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Home > Tips April 19th, 2018

Why Not to Buy Adobe Software on eBay, Craigslist or Amazon Mkt

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[UPDATE – Adobe stopped selling CS6 entirely – here’s why… This means the CS products are no longer being made by the company, nor legitimately for sale through any channel in any country, from any vendor or reseller.]

Some folks think it might be a good idea to try to save a few bucks and buy Adobe software off of eBay, Craigslist, Amazon Marketplace, or from any vendor or seller who is unfamiliar.  It could be Creative Cloud, CS6, Photoshop, Lightroom, Acrobat, Elements, or any other title – in a retail, student, full or upgrade version… or sometimes it’s the “OEM” scam, or the plausible-sounding “extra” volume/enterprise license swindle, or an illegal black or “gray market” import.

But it’s actually not a very good idea at all.  Why?

Why You Should Never Buy Adobe Software on eBay, Craigslist, or Amazon Marketplace

The first problem is that Adobe does not recognize these venues as valid or authorized resellers, they are fully disregarded and invalid. So as a result, Adobe will not officially recognize any of those buyers as actually owning their software. Yes, you read that right.

Meaning, you think you own the genuine article but effectively you don’t. You cannot provide an accepted proof of purchase – so you can’t formally prove you own the products. You may not be able to transfer the software to someone else, nor be able to get product support or upgrade to the next version, etc…  You also aren’t able to return the software to get your money back from Adobe like you normally can.

Why doesn’t Adobe recognize the people that go through those places? Doesn’t that seem unfair? Can’t these software vendors who you’ve never heard of before be trusted?

No, because in this area, reputation matters… a lot.  The simple reason is – and the real problem is – that 90% of the software sold on places like eBay is counterfeit! Yes, it’s true. And it’s not a new problem.

Adobe states, “Purchasing from known and trusted sources is the best way to avoid risks. Avoid all online auction sites — they’re rife with counterfeiters. The only safe way to purchase genuine software for download is through the Adobe Store.”

So you can be pretty sure that what someone’s getting on those auction and vendor sites is not legitimate, not able to be legally transferred, and possibly even quite unsafe.

Fake or Hacked Software –> Unsafe Computer, Loss of Money, Stolen Information, or Worse

That last part is the real kicker. A great deal of the hacked and pirated Adobe software out there now is embedded with malware. These infections include viruses, worms, and trojans that can do significant harm to your computer, personal data, and privacy (like quietly stealing your sensitive information such as logins, passwords, and credit card numbers). Or increasingly, install ransom­ware to hold your entire hard disk hostage with no fix available.

Or put another way, you dramatically “increase your risk of exposure to viruses, spyware, or adware that can destroy (or, worse, publish to criminals) valuable data.”  But unfortunately, many people don’t learn about this until it’s too late.  Often they do this unknowingly – and are essen­tially paying someone to do it to them by buying the unauthorized software.

How prevalent is malware in illegal software? Well, just one example: China reportedly has a piracy rate of 79% – and a corresponding computer infection rate of nearly 70% – both are the highest in the world. There is a direct correlation.

Yes, there can occasionally be exceptions – but there are many more headlines over the years: “Adobe Creative Suite Crack Harvests Zombie Computers”“Malware Writers Target Would-Be Pirated Software Users”“Rogue Adobe Product Downloads Infect Machines with Undetected Keylogger”“Warning: The Pirate Bay currently has countless viruses disguised as downloads”“Bootlegged Mac Photoshop Delivers New Trojan Horses”

The second Trojan was discovered Sunday, hidden inside torrented copies of Adobe Systems’ Photoshop program. Once installed, the software silently lets someone else take remote control of the computer and rob the sensitive data upon it.

The risk seems obvious for older or used/secondhand copies, right?  But even advertised “new in box” (NIB) items in seemingly-original packaging can easily be fake (see what the FBI says about this here) – and it’s often very difficult to tell the difference from the outside of the packaging, or even from the inside.  As Adobe says, “… it can come with sophisticated-looking cases, manuals, and even registration cards. You’ll only discover software is pirated when you try to register it and can’t, often rendering the software unusable.” Or worse.

But even if the software within is authentic, it’s still breaking the law. Per the SIIA, “As this prosecution demonstrates, it is both a crime to create counterfeit software and a crime to sell authentic software without authorization.”  So in any event, these buyers still face all the other issues above.

And if anyone ever offers a download or serial number that’s coming from anywhere else other than Adobe – it’s definitely not genuine, or legal. There are countless stolen, pirated, or limited-life serial keys out there, and even Adobe can’t tell right away. Even if a sale looks good at the beginning, such licenses are usually revoked down the road.

The old advice applies here: anything that sounds too good to be true probably is, in pricing or otherwise… (note that Adobe’s true Student & Teacher Editions at up to 70% off including the $20 complete Creative Cloud are exceptions to this)

So what’s your best bet?

Ensure your Adobe software is genuine

The only safe and legal place to instantly download any of these products (either trial or full versions) is directly from Adobe’s servers.

And only safe and legal place to buy any boxed retail software is directly from Adobe itself, or through their officially authorized resellers or retailers.

