Adobe Announces Plan To Essentially Steal Money From Venezuelans Because It 'Has To' Due To US Sanctions

from the closing-up-(photo)shop dept

Update: After this story was written, but before it got published, Adobe backtracked and agreed that it would, in fact, return the money. However, users are still out of luck going forward.

Adobe has long had a history of questionable behavior, when it comes to the rights of its customers, and how the public is informed on all things Adobe. With the constant hammering on the concept that software it sells is licensed rather than purchased, not to mention with the move to more SaaS and cloud-based software, the company is, frankly, one of the pack leaders in consumers not actually owning what they bought.

But what’s happening in Venezuela is something completely different. Adobe will be disabling its services entirely in that country, announcing that it was giving customers there roughly a month to download any content stored in the cloud. After that, poof, no more official Adobe access in Venezuela. That includes access for SaaS services that were prepaid. For such prepaid services, Adobe has also announced that zero refunds will be provided.

Why is this happening? According to Adobe, it’s to comply with Trump’s Executive Order 13884.

In the document, Adobe explains: “The U.S. Government issued Executive Order 13884, the practical effect of which is to prohibit almost all transactions and services between U.S. companies, entities, and individuals in Venezuela. To remain compliant with this order, Adobe is deactivating all accounts in Venezuela.”

To make matters worse, customers won’t be able to receive refunds for any purchases or outstanding subscriptions, as Adobe says that the executive order calls for “the cessation of all activity with the entities including no sales, service, support, refunds, credits, etc.”

As the Verge post points out, if you’re shrugging at the idea that the average Venezuelan citizen just got bilked out of money or software for which they paid, private citizens aren’t the only ones who will be affected by this. NGOs and news outfits will likewise be impacted by the move and those are some of the organizations attempting to affect change in Venezuela.

If nothing else, this should highlight just how risky engaging in SaaS-style tech service has become. It’s one thing to pay your money and not actually own what you’ve bought. It’s quite another to pay that money, not own what you bought, and not get your money back when you don’t even get that thing you don’t own at all — because of international politics.

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Companies: adobe

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Comments on “Adobe Announces Plan To Essentially Steal Money From Venezuelans Because It 'Has To' Due To US Sanctions”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Read the text of the Executive Order. It only applies to the Venezuelan government. Adobe didn’t have to do this to regular citizens and businesses. They’re interpreting the EO wider than they need to. They’re also two months late in enforcing it.

Kevin (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Policy issued by the federal government (assuming they’re not just pulling authority out of thin air) effectively is law, it’s just called regulation. It’s the implementation of law.

Authority is given by the Constitution for some matters, as well as discretionary authority given by Congress for others. So long as the EO stays within the confines of those authorities, they can effectively make law from the Oval Office.

DB (profile) says:

Analogy with nationalizing the oil fields

One of the major disputes between the U.S. and Venezuela was that Venezuela nationalized the oil fields. The government took over the oil fields, paying the major oil companies that ‘owned’ them (had exploitation rights, had risked the exploration costs, and had paid for and built the infrastructure) far less than the projected profits or market value.

There is lots of room to argue about the investment value, market value, eminent domain, etc. But the action was nominally legal if you stood far enough away.

It’s hard to see how this action passes even standard.

A Guy says:

Re: Re: Re: Analogy with nationalizing the oil fields

I have a news source that is usually reliable that said that but on further research there’s a good chance it is mistaken.

I took it as the truth because it’s usually a reliable source of news and Chavez was the one who said Bush "smelled of sulfur" and "was the devil" so I took it as true. If I find another reliable source for that quote I will post back.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: adobe

I’ve used 2 out of 3 of those… Personally I find GIMP easier to use than photoshop but it lacks some of the tools/features that make photoshop more useful.

Blender isn’t even relevant here as adobe programs are predominantly focus on 2D design rather than 3D.

The program that would be hard to replace is Illustrator. Few Programs focus on Vector Graphics to begin with, and the ones that do are rough around the edges to say the least.

