Software Piracy and the Adobe CS6 Model

Online piracy is widespread in the United States and even more so in the rest of the world. 70% of people find piracy acceptable. It’s digital theft, but something about it makes people overlook the theft aspect of it.

I grew up in Russia where now 73% of installed software is stolen. United States on the other hand is at 20%. To me, these numbers always seemed insane. Lets look at the reality of the situation. Adobe Photoshop costs $700. Can a 15 year old recreational web/graphic designer afford that? In fact, can any recreational designer afford that? What should the price be such that they would?

I’m pondering this question as I’m enjoying my 30 day trial of the software, and for the first time, I see a reasonable answer from Adobe. They are now selling a $50 monthly subscription that gives access to all their products on a month-to-month basis. I think that will draw a lot of pirates out of the dark caves and actually pay for the awesome products they use.

Of course, I would love it if piracy was made much more difficult and then the price could  go down to $20 a month or less. But if we learned anything from the Internet, the thing that makes it powerful is also the thing that makes it very difficult to police.

I don’t like writing about piracy, but I wanted to write a quick note complimenting Adobe for thinking outside the box, literally and figuratively.

By the way, the suite of products in Adobe CS6 Master Collection is awesome. There are a lot of improvement in the interface, workflow, and feature set.

0 thoughts on “Software Piracy and the Adobe CS6 Model

  1. Adam Wallace

    I believe Adobe has to accept a level of piracy as being inevitable for their business to remain viable into the future. If they were to design a system where it became impossible to pirate their products, trainee designers would, inevitably, learn their skills using one of the other tools available which do the same job, [likely not as well, but good enough].

    When these people enter employment in the creative industries, they would then demand to be supplied with the software which they are most familiar with, and employers would either have to agree, or spend money training them to use Adobe’s products.

    So, it makes sense to overlook piracy by individual users, and focus on revenue generation from corporate clients, who usually have multi-machine installs. Believe me, when Adobe becomes aware of a corporate client using pirated copies of Creative Suite, they don’t ignore it.

    Adobe’s continued development of subscription services, especially items like their HTML5 editor Edge, which can only be accessed through subscription, will draw a proportion of people using pirate copies into the market. Which might make the price go down in future. Here’s hoping.

    1. Lex Post author

      I think you’ve summed up the Adobe model beautifully. From everything I’ve seen, the subscription has pulled in none of my friends who use Photoshop twice a year to put mess with some random picture before they post it on Facebook.

  2. Disenchanted

    £47 per month is way more than most casual users can afford, Adobe need to come up with some realistic non-comercial prices…

    Home User, Non-commercial = £99
    Student User, Non-commercial = £79
    Disabled/Unemployed = FREE (while unemployed/disabled)

    1. Lex Post author

      I agree. I guess Adobe assumes that the disabled and the unemployed will pirate the software. There has to be some way to use it on a once-per-month basis for free. I sometimes goes months without using any Adobe product except the free Adobe Reader.


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