They put all this in place to protect customers – not only from harmful or counterfeit software, but also protecting your rights as a legitimate buyer and recognized licensee of the products – fully able to receive customer service, technical support, important updates, and future upgrades.

See all the recommended tips on how to avoid Adobe piracy. And if the regular product prices are out of reach for you, see if you qualify for Adobe’s deeply-discounted education versions, or check out their affordable Creative Cloud offering including the successor to Creative Suite — the new CC 2019 release — which is guaranteed to be the genuine article.


See Also

Download New Adobe CC 2019 Free Trials (Direct Links)

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  1. Bobby Blu-ray

    @François GAYMARD
    As an occasional user, I, too, will never subscribe to CC.

  2. joe omo

    @Celia Murphy

    best of luck on keeping your CS6 active; just got my master collection deactivated after 4+ years of usage. bought it back on July 18th of 2014, specifically, so I would have a back-up in case I could no longer afford monthly subscriptions. also just an occasional user.

    I’m seriously thinking class action lawsuit at this point,

    1. per adobe, it’s no longer supported – ok no problem. so why would they care to check on an obsolete product?

    2. I’m not the person who stole it, assuming it ever was stolen in the first place.

    3. I downloaded it from the adobe website, registered and validated the product at that time.

    4. There should be a justifiable time limit as to when a software company can revoke a license. four years later seems ridiculously absurd to me. especially for what they consider an end-of-life software product.

    5. As a consumer in good faith of Adobe products, why was I not notified of such in a timely manner wherein I could have recovered my money and have law enforcement involved?

    6. why do other software companies I have dealt with not have this problem. With Microsoft if I buy their office suite, I do not get a notice 4 years later telling me the product is not genuine. If such a message pops up it, occurs on installation or within a few months when upgrading the product.

    7. pure and simple, this is greed on Adobe’s part; the only viable reason to do this on an EOL product is to force people onto their subscription service. I’m guessing they ran low on new subscriptions and need to push another batch of perpetual license holders into their cloud.

    8. I would love to see the marketing emails, perhaps a subpoena or two will blow this scam wide open, one upset customer can turn into millions. I have no problem dedicating the next year or so putting a list of affected users together. I get seriously obsessed when done wrong and I do not let go.

    9. adobe if you are paying attention, for 1200 USD of hard-earned money I will take you apart piece by piece. I do not have much, just another low-paid stiff, who purchased your product for personal websites and small projects. saved my pennies over a few years just to be able to afford the full suite. what I do have though is time and knowledge to blast this experience across the web, and collect the names of all those you have done wrong in pushing out your CC product.

    while I’m here, allow me to let your users know there are alternatives to your product that are far superior too, for example, Final Cut Pro.

  3. joe omo

    actually what Adobe is going to get is a class action lawsuit and a federal investigation. much in the same way, Microsoft got taken down years ago, making room for Linux to grow into a viable enterprise alternative.

    As a software company, they should not be deactivating software 4+ years after an installation was deemed a valid product registration.

    I purchased my CS6 Master collection on 7/18/2014, only to get a non-genuine product notice last night.
    The product has been discontinued as mentioned for a long time, support for the product has ceased to exist, yet they still test for a genuine product? ok fine, but I would think it would be on current and recent installs.

    this like me going to my insurance company and stating my car got stolen four years ago, oh my neighbor has it now. cross my fingers that he lost his proof of purchase.

    first question my insurance company is going to ask is why did I not report this theft in a timely manner. when and how did I discover my car was stolen.

    there has to be some kind of logical explanation behind Adobe checking my license for four years and then suddenly as if by magic discovering it was not genuine.

    were you traveling abroad for the last four years … response no, I was at home most of the time.
    did you check your driveway and garage regularly… oh yes, at least every other week.
    and yet you could not tell your car had been stolen? I just realized it last night.

    I wonder if the insurance company would pay my claim or tell me oh hell no.
    nor would an insurance company ask me for their money back if they found the car four years later.

    there should be a time limit on these types of claims, something like 90 days so a consumer can get their money back in extreme circumstance if consistently checking the product and you cannot flag it after a year let it go.

    Why would any company want to upset a customer by deactivating an EOL product purchased 4+ years ago??? how many of these types of installations can they possibly be recovering on an EOL product? the only possible reason for this tactic is to move people over to the subscription service, as if the 300 million per month in revenue on average is still not good enough.

    worst case scenario run the test and enumerate the number of systems with what you believe to have pirated software on it. then under an omissions clause explain why you were not able to catch this in a timely manner and submit it to an insurance company. that is if you absolutely feel like the millions of dollars already made in profits for the given product is not good enough.

    every business runs a margin for lost, scrap, damaged, and theft. this was written off the books years ago. go after the people who are actually hurting you i.e. those who produce the illegal software and keys, and leave your consumers alone. this is also why you have insurance, which most likely already paid for any excessive loss. you could prove above and beyond a standard shrink margin.

    all you are doing here is hurting the little guy who for 4 years touted your product to colleagues and friends. I doubt I will be telling people to buy adobe going forward if anything I will be telling them to avoid Adobe like the plague. Simply because based on my personal experience, adobe will burn you.

