that it was that easy to circumvent the new model. The reason is how CC works, “An Internet connection is required the first time you install and license your desktop apps, but you can use the apps in offline mode with a valid software license. The desktop apps will attempt to validate your software licenses every 30 days.”

With the constant need for validation and continual updates through the cloud, many felt it would be difficult to pirate something that requires constant contact for it to stay updated. However, it took no less than a day for pirates to get around it.

We're not engineers by any means, however you would think that any means of pirating the software would have been cross checked so it would not be possible this time around. Considering Photoshop is one of the most pirated software in the world, is it by design that makes it so hard to stop? We'd like to hear your thoughts.

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301 Comments

Zach Sutton's picture

I'll start by saying that I was not in favor of the Creative Cloud (though now that I have adapted to it, I admit that it is pretty awesome).

But this wasn't a big surprise for me. Its damn near impossible to make a product that isn't piratable these days. And frankly, despite Adobe's recent decision to go to the cloud (which was unfavored by many), it is truly a shame that so many people work so hard to put out a product for us, only for them to lose billions annually in pirating. They work hard to be among the forefront of technology and software, and millions of people don't reward them.

Billions? Really? Look I own a legit copy of CS6 and I don't for one minute believe it cost them as much as they spend trying to prevent it..which may be why CS6 and CC were so easy to crack. There is a difference between pirated and cracked and this article is very misleading. Pirating involves selling the item, cracks are software bypasses or license avoidance.

My point is VERY few of those with cracked versions would have ponied up the cash to buy it...counting up the number of cracked versions as lost sales is quite disingenuous.

Agreed. Many people who download a cracked version wouldn't have paid for a legit version anyways.

Photoshop is a bit different in this case, in my honest opinion. People who get the pirated version fall in to two (very basic) catagories. 1) Those who spend 2 minutes trying and failng to work it out, and 2) Those who spend years mucking about with it and becoming proficient in its use.

The people who fall in the 2nd catagary have a better than decent chance in using that product in industry, given the time and the opportunity. They're the ones who make up the next generation of paying photoshop customers.

That said, theft can't just be allowed either. But photoshop is slightly unique here; there's a balance somewhere which is (in the long term - not a shareholders favorite phrase) for the better of the company.

This reminds me of a Swedish research that found that on average, people who pirated movies/music spent more money on entertainment than someone who did not pirate the same content.

I disagree, If its affordable most people will buy it, there will always be people that won't but maybe 50% of the people pirating it now would start to pay if it was affordable

You're right. My post was kind of vague, so I should have added *at the current price. =P

The problem is that what Adobe considers "affordable" is not the same as what others consider "affordable". Affordable is a subjective term, and the market has been showing Adobe for over a decade that they're opinion does not fit that of the public, but Adobe hasn't bothered to listen. The more control they try to exert, the more their software will be pirated. I can hardly wait to see Adobe suing their own customers RIAA style, and then acting shocked when it makes their problem worse.

The "they wouldn't have paid for it anyway" argument is flawed. You can justify any kind of stealing with it. For an extreme example, I'd never by a Jaguar. Can't afford it and even if I could, I'd probably still never buy one. If I steal one, Jaguar (or Ford!) loses money. It's really no different with software, but people think it is because it's not tangible like a physical item. The bottom line is, if someone is selling something and you take it without paying for it - you're a thief and you're costing someone money.

PS - I hate CC!

The comparison between a stolen jaguar and a pirated copy of PS is flawed. PS isn't a physical object. It's a series of bits. Adobe doesn't actually lose the physical good that is PS when it's pirated. A copy of it is simply created.

Imagine if it was possible to physically clone the jaguar. Jaguar wouldn't be without that jaguar. One was never taken from them. It was simply copied. That, is a better analogy.

Which isn't to say this activity isn't illegal. But it isn't theft. It's piracy and there's a rather large difference.

