Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me.
We pillage, we plunder, we rifle, and loot,
Drink up, me ‘earties, yo ho.
We kidnap and ravage and don’t give a hoot,
Drink up me ‘earties, yo ho.

So here it is… the one week results from our previous poll on software piracy. In that short time, we’ve had nearly 500 photographers cast their votes and the outcome is quite interesting. It looks like Adobe’s high-end photo editing software packages (like Photoshop and Lightroom) are hot items in the pirated software market.

I’m not here to make judgments or anything — I’m just presenting the results from our little study. I’d also like to mention that my computer is 100% free of pirated or “borrowed” software and that the poll results are no indication of my own habits.

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Each of the results below have two graphs. The first is a measure of how many of us use a particular piece of software: users versus non-users. The second graph takes the users and splits them into pirates and non-pirates. Also, I’m going to leave the polls running for a while to see how things progress over time.

PHOTOSHOP USERS

58% Pirates

Wow… I expected the number of Photoshop pirates to be high, but not quite that high! 58%?!? So for every legal copy of Photoshop, there’s a pirated counterpart… and then some! An equally interesting observation from the poll is that 87% of the people who read this blog are Photoshop users of some sort. I’m sure we represent a higher density population of Photoshoppers, but my guess is that well over 50% of digital photographers have access to Photoshop.

LIGHTROOM USERS

55% Pirates

Although Lightroom isn’t quite as popular as Photoshop with the general public (with only 58% of the voters), the users of Lightroom are just as willing to pirate the software. I assumed that Lightroom would be less pirated because it’s newer software and because the price is slightly lower than that of Photoshop. I assumed wrong. Then again, if you’re going to pirate a copy of Photoshop, why not Lightroom too?

OTHER SOFTWARE USERS

38% Pirates

We have quite a few “other software” users in the mix too. I didn’t break down the polls into every piece of software on the market, so I clumped everything other than Photoshop and Lightroom into this category. Interestingly, the rate of piracy (at 38%) is much lower than with the high-end Adobe products. I can’t imagine that other software would be more difficult to steal, so this lower number is probably a factor of popularity, price, and availability.

FREE & OPEN SOURCE USERS

0% Pirates

And out of the four groups in the poll, this was the only one with absolutely no piracy. Go figure. I’m actually impressed at how many people use free and open source software for photo editing — 64%! And only 19% of those are using the software that came with their cameras. The rest is all open source and freeware/shareware. Good for you guys! Although, there’s probably some percentage of free software users who have pirated copies of commercial software.

What do you guys think? Are the results surprising? Should Adobe care about this? I’m sure they’re aware of Photoshop and Lightroom being pirated, but I wonder what their position is on the topic.

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One instructive way to see this is that Photoshop is in a sense the one to beat. It is the industry standard and is available for free to anyone (legally or not). And yet, secondary offerings like Lightroom and Gimp; or specialist software like Hugin are not disappearing; they are in fact slowly taking market share – and doing so synergistically; once you make someone comfortable with the idea that all image processing does not have to be done with the same piece of software, people become more open to other tools in generalt

March 28, 2008 11:04 am


Photoshop is outrageously priced, that is why it is pirated so much. I’ve found that Paint Shop Pro does 95% of what PS will do, including layers and other advanced editing, at 10% of the cost. Adobe has apparently taken the “we’ll charge the bejeezus out of corporate users, who need sophisticated color management and can’t risk getting caught pirating, and ignore the casual user who steals our software.

It is not unlike Microsoft 10-15 years ago, when Excel cost $399 and Word cost $399 and so on… and most people stole it for home use and paid for it at work.

MS seems to have found it more profitable to make their software affordable enough that people will pay for it, rather than rationalize stealing it.

For me, I found an alternative that serves my purpose and saves me a bundle of money while not stealing from Adobe.

March 28, 2008 12:00 pm

Damn.. I had a feeling that it would be pretty high. Hell, I was thinking of pirating it myself given how much I wanted it and how expensive it was… But, alas, I waited until I bought my new Mac last month and actually bought a copy of it. I’m glad I did.

March 28, 2008 12:26 pm

This is one of the reasons I began using Linux. Now I have no pirated software…

I use GIMP for manipulation, Picasa for Organization, and even have easy to use open-source HDR software, panorama software!

There are a few newer linux apps getting popular which feel much more like photoshop such as Krita or the non-open- source Pixel.

My photos have more value in a sense knowing that I have not compromised any ethical, moral, or legal lines.