    basic questions on non-genuine products: how do you now know, and why so long?
    if Adobe did not issue the key then how could you not have known this at least 3 years ago?
    if this is a stolen key, can you provide valid provenance of who owned before me? why was I allowed to register, or why did it take the previous owner this much time to claim such a theft?
    if this was some unsold key, do you really accept returns after 4 years on EOL products???

    if other, please do explain how you came to the conclusion you are 100% without a doubt correct in this matter.

    no bugs in your validation software??? I would love to see the QA logs…
    do you maintain a list of serials issued, when was this list created?
    is it an algorithm that tests for valid keys, what changed in this algorithm over the last 4 years?
    what regression testing to ensure you covered all the possible scenarios of potential valid keys?
    did you recently add in machine learning, and cross your fingers it would not make a mistake.
    if you discover a bug in your validation, are you reinstating the keys you deactivated and notifying the end users of your mistake?

    just the tip of the iceberg on a federal investigation, wanna play?

    • Joe, where and who exactly did you purchase that copy of CS6 from in July 2014?

      You did not state that – but if you gave your money to anyone other than Adobe directly – or an Adobe authorized reseller – then you would have no case.

      (Not talking about where you downloaded the software from, but who/what actually shows on your proof-of-purchase or receipt.)

      And in fact, no legitimate seller was/is ever able to offer CS6 downloads other than Adobe themselves!

      If, on the other hand, you did buy it directly from Adobe or an official reseller, then you should contact them about your issue:

      http://www.ContactAdobe.com/

      The article and comments above have previously covered how there are countless stolen, cracked/pirated, or limited-lifetime serial numbers and illegal license keys out there, and even Adobe can’t tell right away… Sorry you seemed to have gotten caught up in it.

  4. PatriciaLee

    I bought a CS4 Master Suite in 2008 from a mac computer store when I got my new 17″ intel duo macbook pro. I’ve gotten other computers, since, and I have signed up and have been subscribing to the CC for some years, now. I go back to cs4’s software at times because I know it so well, etc. I came home a few weeks ago and needed to open and send a document for some kind of emergency. It was in pdf form on my desktop. I was off the cc, I guess, because there was a requirement for me to provide the email address and password to kick in the CC, in order to open the pdf document. (we’re talking PDF, the most common doc here, for heaven’s sake) I had to be connected to the cc cloud to open it.

    I couldn’t remember the email address I used and password in the panic of the moment, and having so many clouds in our lives. Eventually, I scrounged around for another copy on another backup drive, another computer or something. After several years of taking computer art/video classes where we used adobe cc, I had had it because we kept running into things made by one version could not be opened by another because the school’s cc classroom account upgrades were slower coming than the cc we got at home, etc. Now, all this was taken in a good-natured art camaraderie mood, until I could not open the pdf. Enough was enough. I want to do my basics with a cs6 program, so I can count on things even when the internet is down. The cc can be considered pro level in our life management, with the cs6 everyday. Adobe should let us get the CS6 master collection from them. Heck, they would make a lot of money.

    In the meantime, I need to find someone who owns one that will sell it to me and transfer the registration and license to me via Adobe’s website. There are provisions on the website to do so. I appreciate this article so much because it lets us know of real dangers. I feel I can speak up for all of us because some years ago I got a letter from Adobe telling me that I was getting two years of free credit monitoring. Why, I did not know… until a long time later there were articles about hacking, telling of Adobe’s hack along with others. They owe us some small concessions. I am using a download of my CS4 via my s/n etc. But it sounds like I had better keep a computer with a compatible OS in the wings, installing it via my discs.

    • Even with CS6, you still needed to log in with your Adobe ID username and password:

      The New Creative Suite CS6 Install – Why We Did It

      Regarding CC, as noted in previous comments, you do not need a constant or ongoing Internet connection to use the Creative Cloud applications… There is only the periodic requirement to check the current status of your subscription, to make sure it is still valid. Once Creative Cloud is installed and you are signed in, you should be able have that computer fully offline for up to 99 days + one month, for annual subscriptions:

      CC Internet Connectivity, Offline Grace Period, and Reminders

      If such checks never happened, then obviously someone could sign up for their first month of Creative Cloud, then disconnect their computer, cancel their plan, and never pay again… So that wouldn’t really make sense.

  5. PatriciaLee

    Maybe, we can humbly ask Adobe to let us buy CS6 to use if we were purchasers of earlier software, especially if we were informed we were given two years free credit monitoring some years ago. For sure they have a record of us.

  6. PatriciaLee

    OK, I guess I ran into the perfect storm, with the ‘periodic’ check happening at the same moment I needed to open the pdf. They should make pdf available 24/7 no matter what, imho. Your article does give pause in trusting other companies’ tech.

  7. PatriciaLee

    @ProDesignTools
    And as a further update: I finally was able to remember under which email address I had registered the CS4 Master Collection 10 years ago, and I have successfully registered it in my current one. When I log in, it shows up in my account as a registered item. This was all independent of my cc cloud account.

