Adobe: Not Evil

Very nice to read over my morning coffee that Adobe has made good on their intentions to revise the Photoshop Express Terms of Service to make them a lot less evil. In my first look at Photoshop Express, I was pretty down on Adobe for writing themselves ownership of your content throught the Universe. I don’t really think they intended to be evil, but what’s written is what counts.

John Nack, the Senior Product Manager of Photoshop, explains the changes on his blog.

The main thing that I like about the changes is that when you terminate the service, all Adobe’s claims over your content are likewise terminated. We’ve moved from the pig to chicken in this bacon n’ eggs dish of committment. They do keep archived copies of your stuff, I would guess as protection against future claims of wrongdoing.

Adobe is also promising not to sell or license your content. Good good.

If you do sign up, be aware that you are granting the vast unknown Other Users a “license to view, download, print, distribute, publicly perform and publicly display Your Shared Content…” They, in turn, are supposed to give you credit, and they’re not supposed to make money off it or alter it. So I think what we have here is akin to the Flickr Creative Commons category of Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs license. I think I can live with that, so I’ll set up a Px account and see how it goes.

Somewhere in his underground lair, Dr. Evil is very disappointed.

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The High Cost of Purple Hamburgers

The plan for this evening was to get the kids to bed, pour myself a tasty beverage and check out Photoshop Express. I intended to sign up, upload some pics and report back what I found out.

I am a tad cyncial about some of the “free” stuff companies offer online. So far, I love WordPress, but it isn’t free to me. I paid to map my domain, and in the future, I’ll pay for more disk space, CSS, etc. I was an Economics major for about 15 minutes, and the only thing that I clearly remember was the prof writing “There’s No Such Thing As A Free Lunch” on the chalkboard the first day. I wrote that down in my notebook, and I think it applies here tonight.

I went to the Photoshop Express sign up page and poked around, feeling a bit out of place. The marketing is geared for Millennials and not my vintage GenX sensibilities. The people destined to become “Px Drivers” were born about the same time as my Mac 512k. Or later. It was like I wandered into the Hot Topic in the mall and asked if they had any Max Headroom posters.

Still, I’ve been using Photoshop for 1/3 of my life. I wouldn’t want to miss out on what’s next. So I went for a second opinion. Checked several reviews of the program, read my first freetard vs. paytard flamewar, basically came away feeling like my hesitation was warranted. Still, I went back and did the Test Drive. Here’s what I thought.

1. This isn’t really Photoshop. Or Photoshop Lite. It isn’t even iPhoto. There are 18 tools in all, and they’re made for play, not work.

plish005-burger1.jpg

Drag slider, click thumbnail, and get on with your day. Fine, I get it, but please don’t call it Photoshop. Photoshop is a $650 badass program. Those two things go hand in hand. Maybe I’m weird, but I actually like having a program so deep and rich that I struggled to master it (and keep up with it). And deep down I know this is just my issue. Adobe’s smart use of their brand is about to result in an army of new people who call themselves Photoshop users.

Also, as an RIA, Px performs really well. It’s as slick and smooth as can be. Everything is intuitive and handy. And those kids at Hot Topic will probably love it.

2. The Terms of Service, which those same kids will never read. As of now, the way it’s written should give them pause. Particularly Section 8.

“Adobe does not claim ownership of Your Content. However, with respect to Your Content that you submit or make available for inclusion on publicly accessible areas of the Services, you grant Adobe a worldwide, royalty-free, nonexclusive, perpetual, irrevocable, and fully sublicensable license to use, distribute, derive revenue or other remuneration from, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, publicly perform and publicly display such Content (in whole or in part) and to incorporate such Content into other Materials or works in any format or medium now known or later developed.”

Now I’m no lawyer, but that sure sounds like you just gave away your pics. For free. Forever. For what ever Adobe or anyone they sell your pics to feels like doing with them. They say they don’t own your pictures, but for all intents and purposes, they do. For giving you the ability to show your friends that purple hamburger. Free feels really expensive. I need to ask some of my friends who make a living with photo permissions what they think of this and report back here.

When I decided to start a blog, ownership of the content was one of the first things I wondered about and researched. It’s one of the reasons why I went with WordPress. I love the fact that I can easily get an XML dump of the entire blog. I bought a domain to keep the content at the same address should I ever decide to part ways with WP.

The WP Terms of Service offer quite a contrast to Photoshop Express. Hopefully I haven’t missed a Draconian clause buried somewhere that says they own my kids, my car, and the contents of my fridge.

I was glad to read that Adobe has responded to people’s concerns, and is re-writing the Terms of Service.