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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305 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.

Rick O'Banion's picture

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.

Kim Long Vo's picture

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

Kev's picture

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.

Kim Long Vo's picture

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.

Adam Silversmith's picture

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

Kim Long Vo's picture

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

TonkaTuck's picture

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.

Rob LaRosa's picture

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!

jknotzke's picture

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.

Jackie Burhans's picture

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.

Zach's picture

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.

Attila Volgyi's picture

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.

MomsVCR's picture

"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.

209670938609387's picture

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.

Hellscreamgold's picture

"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.

Anders Petersen's picture

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.

RE Casper's picture

Spot on and great comparison.

uksnapper's picture

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.

MomsVCR's picture

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.

Davor Pavlic's picture

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.

Wil Cleland's picture

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.

uniquename72's picture

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?

Wil Cleland's picture

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.

jknotzke's picture

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/

Alex25's picture

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.

Attila Volgyi's picture

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...

Scott B's picture

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.

Jon's picture

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.

Robertt1's picture

He doesn't "justify" stealing. He just doubt the claimed amount of "lost money" due to piracy. Software is not a physical product. YOUR logic is flawed. Adobe don't produce each copy of Photoshop like a car. There is no production cost for the copy you steal. If you steal one, it's theft, of course, but if you couldn't get it for free, you wouldn't buy it, so they wouldn't get your money in any case.

Lots of people who don't do in Photoshop more than a few simple operations they could do with a free image editor, download Photoshop only because they hear that it is "the software" for images. And because they can it get for free.

BTW I own a legit Adobe Production Premium Suite.

Olaf2's picture

Talk about stealing. Do you have proof that the image you use as avatar is your own creation or that you did pay for it?

Eoin Healy's picture

Have to agree with you 100%.. Very misleading indeed.

To me, you PAY for a pirated copy of something... you get a cracked copy for FREE. As for loosing sales.. I don't think anyone wants the type of customer who is not willing to pay in the first place, do they?.. so no loss in sales.

Sharon Sharalike's picture

I think you overestimate Adobe's business. They had well under $1B in net profit last year, a year they called their best ever.

uniquename72's picture

This is correct. Adobe's 2012 net income was $844-million. The multi-billion in losses is absurd - Hollywood accounting at its best.

Ric's picture

make it chepper to buy!!! as it is cheap, no one goes to the trouble of the pirate the programe!!!

Ric's picture

if the program was chepper, no one goes to the trouble of the pirate the program... and adobe still soccore big money!!!

Jon's picture

I would argue that's not as simple as it sounds. Look at the lengths people go to to pirate iOS apps that cost few dollars. Yes as the price came down some pirates would convert to purchasers, but the bulk of hobbyists and home users are probably going to keep on pirating until the price drops below $40, and that's never going to happen.

David Gripon's picture

Your point is very valid and I agree that almost every single person that is using a cracked version of Photoshop, would likely never had bought it in the first place, which cannot be counted among losses. I am willing to bet that many of the people using the cracked version would pay a much lower price to switch to a licensed or legal copy, but that would be unfair to those who had paid full price and used it legally.

Jaron Schneider's picture

I have to say, there hasn't been so polarizing an issue in our industry as the Creative Cloud before. It has superseded even Nikon/Canon debates. It's a firestorm.

After meeting these people (in the video that went up today) you can see how much passion they have for what they do. People stealing it just makes me feel really bad for them, because behind that software are real people who love what they do.

Bazza's picture

Not to take away from your point, but people who pirate love what they do as well.

Emton's picture

I think you did the very thing you didn't want to do.

Antonio Carrasco's picture

Sad adobe is sad

Bert McLendon's picture

Outside of the photography industry the Xbox One was getting the biggest shitstorm I've ever seen because of their forcing people to be connected to the internet and their DRM limitations. After E3 and the announcement of the PS4 Microsoft has back tracked on almost all of the complaints by their customers. An update here http://news.xbox.com/2013/06/update CRAZY! Good move by Microsoft I just wish that more companies and our government would listen and make common sense decisions as quickly as this.

I'm not saying that pirating is right, it's not, it's illegal but lets be honest here, Adobe isn't hurting for cash. The people making their software get paid extremely well and they sit in Adobe's SKYSCRAPER in San Jose Cali. People will continue to pirate the software but for the initial loss of revenue there are many more people that will purchase the software and continue funding Adobes multi-billion dollar a year earnings.

If you make software on a PC you can hack it on that same PC, there really isn't a way around it (that's been proven). Most software companies, including game companies, know this but it doesn't keep them from making the product for their customers. It's going to happen but you just have to know that there are more good people than bad in this world. =)

Rob LaRosa's picture

So if you're wealthy is it OK if I steal from you? I mean, it's not like you're hurting for cash, right? How do you sound?

Bert McLendon's picture

Not at all, I see how it came out that way though. It's kind of like the people who complain about having to pay taxes if they win the lottery. If you win the powerball you're forced to pay taxes (theft) but you're still rich so that's a problem that any intelligent person would WANT to have. Same with the software industry, you get in it knowing that you are going to lose revenue within the avenue of piracy BUT that doesn't keep you from.... wanting to win the lottery? =) Does that make more sense?

Friday Wedding Photography's picture

Perfect analogy!

anonymous anonymous's picture

Microsoft wouldn't need to apologies in a way that acts as if it was not their fult to begin with. Maybe if they didn't hire people who have no clue how the real world works they wouldn't become idiots and announce all the Bullshit to begin with. As for Adobe there's nothing like calling more attention to yourself then telling people what they can't do...

Syed Hateem's picture

I was thinking the same thing, its these irrational decisions(like they actually don't care for their customers, what xbox one did still makes me wanna.......) which force people towards piracy or towards PS4 in ur example

Michael Comeau's picture

I too saw their passion and felt terrible, but then I remembered that I value my money more than their passion.

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