  8. Mid-sized Brother

    Update, this entire article is useless to anyone looking for a legitimate way to purchase a non-cloud creative suite package.

  9. PatriciaLee

    @ProDesignTools
    If someone owns the discs because of a purchase in the past (i.e. when buying a computer), there seems to exist a form on the Adobe site to transfer the license, with both parties signing off. It seems it is moving to ‘antique’ quality.

    • Yes, that’s for private sales between two parties who know and can personally trust each other… In fact, we even wrote an article about transferring a license in such cases.

      But it doesn’t change anything about eBay per the article above, or trying to buy old software from unfamiliar vendors. Those would be public sales from untrusted sellers not approved to make them, rife with piracy scams and trademark violations, not authorized by Adobe, and thus not legitimate.

  10. Joe O

    @ProDesignTools

    1. I purchased a perpetual license, and would love to hear you explain what a limited-lifetime license is.

    1a. As a consumer of a product, I’m kind of perplexed as to how upon purchasing a product from a company, they can suddenly change the contractual agreement to force a consumer into purchasing a new product. i.e. Toyota decides to only provide leased vehicles and as their customer base shrinks, marketing launches a campaign to claim millions of 10+ year old cars are stolen and begins to repossess them. Prove you purchased your Toyota from an authorized dealer or you are SOL. Oh, but Toyota will be more than happy to lease you a vehicle … would this make sense to you??? Would you in your right mind recommend Toyota to friends and family after such an event???

    2. “even Adobe can’t tell right away…” — I will give you the benefit of the doubt here … now how about providing me with what you believe is a reasonable time frame in which such a discovery can be made?

    3. Is Adobe even able to provide what changed or how after 4 years, they miraculously acquired the ability to make this discovery???

    Again, had adobe brought this to my attention within 90 days of purchase, then my bad – I fully understand and would agree. Even on the outside chance it took them a whole year to per se wrap up loose stragglers here and there, I would lean more toward an oh well, got give them the benefit of the doubt. After two years I’m starting to think this is starting to push credibility issues a bit. At 3 years, I’m seriously leaning on the this is BS side of things. Now at 4 years I’m going to call it what it is as complete and utter BS. Frankly I’m a bit disappointed prodesigntools would even attempt to put lipstick and a calico dress on the pile of cr*p this situation is revolving around.

    Allow me to ask you … do you currently have a receipt for every purchase made in the last four years? Was every item you purchased made from authorized resellers only? May I confiscate any item you think you own if you cannot prove you purchased it from an authorized reseller? Contact me if you find your receipt from an authorized dealer. Under these rules, do not try to resell your vehicle thru the auto trader because nobody will buy it specifically out of fear the major manufacturers can swoop in and claim it was stolen. If you say “Prove it,” I would say why obviously per Adobe any proof of such claims is completely unnecessary. As long as they claim it is such, then the lowly peons of the world will simply need to accept it.

    • Automobiles are not typically counterfeited, nor with copies of genuine models sold to the unsuspecting public.

      And we imagine that if you purchased an “authentic” Rolex watch off a street vendor in New York City for the bargain price of $50, the Rolex SA company would not be compelled to validate or condone anything about that – and would legally have the right to confiscate that watch (no matter how much time had passed since purchase) if they could, or had a way to do so. It is obviously a clear violation of their product trademarks and intellectual property rights.

      Lastly, just because you have never heard of limited-lifetime licenses, does not mean they do not exist. Term-based licenses are frequently purchased via Adobe’s volume channels for shorter-term use. In this sense, those license keys act more like subscription plans than typical perpetual licenses.

      But make no mistake, those serial numbers will expire at the end of their terms. Meaning you could inadvertently buy a black-market license key thinking it was “permanent” and it works fine for 1, 2, 3 years but then stops, and you’re left holding the bag.

      For more details on how Term Licensing Agreement (TLA) licenses work and are sold, see this previous comment.

  11. Joe O.

    1. You never answered on how Adobe can prove their claim of non-genuine software beyond a reasonable doubt. After all, the burden of proof does lay with Adobe since it is Adobe making this claim to confiscate purchased goods.

    2. To your Rolex example, we do not see Rolex confiscating knock offs from the consumers because this would ruin their reputation, What we do see however is a major global effort to go after those making and distributing the knockoffs. They leave the end user alone, even though it would be quite easy to confiscate a watch if brought in for repair. What they do instead is simply state the watch cannot be serviced, they allow the consumer to keep the item they paid for.

    From a legal standpoint, I have not seen anything from adobe clearly showing how they determined my copy is non-genuine. All I have seen so-far is unsubstantiated claims by Adobe, which for some reason I am supposed to accept as fact. You made the claim, now show me the proof vs. bully tactics in the hopes and prayers I will become frustrated and let this go. Because we say so is not proof. We have new algorithm that can now magically identify these 4 years after the product was registered is quite the leap of faith, and again not proof. What I would expect from Adobe is some kind of provenance… i.e., we stopped an operation selling counterfeit copies and recovered serial numbers from this criminal organization, unfortunately your serial number was among those recovered.