March 28, 2008 1:31 pm

I’ve always known that Photoshop is highly pirated. I’m sure Adobe knows it too. But you have to ask yourself, is pirating all bad for Adobe?

Sure, they lose some money from people getting the software for free. But of those 60 percent, how many would pay for it if not able to pirate? 10 percent? So let’s just say Adobe loses the cash from those 10 percent.

But pirating has one benefit: the increased use of Photoshop (whether legal or not), increases their market share and makes Photoshop the industry standard. That leads to more sales. Which leads to more pirating, which leads to more sales. A bit of a snowball.

So you have to wonder if they’re really losing that (fictitious) 10 percent, or are they more than making up for it with increased sales thanks to being used all over. I would bet it’s the latter.

March 28, 2008 1:54 pm

It feels good to be in the last category and know you’re not alone. I do have Photoshop 6 LE with my cam, but Gimp is just way ahead of that old version (It is a Nikon DC995, yeah, old) and it doesn’t run on Linux distros without some wine anyway.

March 28, 2008 1:55 pm

I agree with Jonathan Enns, I’m a big fan of GIMP. I use it on Linux and XP for the basic stuff that I need to do. I love Photoshop and have owned copies in the past, but I can’t afford to keep upgrading if my tasks are pretty basic and don’t require any major automation. I think that you’ll find that any niche software package will have a high piracy rate unless it is exceedingly inexpensive.

March 28, 2008 1:58 pm

Well I think that’s what they’re online version is meant to curb.

March 28, 2008 2:01 pm

I have to believe that Adobe’s mildly crazy DRM scheme is part of the reason that people pirate light room. The cost of Lightroom is really quite reasonable; it’s less than the cost of any decent lens. The “you need to phone our 1-800 number during office hours when your laptop hard drive dies and you want to reinstall our product,” or the “You should get rid of your RAID configuration, because it conflicts with our DRM. Photographers don’t need RAID,” are far higher barriers to entry, in my mind, and these problems ironically go away if you pirate the software, since the pirated version doesn’t have all the anti-piracy garbage.

It makes me seriously consider buying a Mac and Aperature.

March 28, 2008 2:03 pm

I once heard a discussion on the high rate of photoshop piracy on an early TWIT podcast, and I believe it was Kevin Rose who said that Adobe purposefully doesn’t try to hinder the piracy. There is no way young users who are beginning to get interested in photography or graphic design are going to pay hundreds of dollars for a software program they don’t know or have experience with. Adobe is trying to build market share and gain potential customers by “giving” (not hindering the piracy) new users a copy. Hopefully, if they become a professional in the field, they will then purchase the program.

March 28, 2008 2:05 pm

As a proud owner of their first copy of legit photoshop. I must say that for many years (high school through most of college) it was just too much for me, but also vital to my chosen industry. Its not like it was slightly out of budgetary reach but for a college student on intern salary it was a full month or six week pay. I tried the gimp and others but nothing matches it, thats common knowledge.

Anyways, now I am legit.

March 28, 2008 2:06 pm

If you’re a student or instructor, you can get an academic license for all kinds of software for a small fraction of the retail price. Definitely look into it while you have the chance!

March 28, 2008 2:07 pm


If Adobe doesn’t care that they are losing millions of dollars that’s just nuts. I also use GIMP to do my work (both in web design and photos, and sometime effects)

It’s funny because most of the pirate users wouldn’t actually use it to do professional stuff, instead they waste their time doing signatures, avatars or whatever comes up to their mind. Of course that’s what I think..

March 28, 2008 2:17 pm

Great article, whilst I didn’t think the figures are that high I’m not surprised, if Adobe sold Photoshop at half the price, I personally would be tempted to buy it and probably would, I don’t like the fact that they know they have the best piece of software and hence can charge what they want for it.

It also doesnt help that I’m based in the UK, and we get charged stupid amounts for Photoshop when compared to US counterparts.

March 28, 2008 2:17 pm

That’s not surprising. What is surprising is how software manufacturers aren’t getting the message: their products are priced too high.

Hardware keeps coming down in price, so its reasonable to expect that software would do the same. But does it? Heck no.

It makes you wonder, would they have even more adopters if the prices were lower? I do believe there’s a danger is not charging enough for your product, but software prices have gotten out of hand.

March 28, 2008 2:20 pm

Pirating software isn’t necessarily a bad thing… just like music. Lets take an example of music first.
Someone that does not listen to a particular type of music will probably never ever think of purchasing certain artists creations – let that person get some free songs (pirated or whatever), and now, you’ve suddenly exposed that person to something they’ve never heard of. Imagine if they like that music, they might buy their music.

