Photoshop Won't Let You Work with Images of Currency?

Adobe's Photoshop has a built in counterfeit deterrence system designed to prevent users from accessing images of currency. When the Photoshop detects an attempt to access a currency image, it displays a warning message and directs the user to a website with information on international counterfeiting laws.
Am I the only one bothered by this?
Many banknote designs around the world, contain a pattern of symbols known as EURion Constellation, which helps software easily detect when a currency image is being used. Adobe's Photoshop and many printers and scanners have taken it upon themselves to block operations when this pattern is recognized. When I read of this I was skeptical, so of course the first thing I did was fire up the scanner, booted up Photoshop and gave it a try. Sure enough upon hitting the "scan" button this is what popped up on my desktop:

Now, intellectually I understand what they are trying to do here but on an emotional level, this kind of pissed me off. I felt accused somehow and at the same time I resented the constrains being forced upon me as if Adobe feels that we aren't capable of governing our own decisions. I'm offended by this. Especially when the system can be thwarted so easily by: cutting and pasting a banknote image from another graphics utility into Photoshop or saving a banknote image in an earlier version of Photoshop and then opening it in Photoshop CS (if you know a way to permanently circumvent this in PS, I'd like to hear it).
We are professionals for crying out loud and some times editing currency is required, be it for graphics or props or art. I know I'm taking this a little too personally but the bottom line is:
I don't like constraints forced upon me. Do you?
via [PetaPixel], [Reddit]
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Bill Sparks's picture

I hear you, Kenn. This is a silly feature and is more about politics and optics than about actually preventing any sort of crime. Ultimately it punishes the professionals who have a legitimate, legal use for this feature. 

Kishore's picture

the guy who came up with this idea must be minting his own money charging both the govt and software firms and maybe fining the ones who don't 

Sam Dickinson's picture

I believe this has been around since Photoshop 4 or 5 (not CS).  It's only a certain part of the note it looks for (I had an image years ago with only that small portion and PS wouldn't let you edit & save the file).  As for a way around it? Monopoly money? :-P

Rick Gordon's picture

not exactly news, this has been in PS for years. Copiers have similar technology.

Darren Clark's picture

are you sure that Adobe made this decision? Or was this something forced upon them by another authority? Regulations and legislation may be playing a role here and Adobe may not have a choice. Not defending them, but I work in the financial services industry and there are a lot of regs around fraud and other illegal practices that companies are required to follow; perhaps it the same in this case. Would be interesting to ask.

Christian Abel's picture

Ever heard of free software? 

Laura Metzger's picture

I appreciate that they are doing their part to thwart would-be counterfeiters. I have no intention to ever creating a copy of a bill but I know not everyone shares my integrity.

Patrick Hall's picture

Ha it's pretty funny this post is going viral the way it is...just two week ago we tweeted about this exact issue after discovering it during the creation of this post:  Sounds like people do read our tweets after all :)

Chad North's picture

I did a $100 bill and put my face on it for artistic purpose and I use CS5...I never got this message. And I got this $100 note in high quality from the wiki website. I never had a problem.

Radványi Mihály's picture

Notes with EURion constellation: $5 (Series 2006), $10 (Series 2004A), $20 (Series 2004), $50(Series 2004 A), $100 (Series 2009)
And yours from 2003..:)

No problems here either.. 

I'm ok with this...
Not like its for kicks they just want to prevent a bad thing from happening. Don't know why you would feel accused, You have to stop at a red light when driving, doesn't mean because they accuse you of speeding. 

Kenn Tam's picture

Ya totally.  I get it but it still irks me.  I could stab someone in the face with my steak knives but I wouldn't want the fine makers of Henckels to sell me blunted blades just because sharp knives can be used for bad things.  Wait... is stabbing someone in the face with a steak knife a "bad thing"?
Mwahahaha, sorry I like to make analogizes too. :)

Brian Dragtstra's picture

I once heard it has nothing to do with Adobe, but with laws.
Just to prevent from getting a real big lawsuit they have this stuppid limmitation

Chain mon's picture

hmmm I wonder if taking an image of a dollar bill and then opeming it up would work. Now you have my curiousity going. Only if I had a dollor bill ;-)

Adam Ottke's picture

No, it totally is ridiculous. We don't need people telling us what we can and can't do with photoshop... We should be able to use our common sense. No, not everyone has common sense, but that's another issue -- we shouldn't have to pay for that...that's why we live in the U.S. with a decent policing body. It's not anyone's place to have such preventative measures in. And yes, they essentially are 'pre-' accusing you (all of us).