    If you want to say keygen, then again prove the keygen used was not creating duplicates of legitimate keys, and/or a clear methodology Adobe used to determine the difference between genuine and non-genuine keys. If such a methodology existed, I would think Adobe would minimally provide some form of public check on the keys, making it possible for end users to notify law enforcement and recover their money.

    Can I call my credit card company with the claim of Adobe just notified the product I purchased 4 years aqo is invalid, please reimburse or reverse the payment. It sure was not due to a lack of action on my part that the issue is suddenly being brought up 4 years after the fact. My bank after all said they would reimburse, on fraudulent purchases, perhaps we can have the bank ignore what they would consider to be reasonable amount of time. Under the circumstances, we could say the non-genuine product claim just took an extraordinary amount of time and the bank should simply honor the prompt and immediate claim being made after said discovery.

    Which reminds me that you never answered what do you consider to be a reasonable amount of time… is Adobe actively searching for fraudulent copies of their software purchased 20 years ago? 5 years ago, 10 years ago, what’s the cutoff where they decide we made enough money on this version of creative suite,

    Can I expect upon repurchasing a creative suite 6 set of discs and getting those properly transferred to my name, that perhaps in 50 years from now Adobe decides to discover those too are non-genuine product?

    Said another way, if I ever buy an Adobe product again what would you say is a reasonable amount of time I need to keep my receipt in some bank vault to ensure I have it when challenged by Adobe?

    7-10 years — forever??? Are we matching IRS rules or some other measure I really want to know, what is reasonable in Adobe’s eyes… is it really a scorched earth policy and who cares who we hurt in the process?

  12. Joe O.

    Although I am not the one who perhaps infringed upon the copyright, and as an end user had no way of knowing such an act occurred, relying on Adobe to determine this at the time of purchase. Having received no warning of the potential inaccuracy in Adobe’s determination stating I had indeed purchased a genuine product. Looking at the potential law governing this it appears reasonable discovery is about 3 years, which adobe exceeded by about a year.

    https://www.thsh.com/publications/2014-decisions-clarify-how-the-statute-of-limitations-applies-to-copyright-infringement-claims

    While I’m still unsure as to exactly how it applies, I would say there is definitely something here to work with.

    Having worked as a data analyst in the software industry for the past 20 years, what I do feel strongly about is that Adobe is bluffing. I seriously doubt Adobe would have the capacity if challenged by a judge to prove and/or demonstrate how Adobe unequivocally knows a product is non-genuine prompting a license to be revoked. While Adobe may hay bluffed many end-users into forfeiting their rights to legitimate license keys, I doubt they can do so in a court of law, wherein they would actually have to prove their claim against an individual.

    This is setting aside the very strong possibility the statutes of limitations for making the claim in the first place had not run out.

    • There’s really not much more to say here. You’re writing like someone who’s upset because the unauthorized or illegitimate version you were using was revoked and you’re upset that you only got 4 years of use out of what you paid.

      Has Adobe gotten more diligent about cracking down on pirated versions in recent years? Definitely yes.

      Does that mean someone could have used a cracked or illegal version for several years before it being discovered? Likely yes.

      Does the company have the right to still assert their product trademarks and copyrights and intellectional property rights some years later, even without pursuing monetary damages? We would tend to believe so, though it’s not up to us.

      Does it mean that genuine, legitimate versions of the software could somehow be caught up in the effort to weed out pirated copies? Possibly, though we haven’t heard it.

      But if you nevertheless believe this last possibility applies to you, then we would suggest you contact Adobe directly with whatever case you think you have… Because otherwise, writing more here is not going to accomplish much.

      http://www.ContactAdobe.com/

      As an aside, we would think that actually getting four years of use out of an illegal copy and without devastating virus/trojan infection could be looked upon as somewhat of a blessing, rather than a curse.

      Happy holidays.

  13. PatriciaLee

    @Joe O.
    As one who unexpectedly received 2 years of free credit monitoring from Adobe, I can only say I am surprised you are less appreciative of Adobe’s being caught between a rock and a hard place, since you worked in the software business. I cannot even imagine what they are juggling, while continuing. Even our little local Mac user’s group sends out warnings that if we do not update operating systems for too long, we are prone to [all kinds of really, really] bad things if we go on the internet. Maybe we should all invest in Adobe, then go to the general stockholders’ meetings to hash things out… haha.

  14. Joe O.

    @ProDesign

    First off, thank you for minimally admitting there was a possibility of a genuine key being caught up in the effort of weeding out pirated software. At a personal level, I feel very strongly this is what is occurring in my case. I paid a lot of money for the license key and download. I do know I did NOT purchase from Amazon or E-Bay. I am fairly certain the receipt info is on a laptop currently in storage. I just need to find it and dig it out of the myriad of boxes it could be in. As noted previously, I literally purchased it the night before my Mom passed away, followed up with two years of legal wranglings over the estate. This is not exactly a time period of crystal-clear memories and much more of a blur for me.