Now lets extrapolate this reasoning to pirated software.

Music Lovers, Software Piraters etc. are of abundance in college/high-school. Thats where they learn their tricks of trade. Download some mp3′s, some pirated software, some of this and that. An artist hears about PhotoShop, a math whiz runs across Mathematica, Statistician runs across SAS, some movie producer runs across ACID, etc. and downloads a copy… maybe starts producing revenue using that software…. eventually moving up and making enough money to purchase a genuine copy. If the person doesn’t make it on their own, they will get a job at a corporate, and recommend their company to purchase a license or two or three. You don’t expect some college freshmen to pay $600 for photoshop, or $60 for educational version, do you?

March 28, 2008 2:20 pm

Photoshop is simply way too damn expensive. If Adobe charged a more reasonable amount, people would be more willing to pay for it.

March 28, 2008 2:20 pm

Who need PS where one can get Paint.Net for free!

March 28, 2008 2:23 pm

I’m actually surprised it isn’t higher, though I think that’s due to the sample source.

You polled photographers, who only make up one subsect of Photoshop users. And it’s a subsect that can often (especially in the case of professional photographers) afford Photoshop.

If you had polled the internet at large, I suspect you’d find even higher instances of piracy. Don’t forget all those tens of thousands of ‘netizens’ who use Photoshop in very limited capacities but still own it because it’s easier to just download it than it is to learn a new program (like Gimp or Paintshop Pro)

March 28, 2008 2:25 pm

More striking is the fact that after people pirate software they’ll go brag about it in an online poll…

March 28, 2008 2:38 pm

Photoshop is way over priced, though I do not condone pirating software you can certainly understand this as a natural reaction to way overpriced software. The real problem is there is no decent competition forcing Adobe to lower its price. Think about people in other countries, they would laugh when you tell them its 700 dollars for legal copy of this software then walk down to the corner and buy it illegally for a dollar.

March 28, 2008 2:41 pm

I use a copy of Photoshop and there is no moral issue stopping me.

Quite simply, I cannot afford Photoshop as its priced way too high.
Am I stealing from Adobe ? Nope, I’m copying their software for personal use.
If I couldn’t copy it I wouldn’t be using it so their loss for me is actually $0.

If anything I’m contributing to Adobe by telling other people I know to use Photoshop.
If only 1 of those many people I’ve told buys Photoshop then Adobe makes profit of the fact that I copied it.

March 28, 2008 2:45 pm

Some people say that Piracy is much greater in Europe over the US. I think this is because the prices are so different. People can go to the US site, see the price, do a conversion and then look at the Europe site, when they see that they are being fleeced they pirate it. People are willing to pay a fair price, but will not accept being discriminated against. Adobe don’t seen to have realised this.

March 28, 2008 2:55 pm

haha i think its really realistic, i was expecting more people! but i think it takes some resources to be able to get pirated software!! pirate bay where art thou’!!

March 28, 2008 3:01 pm

I’m sad to say that I have a pirated copy. I’m not a graphics person by any means, so $700+ for a graphics package is not going to happen. I don’t use it much, just editing the occasional website image, cleaning up artifacts, cropping pictures…pretty minimal stuff.

The free packages are just not intuitive, not very good, missing that ONE feature I needed, or just lack the polished feel to them, otherwise, I’d just use them. Photoshop is kickass from what I’ve seen others do, I haven’t even attempted to try more than 5% of the features.

Can I rationalize stealing it? No I can’t. The only thing I can say is Adobe wouldn’t have made a sale regardless. If I were to pay for what I’ve used, I’d owe them maybe $50. I don’t think they take donations.

If I was a graphics designer, then I’d buy it. I buy all my other software/games/music/movies/etc. that is on my machine that isn’t freeware.

March 28, 2008 3:18 pm

Well no shit, Photoshop is expensive, and I am not a pro graphics designer either. Great tool, but $600 plus expansions great? Sell it for $50 I might actually get a copy like the other 60% :)

March 28, 2008 3:20 pm

One thing to bear in mind regarding software piracy of high end software is that the pools of users who are trained to use it through piracy (hobbyists, students, dabblers etc.) end up pushing up the user base and popularity.

At uni we used 3ds max, and I pirated it at home while I trained to use it – now I am employed to use that software (which my company pays for) so I represent a bum on a seat for Autodesk – one more asset to their user base.

I think the same applies to Photoshop.

I’m not excusing all piracy, but I think it’s worth taking this position into account.