K`Tetch (profile) says:

Re: Re: adobe

Illustrator is one, inDesign is another (once you’re set on a workflow, it’s REALLY hard to change your system to a new one), and Premier is the 3rd.

Everyone always goes on about photoshop – It’s the easiest to replace, because most of it is so standard, and most projects are standalone.

I do a lot of video editing (Media exporter has crunched for 40 of the last 72 hours – 90 minutes of that redoing the video because of the copyright claim mentioned above) and 4-5 months back I tried moving to daVinci, and couldn’t. A friend has been trying to get me to use Sony Vegas for 3-4 years, and I can’t get a handle on it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: adobe

There is Scribus for desktop publishing, and Kdenlive, Openshot, and Pitivi for video editors, plus the video editing capabilities of Blender.

Get a copy of Knoppix, it runs from a thumb drive, and you can try out Scribus, Kdenlive, Inkscape. Indeed Knoppix is a good place to start exploring the riches of Free software as it has software covering most needs.

A Guy says:

Re: Re: Re:2 adobe

I’ve used knoppix before. It was alright.

A lot or most/all of those programs have a windows version you can just download too.

If people want, they can also install a software suite so you can compile linux source code into a windows executable on your windows machine so you don’t really have to change operating systems either. (if you’re using windows)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 adobe

Windows is becoming software as a as a service, and has DRM dependencies. Adobe has just shown the real risks of that, so do you want to rely on it outside of the USA?

Knoppix is a good way of discovering where Linux can meet your needs, and trying programs without installing them. If you decide to switch to Linux, you can look around to see what distro to install, and maybe try out some other distros on spare hardware, or by using Virtualbox.

A Guy says:

Re: Re: Re:4 adobe

I have gotten rid of Microsoft Office even though it was my preferred office program since I was in junior high school because of its "move to the cloud".

I had used OpenOffice, and then LibreOffice just as an experiment but didn’t like them quite as much. Now LibreOffice is what I have because I’m not going to deal with connecting to Microsoft servers when I want to do something on my home computer.

I don’t think they can move windows to the cloud mostly. It’s supposed to be an operating system for personal computers not a 1970s era mainframe for controlling slave terminals. I think they would destroy their business if any significant part of windows suddenly migrated to central Microsoft mainframes.

A Guy says:

Re: Re: Re:8 adobe

Yeah, that was bullshit. I wish I had not entered it but I have now deleted it in the system settings. I did not expect that from Microsoft which is why they tricked me into giving it to them. In the future, if I get another windows computer I will just give it fake information like I do with almost every other online account.

One of my regular names to internet services is first name:not last name:real


Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:9 adobe

if I get another windows computer I will just give it fake information

Apparently it’s fully capable of offline account creation. MS just won’t let you do it if they detect an internet connection. Turn off your wifi and unplug the network cable, then try creating an account.

Lawrence D’Oliveiro says:

Re: Re: Re:3 windows version you can just download too.

The trouble with Windows software is having to download and install everything one by one, then making sure to keep it all up-to-date, again one by one.

With the integrated package management in Linux distros, installing any of the thousands of packages from the standard repos is just a point-and-click away. And keeping it all up to date is just as easy.

Also, the more stuff you install on a Windows machine, the less stable it gets, for no sensible reason that anyone can fathom. Linux doesn’t have this problem.

A Guy says:

Re: Ahoy

I use Gimp too. I muddled through Microsoft paint to help with graphics for someone’s work presentation and it is possible but it’s not the best solution. I looked at the license cost for adobe at the time and I think it was in the thousands of dollars for a year at the time. I found Gimp and started using it after that.

Gary (profile) says:

Re: Re: Ahoy

And by some people’s logic, everytime you paint without Phostoshop it’s theft!

Of course, that makes perfect sense. Adobe suffers the same harm if you use cracked photoshop, Gimp, or just decide not to edit that file, eh?

However, taking money from a paying customer and then refusing service as Adobe is doing – That is actual theft! So who does copyright benefit? Corporations.