    What I did not like in your responses to this situation, including those from Adobe’s first tier of customer service, were the hardcore linebacker block-and-tackle tactics. The automatic assumption of guilt, or that somehow we were dealing with an infallible process that is 100% right all of the time. It’s like saying our legal system never gets it wrong. To me, this is complete BS and reeks of a very high possibility of other issues being covered up, i.e., a loss of control at some point in how keys are being authenticated. Given the amount of time my key was active, it is highly suspect Adobe got this right, and this is why I am not letting this go so easily. I was not re-installing, nor was I attempting any kind of upgrade. I purchased it in June of 2014, and then got a new laptop in 2016 and installed on the new laptop, i.e., two installs as permitted by the license. Both installs worked perfectly and were mostly photoshop, illustrator, and fireworks for web image manipulation. Usage was at a low frequency, maybe every other month, and each time I opened one of these pieces of software, Adobe authenticated it as genuine. I have no clue as to what could have possibly changed, but something obviously did. If it was something on my side the only thing I can think of is a Windows recovery being performed and resetting the laptop to a previous recovery point.

    Your aside statement is another reason why I feel the keys were genuine as issued, and not an illegal copy. The other possibility is Adobe had a breach, and Keys were stolen, Patricia Lee’s statement clearly alludes to this “unexpectedly received 2 years of free credit monitoring from Adobe.” The question being did some entity use stolen keys from an Adobe Server and resell them? Am I a victim of not only having my key stolen but then having my copy flagged as non-genuine because someone else purchased my stolen key from Amazon or E-Bay. Instead of looking to see if perhaps the key had been previously registered with a long-term authentication chain, Adobe simply took the easy way out and shut every instance of the key down. I can see why such an approach would be taken. The logical assumption being the original key being 4 years old was probably no longer in use with minimal risk. Take a hard line, i.e., bluff if someone claims there was a mistake made, and the issue simply evaporates away.

    The above being one of the big reasons why I am asking how is Adobe making this determination. I know you are one of the key people on the Adobe help forum, which is why I kind of expect you would know the answer to this. If Adobe cannot demonstrate method and process in their determination of genuine products, I would expect them to minimally turn the software back on when challenged, especially when given the time lapse between purchase/registration date and alleged pirate copy discovery. Considering Adobe is the accusing me and imposing punitive measures, I think it is only fair they back those accusations up with some actual proof.

    “Because We Say it is So” <– is not proof, our magical black box algorithm, that has not worked properly for four years suddenly working perfectly is not proof. The latter is stated as such because for at least 4 years this infallible algorithm supposedly got it wrong each time it authenticated my software.

  15. joe o.

    @PatriciaLee

    What I am hoping for is Adobe doing their due diligence and resolving this issue. Adobe laid the accusation, now it is incumbent upon them to prove this accusation.

    Can they answer the question as to:

    1. what changed in their algorithm providing Adobe with this newfound insight, granting them this new ability to identify pirated software.

    Remember, they authenticated this key for about 4 years now, either Adobe got it wrong multiple time for 4 straight years and suddenly got it right someway somehow after 4 years of failed attempts, or they got right for 4 years and got wrong when they decided to deactivate my key. I am leaning towards the latter, because it logically makes more sense. I will continue to lean towards the latter until someone from Adobe can show me what changed, and how this change was used to make this determination. “My Software Said So” is not going to fly considering the amount of money I spent to get Creative Suite 6. This was years of me saving money and finally feeling secure enough financially to pull the trigger on the purchase. I have no expectation of support or upgrades on an end of life product. If I was running Windows XP on a system somewhere I would not expect Microsoft to provide me with patches or customer service. It would be a decision on my part knowing the potential risks involved. Maybe the risks are worth it, i.e., I’m running legacy software that needs Windows XP and moving the legacy system to newer versions would cost a fortune. What I would seriously fight is if Microsoft suddenly decided to revoke a license key years after I purchased it, standing behind a smokescreen of “well if you can locate your original receipt we will take a look at it, otherwise sucks to be you.”

    To the contrary of Adobe’s tactics, I have dealt with Microsoft on MS Office authentication issues and have had copies re-authenticated, Microsoft could have easily used similar tactics Adobe is currently using to push me into their Office 365 product line. They made a choice of providing honest customer service, and took all the facts in and checked the long-term history of the registered key. Not my fault someone purchased a duplicate key years after I registered mine. They simply generated and handed me a new key.

    As far as investing in Adobe, it’s a smart idea, and Adobe stock is definitely a good investment. After all, Adobe made Fortune Magazine’s Top 50 for future investments.

    The ability to reach up to upper echelons of Adobe, my preference has been to hopefully resolve this matter via regular channels. I do have the friends in gaming and animation who make procurement decisions, and until very recently chose not to involve them. Unfortunately, based on the response received so far, it appears like it will become necessary to reach out and leverage enterprise-level decision makers. I would never ask them to boycott Adobe but would hope they could get someone in the upper ranks to quietly look into this situation.

    • Sorry Joe, but we have no way to help you on this. And we’ll state again so that it’s perfectly clear: Adobe has recently stepped up anti-piracy efforts quite significantly. The “Adobe Genuine” initiative is relatively new and has been rolled out gradually for more products and across more geographies worldwide.