March 28, 2008 3:22 pm

And people wonder why software companies treat users like criminals…over half of them are!! If I had over 50% of people stealing from me, I would be outraged.

March 28, 2008 3:29 pm

Jonas wrote:
“Am I stealing from Adobe ? Nope, I’m copying their software for personal use.
If I couldn’t copy it I wouldn’t be using it so their loss for me is actually $0.

If anything I’m contributing to Adobe by telling other people I know to use Photoshop.
If only 1 of those many people I’ve told buys Photoshop then Adobe makes profit of the fact that I copied it.”

Love this ridiculous rationalizing. Are you precluded from telling others to use Photoshop if you actually purchased a legitimate copy? Or does Adobe only “make profit” when you steal it and then tell others who might actually buy it? And you’re not stealing if you’re only “copying their software for personal use”? Are you retarded?
The fact is, as others have stated, Adobe doesn’t care about those individuals who steal (yes it is still stealing even if you get away with it); they just gouge the corporations who have to buy legit licenses.

March 28, 2008 3:47 pm

Well at the current price point I don’t think it’s right to say that pirated photoshop actually is costing them money. If they could wipe out piracy tomorrow and keep the same price I’d wager they’d see no eyeopening increase in sales of it, even without software like GIMP around.

That is to say it is a great piece of software, but I imagine a lot that have it illegally don’t have compelling uses for its features and it’s really just a fun “toy” to them that they could happily survive without even if they had never heard of it.

If it was knocked down to fit in “everyman’s” budget I’d think the point of view of lost revenue for Adobe would be more accurate, and they would also generate more sales because you start to include more impulse buyers that may be budget strained, ease the justification of purchase for people that don’t need all of the features but recognize the name etc.

March 28, 2008 3:47 pm

I am wondering if anyone has ever been penalised for using a pirate copy of Photoshop. I am also wondering why it is so expensive.

March 28, 2008 4:13 pm

But is it really stealing if that 50% wouldn’t have had the money/would not have bought it in the first place? All it does is just increases Adobe’s exposure. People who know how to use Photoshop are more likely to recommend Photoshop to someone else, or if pursuing a graphical line of work, suggest to their workplace to invest in a few copies of Photoshop.

This is where Adobe make the money.

Statistics are often misleading or too vague to take credibly without considering the other factors.

March 28, 2008 4:29 pm

The CS3 suite (photoshop, illustrator, flash) is often stolen by people who are curious to learn the software, are exposed to its incredible power, and then when they wish to use it in a professional capacity, purchase a legitimate copy. Professionals cannot afford to take a chance with stolen software, they are going to then purchase the software that they already know. This is exactly why it is the most dominant software of its type.

Another example,

Maya is an incredible 3-D rendering software, it too is more often stolen than purchased for its $3000 price tag. It dominates the professional 3-D design marketplace, even though competitor’s software costs less, no professional wants to take the time to learn another interface, they stick to what they know works. These products are geared for the professional, who cares if amateurs steal it to learn on, these products still dominate the market they are focused on.

March 28, 2008 4:44 pm


I was introduced to Photoshop in High school and have pirated it since then. Honestly, if I had not pirated it, I would’ve never bought it. When I got into college I was still pirating it, and then bided my time until Adobe bought Flash and it was released with CS3. I then scraped money together and bought Production Premium at the low, student price of a bit under $600. (I was a video major with graphic design hobbies thrown in).

Honestly, had the educational discount not existed, I’d still be pirating Adobe products. I realize how amazing they are, but the way the (separate) programs are priced, it’s just a rip off. The packages are slightly better in pricing, but if the packages can be that low, the separate products should be low as well.

March 28, 2008 5:17 pm

John wrote:
“…And you’re not stealing if you’re only “copying their software for personal use”? Are you retarded?…”

Copying is NOT the same as stealing. Copying an application you are not and will never be charged for theft, you are charged for Copyright infringement. In certain countries it’s not even illegal to download or copy for personal use.

With your reasoning you can just call copying MURDER because you take away all the money so the company employees can’t buy food and die of starvation. Copying is exactly what it is, COPYING.

March 28, 2008 6:00 pm

If your like me and in Graphic Design then your design firm will be in partnership with adobe paying about £300 a year to get every single piece of Adobe software available for just recomending the product to others and using it yourself!

This software can be copied as many times as you wish within the office or aslong as it is being used on a computer owned by the firm! Great for me as I got my boss to buy my laptop through the company! FREE Photoshop without breaking laws…

March 28, 2008 6:21 pm

I don’t think it’s correct to group shareware/freeware with open source software. They are very different. Someone could very well have been directed to the software through an ad or something similar.

