Adobe Photoshop CC Proves That The Cloud Isn’t A Cure-All Refuge From Software Piracy

Adobe released Photoshop CC this week, as part of its Creative Cloud-only revamp of the entire Creative Suite of software products it offers. The new version of Photoshop offers some exclusive new features, which I’ve covered previously, but the cloud-based and subscription nature of the program were seen by many as a way of counteracting the rampant piracy that greets each new edition of Adobe’s software.

Fast-forward a couple of days, and Photoshop is encountering the same old problems it has always had, thanks to a pirated version hitting the web only one day after its broad release. The pirated version has some trade-offs like a lack of cloud-based functionality tied to creative portfolio network and recent Adobe acquisition Behance, as well as other CC services, but it’s functional enough for most. So is Adobe’s grand cloud experiment a failure, at least in terms of deterring pirates? Yes and no.

On the one hand, Adobe is shifting more of its services and feature to the cloud, which is accessible only with a legit subscription. and add to that the fact that it’s actually much easier now to just sign up for a Creative Cloud subscription than to go through the often complex process of installing a pirated copy of software. Adobe’s David Wadhwani recently talked to Frederic about these aspects of piracy prevention, and said that that’s more where their energy is focused in terms of discouraging product theft, in fact.

Adobe has never played up or even talked much about the benefits of going with a subscription-based model for its creative suite products in terms of piracy prevention, so it’s hard to say specifically that that’s what they were trying and that those efforts have been thwarted with the rapid breaking of Photoshop CC’s DRM. But it’s worth an Ian Malcolm-esque “Piracy, uh, finds a way” to observe just how fruitless the subscription shift has been in terms of changing at least how easy it was to make Photoshop available to those who’d secure it by nefarious means.

The cloud might not be a cure-all, but Adobe’s right that it can build in additional, cloud-based functionality that will forever remain off-limits to pirates, and convenience is a huge factor for those who do have the money to pay for products like Photoshop but simply opt not to. The other big promise of CC is that it will be subject to frequent updates to address just do its (JDIs) to improve features and address nagging issues, and that kind of stuff might not make it through to pirated versions, so it’s early yet to say definitively what kind of impact going all-subscription will have on long-term piracy rates.