      What you should take away from this is that simply because your product started 1 or 2 or 3 or 4 years ago does NOT mean it was absolutely a genuine or valid long-term license key… What it more likely indicates is that the company has substantially sharpened their pencils while ramping up enforcement efforts on weeding out bad license codes, cracked software, keygenned serial numbers, and so on.

      To wit: the Adobe Genuine Software Integrity Service was first introduced only two years ago and only for Acrobat and only in Australia… Adobe has carefully tested and taken it slowly since then, and continues to incrementally expand these exhaustive validity checks to more of their products and to more countries.

      So just because the company was [in]effectively “lax” in this area before should not be taken to mean that all license keys which previously seemed operable were in fact actually legal. In other words, there’s probably nothing at all that changed on your end, or with your Windows, etc. – it’s just that your serial number was eventually flagged as inauthentic. However, just because the scam happened four years ago doesn’t change that it was still a scam.

      And there’s really nothing more to say here about this. If you have further comments or questions, please take it up with the company themselves.

  16. PatriciaLee

    @Joe O.
    It seemed to be of primary importance to know the email address (user name) under which the software was originally registered.

  17. Kaz

    Almost 4 years later this is still going on. This still seems that all Adobe want is for everyone to pay a monthly subscription to the Creative Cloud. I am the latest in the long line of people completely dissatisfied with Adobe’s totalitarian approach to alleged software fraud and piracy.

    GDPR applies here in the UK – so why does Adobe feel that they can still control what you run on your Mac/PC without your consent or authorisation?

    Not everyone is a pro-photographer, a lot are hobbyists and cannot justify £120 per year for the CC Photo plan, for software you are only renting, never owning.

    Thoroughly disappointed with Adobe.

    • Gosh. You think 10 quid (or dollars) a month for the CC Photography Plan is too much to pay to have the latest releases of both Photoshop CC, Lightroom CC, plus Lightroom Classic CC?? (including all related mobile apps and workflows)

      It’s been a while now so some may have forgotten, but these best-of-breed professional tools used to cost over $1,000 upfront just to get in the door, not including upgrades… That equates almost 10 years of use of Creative Cloud compared to the old model! It’s like someone still using Photoshop CS3 from 2007 for ten years, rather than getting to use the latest Photoshop CC version all that time. How much is your time worth?

      In fact, the pricing is low enough on the Photography bundle that you’ve got longtime Adobe users calling it a “no-brainer”… like here and here:

      But when all is said and done, if you only use Photoshop and Lightroom, the Photography Plan is an unbelievable bargain. A total no-brainer, and I can’t, for the life of me, see why people grumble about it.

      While it’s true you can’t please all of the people all of the time, nevertheless Creative Cloud has been a real success for Adobe with very strong customer adoption, higher than they or most people ever expected – so the chances of them changing or going back to the old model are basically none.

  18. James

    @Joe O.
    This is an obvious attempt to destroy the only viable competitor to the creative cloud model: Adobe CS6. I LEGALLY bought that software almost 6 years ago precisely because I did not want to get stuck buying it forever through the subscription model. I suggest everyone being railroaded by Adobe do what I did and immediately file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and their state attorney general.

    • No James, it is not.

      Joe made a lot of noise above, but was never even clear himself on where he “bought the download” from… And he did say he downloaded the software, rather than having actual disc media.

      But in fact, no legitimate seller was/is ever able to offer CS6 downloads other than Adobe themselves. Because he didn’t have a CD/DVD, all he really bought was a (black market) serial number.

      There is zero proof that he purchased from an Adobe-authorized reseller. On the contrary, there are definite indications he didn’t.

      Ultimately, Joe did a lot of hand waving, but was mostly upset that Adobe did not flag the bogus software sooner. And in a perfect world, the company would/should have.

      But it’s absolutely clear to us that he got scammed, unfortunately.

  19. Property Rights for buyers

    It seems to me that the cloud-based software idea is basically big brother monitoring of commercial or creative activity. It would be logical to assume that ANY cloud-based software that has evolved from standalone registered copies of software is simply a spy on your computer, able to take your ideas and pass them to those who care for their commercial gain. There has never been a stronger case for people to move to linux-based alternatives to all software-based solutions, and keep ideas, intellectual concepts and inventions for as sovereign for the inventor. Those corporate entities that have grown up over the last 100 years are flexing their muscles, they are pushing hard for a world where all life’s “props” are leased by the masses, not owned. Ownership of property is planned to be the preserve of those who live in castles and perpetuate the banking illusion – for all else leased lives and slavery. The above testimonies about cloud software and license revocation are something windows/mac users will increasingly experience along that ugly road…

    It is what it is – wake up!!

    • Sorry, this is utter nonsense and completely untrue for Creative Cloud.

      While we cannot speak for companies like Facebook or Google/YouTube – regarding Adobe, your comment absolutely does not apply (and so has no place here)…

      From the very clear Legal Terms of Use for Adobe Creative Cloud:

      “As discussed more in section 4 below, you retain all rights and ownership you have in your Content (defined below).

      4.2 Ownership: You retain all rights and ownership of your Content. We do not claim any ownership rights to your Content.”

