The Computer Blog

Friday, May 09, 2008

Adobe's Hidden 20 Times Activation Limit - Somebody Needs to Sue!

Whether you’re in a business or a ”prosumer” like me, you put out literally thousands of dollars to run and update Adobe software. A few years ago, “in order to fight piracy”, Adobe incorporated an activation scheme that played computer supercop by ensuring you only had two “activated” instances of the software, therefore enforcing license restrictions. Frankly, I’ve had no problem with that until now. Last night, I discovered that Adobe CS3 software has a limit of 20 activations/deactivations, and then it will refuse to run. Period.

In other words, Adobe is not only using activation to “enforce its anti-piracy” efforts but to ensure that the software has a limited lifetime.
This is totally unacceptable. Where is it stated in the EULA that the number of activations has a limit and that, if you hit it, the thousands of dollars you have invested in software gets flushed down the drain? Time to see if I have any legal beagle readers. If you’re one of those and a class action suit is up your alley, count me in.

Frankly, activation is proving, as it often has, to only hurt the people who are trying to live within the rules. As more of the user community becomes aware of how these types of DRM schemes are being abused by the companies instituting them, the whole thing will backfire. You can bet that if I hit the “20” time activation limit and Adobe refuses to turn my software back on, it will be the last time Adobe ever sees a dollar from me. And I will make sure that everyone I know who is even thinking about using Adobe software is discouraged from thinking about it.

So, why am I even worried about hitting the 20 activation limit? Well, since I bought CS3 and didn’t know about the limit, I’ve activated and deactivated the software several times as I’ve tried out various Macs or upgraded machines. The new iMac that will be arriving is a case in point. With its arrival, I’m changing priorities on which Mac is used for what, and that is causing me to move software around, which means activating and deactivating the software.

Are the folks in Adobe living in a cave? Do they not realize that there are lots of reasons why someone might move software packages around while still living within the terms of the EULA? Why isn’t this very important operating limit stated? Could it be that if most businesses knew it existed, they might do more than think twice about buying their software?

Somebody needs to sue.


  • I completely agree with your post. More awareness needs to be raised over the fact that this expensive software suite will eventually be unusable [here in Oz, we're paying around $4000 for Master Collection], and that the licence is not really perpetual.

    Sickening to know that my painfully spent money will one day go down the drain. So much for playing fair.

    By Anonymous alexanderino, at 2:47 PM  

  • Caught in the trap already! I have CS3 running on my 2home/business computers. I deactivate from time to time to use a satellite office computer.

    I can no longer activate at the satellite office and I can't deactivate the copy at my home business.

    So now my work at the satellite office is in jeopardy.

    The product was even sold to me UNDER THE PRETENSE that I could activate and deactivate it if I wanted to use it on a laptop for business trips etc. No one ever said only 20 activations/deactivations and no one ever said don't take more than 20 business trips.

    As a small business I can't afford to shell out MORE money for another upgrade or edition.

    BEWARE !!!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:00 PM  

  • I agree. I bought CS4 now and I wasn't aware. Heck, how was I supposed to know that? You only find that information by sheer luck and nothing else. Adobe is treating honest people like criminals. Buying it a second time? Ha. No way.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:41 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home