So if I download a photographer's image and use it for my own commercial purposes, even removing the watermark, well its just bits right? Simply copied? The photographer still has those bits. I wouldn't have bought that photo anyway. So I'm a photo pirate if I do that, yeah? Still'd be one pissed of photographer. And if I give my copy to lots of people...make it available for them to download? How many of them who might have purchased it if they couldn't get it from me or my ilk will decide to just get it for free. Or heck I'll charge half. All bad.

Yeah, but take that and make the "photo" you're using for the analogy and make it cost... oh I don't know... $600 a pop. Why do you think Adobe's software is so expensive? If they made Photoshop $100 instead of 6-700 for each program (for full price, non-student editions) I think most people would buy it. Hell, I can at least say that I would. But as it is, if I want to use a decent photo-editing software that doesn't cost and arm and a leg, I have to pirate it because I don't want to pay that much for something that doesn't get used every single day. I understand the non-physical limitation makes it easier for folks to steal it because it doesn't feel like you're stealing something... but Adobe doesn't have to charge that much. CC has been put out there for those folks who want to use PS but don't need it for extended periods of time. An "on-again, off-again" service model.

It is the very same argument many photo buyers tend to say. If your photo "wouldn't cost an arm and a leg" I would pay for it.

"CC has been put out there for those folks who want to use PS but don't need it for extended periods of time. An "on-again, off-again" service model."

That is the exact opposite of what CC is. It's "on-at-first, locked-in-to-a-year-agreement-penalized-if-you-cancel, no-software-when-are-off-again, monthly-charge-to-access-your-file-that-may-not-open-in-a-previous-verison" It really is the exact opposite of what a casual user might want. A casual user would want to own the software. They sit down and use it one... that's a $999 useage fee. Let's say they sit down and use it again. That a $598.50 fee per usage ... Let's say they come back and use it again ... now your are talking $333 per use... you see where I am going here? The value of the software is determined by how often you use it. The benefit is you have equity in the software you bought, like any business or person would strive to do. Never a Rent-A-Center model. Lets say after a year or two of on-again, off-again you decide to get out of the media business. That $999 piece of software could still sell for $400 - $500. That is something that has been taken away from many people's equations when they argue FOR the creative cloud. Go to Ebay... look at the value of Photoshop CS5 Extended which was released in 2010. It still sells for $250. So that equity IS valuable. Just like owning a house.

Thats also why Adobe is committing to sell CS6 for it's current price with no projected end date. Granted, no newer features are being developed for it, but honestly the way I use Photoshop hasn't dramatically changed for me since... well... Photoshop 7.

Granted, that makes me sound like I need to use Photoshop Elements, but I hit walls in that program that Paint.NET does better at.

"most" people wouldn't buy it. Look at movies. Costs 8-10 to go see in a theater. Look how many people pirate those. People pirate because they can, and it's easy, and it saves them money. That's it.

Congratulations, you now have one more photo. As long as you don't a) claim it is your own (lying) b) try to resell it (piracy) or c) get any other direct or indirect commercial benefit from your act of increasing social entropy, you have done literally no harm whatsoever.

Not everyone that pirates PS sell their final products, or even publish them at all.

Spot on and great comparison.

They lose a sale with each illegal copy. that really is a direct comparison with a car.
If all the people using cracked and pirated software actually paid for it
those of us using legal copies,and I started with 3.5,now on CS6, may actually get the software cheaper.

You could very much argue that Adobe itself does not lose a sale. That person pirating the software may have only been able to purchase something like Corel's suite. In that scenario, Corel is losing a sale because someone could pirate Photoshop. This in turn reduces Corel's market share and profit margin ... they also do not have a build in user/knowledge base, and it does not position them to be able to compete with Adobe, draw in developers, etc. There are many sides to a situation. This one is how businesses REALLY DO think... says a man who works in business.

Making a copy and making it available for everyone else means inevitably stealing it, even if maybe indirectly. Because if you didn't make that copy and made it available, Adobe could have sold it. What you are comparing here is taking over the whole rights to PS and nobody is mentioning that. So, yeah, maybe you're not stealing THE Photoshop, but you are stealing clients by giving a product without support and updates for free.