  20. Property Rights for buyers

    I am certain that this belief may exist in the majority of cajoled users – however as a cloud user

    your rights to access software and your files can be revoked at any time without notice or reason,

    your in-progress work can be viewed and considered by those running the “service”,

    your considered decisions to use new features that are not proven reliable can affect the ability of your work to be accessible

    Traditionally the decision to install new upgrades or features in all software was the right of the user. The right to work privately in designs or inventions is crucial, by working in “the cloud” such ideas and ideals of privacy a fallacy – those who look at your work can get your best ideas to market far faster than the average honest small business. Cloud apps = no rights, just revocable privileges. Wake up!

    • Again, this is rubbish. Creative Cloud tools like Photoshop are simply not “cloud apps” – they are desktop programs which download and install locally on your own computer, just like always… With your misinformed comments, you are feeding into some commonly-held misconceptions:

      The 10 Most Common Myths About Adobe’s Creative Cloud (CC)

      In any event, using Creative Cloud’s online storage facility is never required. For any files that you choose to store in the Cloud, you can easily set different levels of sharing – from keeping them completely private to sharing them publicly with anyone at all. But you can also keep your files entirely offline on your local disk as normal, because saving a copy to the online Cloud storage is always completely optional.

      Bottom line, nobody else should have any access to any files that you either keep offline or decide to store online in Creative Cloud, without your action of intentionally sharing it with them… Your account and files in the Cloud are fully protected and secured by your own individual Adobe ID password.

  21. Nonsense Youknowit

    @ProDesignTools
    Adobe could not validate a serial number when registering and installing… only until later could they discover it was an invalid serial number. That is total BS. Adobe is playing hardball tactics to force people to purchase CC edition. I paid $1,000+ for my suite. I’m keeping an eye open for Class Action Lawsuit. Karma will get you Adobe.

    • Who exactly did you “pay $1,000+ to” for the software you were using?

      Please be as precise as possible, with more detail so that we might help if you truly believe your license is 100% legitimate and valid. Thanks.

  22. Paula Buckner

    I have CS6 discs (Design & Web Premium) purchased in 2013 or 2014 from a reported Apple reseller who has since gone out of business. Still looking for the receipt, which might be in a box in storage. I, too, take exception to being told that 4 years later my seemingly legit serial number isn’t. My brother & I bought the two-user-licensed software because we, like many others, are incidental users in separate cities and the subscription model is far too expensive for the amount of time we don’t use it. Therefore, we may just go back to Quark.

    Oh, I also have Lightroom on a disc from Adobe. Will *that* be deactivated, too? (Yes, I plan to call a human at Adobe. I just wanted to join in the venting here … and that class action if it ever gets legs.)

    • If you bought your Lightroom disc or download directly from Adobe, then you have nothing to worry about. If you bought from a sketchy vendor instead, then that’s a different story.

      Feel free to share more details about the reseller who went out of business – we’d be happy to look it up or investigate further for you.

      As for the rest, we’ve already covered in the comments above how you might have gotten several years of use out of a counterfeit license key. Adobe basically was not as strict or exhaustive previously on catching and enforcing them as they are now.

  23. Paula Buckner

    @ProDesignTools

    How can I tell if my Lightroom is genuine or fraudulent. It’s registered at Adobe, but I don’t recall where I bought it from … it was *that* long ago.

    The CS6 was purchased in 2013 from DealerDirect.com in Mooresville, NC. Found the receipt; wanna copy?

  24. pitaeata

    I hate to be critical and unsympathetic, but the writer and editor responding to posts here come off very strongly as shills for Adobe.

    Buying from an unauthorized seller has risks, but if you can get a copy that is legal and legitimately new/unregistered, and you’re not looking to transfer, upgrade, support, or return the software, then it seems like a profoundly better deal to buy an old perpetual license than a new annual one, even taking into account the risk (which is mitigated on ebay and amazon by seller reputation systems), and even taking into account the loss of software upgrades (which is fine if you want good software—the original CS6 *is* good—and don’t need the latest/greatest).

    Am I missing something?

    • Yes. That’s a lot of “if”s.

      Seriously, trying to find a safe “legitimately new/unregistered” copy of 7+ year-old software from an unauthorized seller you don’t know? You’d have better luck these days with a needle in a haystack.

      The company discontinued boxed software way back in 2013. Meanwhile, counterfeits have gotten so good that it’s hard to tell the difference between fake and real from the packaging.

      And even on the off-chance you could successfully and legally and safely accomplish that, Adobe recently had to deauthorize all usage of many CS6 programs due to a lawsuit against them:

      Adobe Limits Software Version Downloads, Including Some Direct Links

      In other words, customer use of any release earlier than CC 2017 is no longer authorized for most creative apps, so good luck even getting updates for those older products from their initial .0 versions… This restriction includes all CC versions from 2016 and before, and all CS versions from 2012 and before.

      Furthermore, those old CS programs were not written for, are not supported on, and may not work at all on modern operating systems.

      We could go on, but hopefully you get the idea.

  25. PatriciaLee

    I looked into that since I have a registered older master suite and was thinking of tracking down an older cs6, also. (Just did the subscription after all.) However, I do know that one can transfer registration on the site if selling or gifting. At, least that was my take on it.

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