Randy Richards's picture

I clearly understand their intentions in having this restriction but needless to say, it is a bit of a drag. Like @KennTam:disqus said " I could stab someone in the face with my steak knives but I wouldn't want the fine makers of Henckels to sell me blunted blades just because sharp knives can be used for bad things. "   lol
I really don't believe we should be restricted from using our software just because of it's potential for harm. If we were to apply this to every other aspect of life everything would pretty much need restrictions.

Roeland Van de Velde's picture

I completely agree:  I understand what they try to do, but when I noticed this a few months ago it just bugged me to death.  This restriction meant I couldn't do an art project I had in my mind...  I understand it, but don't agree with it.  A bridge too far for me...

Erik Lödén's picture

When i tried this a couple of months ago with the swedish currency i were able to do scanning and open the images in Photoshop.
Photoshop gave me the message that i were able to edit whatever i wanted but printing weren't allowed.
I bypassed that by saving the images and printed them with Word tho.

Jacques R's picture

The central banks are counterfeiting money and they don't like competition.

Scorpineo's picture

Best comment ever!!!!!!!!!

END THE FED!!!!!!!!!!!

I recall that NAPP shared that sending the image to Imageready was a work around in previous versions of PS. That's been reconstituted so I don't know what work around exists now for the newest versions. 

Mr. Nuyoka's picture

Not sure if this work around still works in CS 5.5

I also remember having a plugin for CS2 that used to do the job... not sure what was it called.

Scott Johnson's picture

All I want to do is use an image of US currency in one of my graphic designs where it will be highly stylized and the full bills will not even be visible! Where am I communist China? How can this type of blatant censorship and infringement of my right to free expression exist today?! I'm offended and agitated!  Very disappointing!

Bill Gilmore's picture

yea this is annoying I want to use the image of money for a background in a design for a website about money, whats the best way around this?

Anime Dude's picture

Is there a way to bypass this? Epson's scanner drivers also have this "feature". Any hints or suggested hacks?

EnglebertFlaptyback's picture

Huh. Works just fine in my copy of PS 5.0. Scanned, edited and printed just fine (experimentally - shredded immediately of course). Now, if I just had the right paper...

Ajay's picture

Anyone can tell me which printer to. Uh to print and scan pound notes please

Michael Muryn's picture

We just had this problem with CS5 here trying to edit my Movember Pic of The Day (in case you are curious, it is gonna be Day 10, I will post tomorrow on or [temporary for movember]). I was kind of shocked as with a lot of rules, laws and constraints human create uselessly...

My personal graphic artist, my girlfriend, she just blurred a part of the Canadian bill she was gonna overwrite anyway and it allowed her to open it. I also thought of doing the copy/paste trick mentioned here, but she was already working on it.

As for people saying they understand their intention or what they are trying to do... I would say... c'mon! An idiot will only replicate the same bill. Someone barely clever will just find a way to do it. I highly doubt that Microsoft paint do the same thing! The real challenge would be to replicate the paper, the holograms, etc.

Well long time ago, change machine would accept photocopies of bills and really give you coins, but with all the technologies in a Canadian bills nowadays, good luck. And also, thing like that, once exploited, they are quickly corrected and nobody can foul the system until the next trick is found.

What is next? Recognition of selected popular figures and not allowing to photoshop them unless you have a special license? :-P

Seriously LMAO... but those kind of thing piss me off. It is just "wrong". And I like my softwares to be "right".

Anyway, now we know... people that create bills creatives are not using Photoshop to make them! *wink*


Artjom's picture

it's easy. paste currency to Illustrator, copy it from there and paste to a photoshop.

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