Destructive DRM Strikes Again: Creative Professionals Blocked From Using Adobe Products For Days
from the defective-by-design dept
Last week, if you were a creative professional who relied on Adobe’s products, you may have discovered that you were totally screwed over by Adobe’s DRM, which made it impossible for lots of people to use the apps they were paying for. Considering how many designers rely on Adobe apps, this basically shut down an awful lot of creative work late last week. MacUser (the link above) has pretty comprehensive coverage of how far reaching the problems were. It initially appeared to be that Adobe’s Creative Cloud offering was down, but the impact went much further, blocking even people who had installed desktop apps. This was true even though Adobe insisted that the DRM in those apps only needed to check in with a server once a month.
The biggest problems, though, were faced by users who couldn’t launch apps. Along with many others, Stefan Goodchild wondered: “Can @Adobe explain why all my Creative Cloud apps are all disabled when their login system has an outage? What about when I’m on a deadline?”
Their confusion was understandable: Adobe had categorically assured users and journalists, when replacing Creative Suite with Creative Cloud in May 2013, that apps only needed to check in with the server every 30 days, telling MacUser in a written reply that products would continue to work for 99 days in the absence of a server connection.
The @AdobeCare account seemed to have been given the same information, telling user Robert Lewis at 18:13 on Thursday: “Your apps should launch without checking w/ server.” But Lewis was far from being alone in finding this simply wasn’t the case. “Since I can’t sign in, it won’t let me use my photoshop right now,” complained photographer Linda Watson Nkosi, among many similar tweets.
The MacUser article also noted that Adobe avoided providing workarounds (even as there were a few), insisting that there was nothing that could be done. This was either out of ignorance, or standard corporate fear of revealing basic workarounds to dodgy DRM. Adobe eventually (after more than 24 hours) got things working again and posted a rather weak apology.
Of course, this kind of mishap was exactly what many people feared would happen when Adobe ditched basic software licenses to go with a forced “cloud” setup, whose main benefit (to Adobe) was that it acted as DRM.
This all took place just a few weeks after the official day against DRM and Mozilla’s decision to accept DRM in Firefox. Many people still don’t seem to realize just how destructive and dangerous DRM can be, but perhaps last week’s events will get a few more folks in the design community to recognize the serious problem.