Wendy Cockcroft (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Ahoy

I love GIMP, and mostly use the .png file format to avoid haloing and other distortions. When I need a vector image or one that will scale without distorting I use Inkscape, then pull the image into GIMP so I can play with it some more. I’ve tried other programs (I’ll give Image Magick a go) but I can get a lot done with my tried-and-tested GIMP and Inkscape combo.

The best thing about GIMP is the add-ons. Get G’Mic,it’s the best one; I use it every time I’m making a leaflet or brochure. The others are a mixed bag but G’Mic has yet to let me down. I can mimic any graphic anyone using Photoshop can create.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: They are, in fact, offering refunds

That is of little comfort to any business, such as a photographer, advertising agency or film producer, who will have to change the tools by which they make a living, particularly if they are part way through a project and are looking at starting it over with new tools.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: They are, in fact, offering refunds

Not when mid project, as things like layers and edit points are not easily transferable, and rebuilding in a different tool can be time consuming, as not only are you learning a new tool, but also having to redo incomplete work which is only preserved in a flexible form in tool specific project files.

Its like using layers in Gimp, you flatten as the last step, and doing so mid project eliminate your ability to modify what you have done.

Daydream says:

Hmm…this might be an odd question, but do copyright holders actually have the right to prohibit copies from being made? Or do they only have the right to claim a royalty for each copy?

Like, if I write a really cool song and lots of people download it, would I have the legal authority to demand people remove it from their computers, as opposed to simply seeking to claim fees for each time a copy of the song was made?

Or in this case, if Adobe is knowingly and deliberately waiving their right/opportunity to sell their products in Venezuela, do they have a right to stop people just pirating their software, since they can’t legally sell their software/claim royalties for it in Venezuela anymore?

Are there any legal cases or specific laws that deal with this question?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Copyright, and the use of software as a service means that Adobe can do what they have done, and their is no legal way to restore use of their software unless/until they restore service. This includes their termination of cloud storage, but at least they have given warning so that those affected can download local copies of their work, but they also need to convert it to formats useful outside of the Adobe ecosystem, otherwise they will end up saving files that are of no use to them..

A Guy says:

Re: Re: Re:

Like I stated above, Venezuela’s law is in flux and technically, they can do whatever they want with their counter sanctions. They can seize Adobe intellectual property and sell it or keep for the state like the US did to Germany during both world wars. They are a separate sovereign nation and don’t owe adobe US or European or anyone else’s specific version of intellectual property law.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: "software it sells is licensed rather than purchased"

I remember one software package which was fairly common in the 1990s for driving vinyl cutters for sign making. It was dongle-driven as part of some misguided DRM scheme as the software itself cost some huge inflated price. A client had their premises burglarised and the computer stolen – with the dongle still in place and stolen with it. The original install disks were still sitting on the original owner’s shelves where they belonged, but without the dongle they were useless.

The software company forced the victim to buy the software again, for a fair chunk of change. The victim’s insurance company was not impressed.

One has to wonder who the real thieves are here…

ECA (profile) says:

HOw stupid can the USA be??

This Hurts the people MORE then the nation..
AND as we are the main Buyer of Oil from that nation.. It Hurts us also. Raise the prices on Gas, AGAIN..
Which Hurts us..

I love the Comments I hear from People about Communism and Socialism Being the problem,,,,
NO IT WASNT.. The leader that was creating Communism was sharing everything, and HE DIED…and this is Capitalism, created by the Current leader(S) of the government..

Wendy Cockcroft (profile) says:

Re: Executive Order - Not just an order to the executive branch?

If anyone is impacted. Executive orders are limited in what they can achieve, aren’t they?

Article Two of the United States Constitution gives the president broad executive and enforcement authority to use their discretion to determine how to enforce the law or to otherwise manage the resources and staff of the executive branch. The ability to make such orders is also based on express or implied Acts of Congress that delegate to the president some degree of discretionary power (delegated legislation).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Executive Order - Not just an order to the executive bra

With regards to sanctions the executive orders are authorized under the Trading with the Enemy Act/ International Emergency Economic Powers Act or similar.

They have the full force of law and these specific sets of sanctions were originally passed to sanction enemy states, their trading partners, and the territories enemies occupied during the world wars.

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