JKnotzke, you are kidding right? Do you have any thoughts at all on how much money and time go into R&D for a product? It is extremely tangible. It can be put on media and held in your hand as well as make a fair chunk of money from using it on your physical computers.

Imagine if we COULD clone a Jaguar. Ford would simply R&D a Jag, pump it out the door to the cloning machines and people could replicate their own. This would still cost money to clone as well as Ford would simply charge 200+% of the R&D costs so that they still made money, therefore making the Jag unattainable for most. Is it fair for 1 person to take on that cost and would Ford even bother? Would the individual who bought it share? Who would allow someone to clone it free if they paid 100000X regular price for it?

Your logic is flawed. Piracy is theft plain and simple and the only reason you are trying to justify that through your flawed logic is because you are one of the leeches...If you like it buy it.

Actually, it's your logic that's flawed (which is why you couch your argument in an unrealistic fantasy of cars being copied. WTF?)

Here's a real world scenario: I own Adobe Creative Suite for Mac. But since I also wanted it to run on my Windows box, I pirated that version. How much did Adobe lose? Nothing. They gained $600, which was how much it was worth to me to use Creative Suite on both computers.

Adobe themselves have said that they don't lose much from piracy, and that those people who pirate in high school and college wind up being the big purchasers once they're in professional positions and require the software.

Why don't you believe them? What's in it for you to argue against them? Anything?

Adobe's comments are due to their bragging of being so good at anti-piracy measures not the fact it doesn't have a direct affect on the prices we pay or in justification of piracy. WTF? Lol

My comment was in reply to someone's example and justification of cloning cars and how that is a justification for piracy. So I ran with their example. Indeed, the same person you seem to be supporting with your comments to me.

Word to the wise (and not so wise too UNIQUENAME72): Before you speak about something you should find out the true facts of what is being said and by whom.

Real world scenario for you...thieves steal and costs go up for the honest which breeds more thieves because we cannot afford to pay astronomically high values for everything. Where does it end? As for your method of justification...I can actually swallow that as you at least bought the product and helped support it and it's successors creation. Either way...read and understanding may come easier.

I get the feeling you didn't actually read my post correctly but instead jumped to conclusions.

I clearly stated that piracy is illegal.

My simple point was that piracy is not theft. It's piracy. But that doesn't mean piracy is correct or legal. Not at all. It merely means that theft and piracy are not the same thing.

The differences between the two is that if I steal your camera, you are without a camera. If I pirate your image, you still have your image. It doesn't mean pirating your image is correct and legal, not at all, but it's not theft in the strictest sense of the term.

I suggest reading the following: http://www.freakonomics.com/2012/04/02/copying-is-not-theft/

Murder and rape are not the same thing, even if both are wrong. Stealing and making a copy is not the same thing, even if both are wrong.

Stephen Melling's picture

The guys working at Adobe are on a wage. They don't lose money by piracy. And Adobe as a company seem to be doing OK.

You get paid by your company and your company seems to be "doing ok" so your company should really stop charging for whatever it sells to make an income...

Like many things, it boils down to ROI (return on investment)--is the result worth the effort--a key factor of which is perceived risk: as the chances of negative consequences approaches 0%, justification becomes a non-issue.

Now, of course, there is the principle of the matter, but THAT just becomes a question of perceived benefit: karma, moral highground, pleased supreme being, etc.

Legalities are fixed though a locality issue.

While interesting arguments, "wouldn't have paid for it anyway" and "physical vs. digital" are ultimately red herrings.

You're missing his point. Counting losses in the billions due to piracy is false because most pirates were never going to buy the item. Yes. some pirates if unable to pirate would pay for the item, but most will just find something else (in this case GIMP or Pixelmator or ?) Comparing this to cars is silly, since making a copy of a car has actual capital expenditures involved. The point wasn't that pirates aren't thieves, they are, it's that counting 100% of pirates as costing software/movie/music companies revenue is wrong.

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