March 28, 2008 6:24 pm

I wonder why Adobe hasn’t released the student/educational/non-commercial version to the general public. It seems that there is a significant number of people who would pay for their programs if they were more affordable. Businesses would still be forced to purchase a full commercial version. Sure, there would still be rampant piracy of their programs, but I know they would make more sales. Maybe I’m missing something.

March 28, 2008 7:23 pm

This is the result of Adobe wanting to milk corporations for big money. It’s not worth $649 for some home user to touch up their personal photos. But people do want to learn it so they can use it on the job. And yes, Adobe can still make money in this scenario. If I pirate Photoshop and other Adobe products, what do you think I’m going to recommend my company go out and purchase?

If, on the other hand, I stay legit and get intimately familiar with Gimp … I’ll likely tell my company I don’t need them to pony up for Photoshop.

I really think Adobe would sell much more software if they lowered the price. But it has to come without crippling it. Nobody wants a “lite” version of this kind of product.

March 28, 2008 8:18 pm


If they did not charge two arms and a legg for the full version people would buy it. If they lowered thier prices by 75% they would increase sales by 150-200%. They can to the math because we dont know thier proffit margin but it would be better for them I bet!

March 28, 2008 8:19 pm

If it was half the price it wouldn’t double the users, that’s why they charge what they do. Most of those pirates are not lost sales, theyr’e just the undercurrent of freeloaders that actually helps keep the software popular, IMHO. The alternative is that over half the photoshop users out there wise up to GIMP and other alternatives, and that would be VERY BAD for Adobe. Adobe’s strategy should be to coax, cajole and scare as many into legal ownership as possible without chasing those who will never purchase it away to other products. This has always been the reality for smart software firms.

March 28, 2008 8:29 pm

That’s great that you can afford Photoshop. I personally don’t have $700 burning a hole in my pocket, and even if I did I would rather spend it on hardware.

Adobe has priced themselves out of the market of affordable software, so as a result, everyone gets their software the easy way. If they were to drop the price to $200 or so, I bet you’d see the number of pirated copies drop by a good 75%. As it stands, it’s unaffordable for anyone without a trust fund or a corporate budget to back them up.

March 28, 2008 9:30 pm

Adobe doesn’t care to “get more customers”. Photoshop is the industry standard image editing software. That means the “industry” will shell out what it needs to shell out to have those licensed copies. I guarantee you that 90% of those pirates aren’t creative professionals, because the first thing a creative professional does is buy legitimate versions of the software they’ve learned to use (that is, if they are freelancers. Gigs at firms, not so much; they buy what you need). If you’re just touching up photos, or making shitty anime fanart to post on devART, then by all means use whatever software you’d like, but if we’re talking about professional work-flow here, GIMP and PaintShop Pro are laughable.

Adobe does not market to the amateur… at ALL. They are company that makes PROFESSIONAL tools. Asking them to lower the price to something like $50-$100, as mentioned above, is ridiculous.

It’s like asking to buy a bulldozer for 10 bucks, when all you need is a shovel.

March 28, 2008 10:19 pm

I have had PS since 3.0 and used the upgrade path to save money. To be honest, I could be using PS 7.0 and never upgrade if I could get the magnificent Raw import options in CS3. I do feel like I am paying for all kinds of features that I am not using, and I have tried PSP, the Gimp, Pixel, and several other Raw Importers to set up for clients to do simple editing. Nothing else is PS. That being said, I hate bridge and use Picasa for organization.

If I had to pay full retail tomorrow, I would because I have to, but I agree with the pricing issue, it is too damn expensive. Now that Adobe has such a commanding market share, we need to look out for monopolistic practices that they are already employing to some degree… e.g. CS3 deletes the registry entry to display Illustrator & Photoshop Thumbs on windows machines, forcing users into bridge. Did I mention that Bridge sucks for windows?

In reality, PS development should have progressed faster and with more attention to user requests, but there were 2 major factors that slowed it. First, when Adobe purchased Aldus, they moved the engine from Photostyler into their product and viola; minus one competitor and they now had the superior product. Years ahead of Corel photopaint, arguably the closest competitor, Photoshop was out in front and using a “filter” engine to allow 3rd party development inside their software. When Kai’s power tools was released, it showed the synergistic capacity of this technology. Imagine if Kai Krause had spent his time at Metatools (which would become Metacreations) developing a competitor? Painter doesn’t count, because I said so.

I have used most of the software mentioned and there is no substitute for PS. Anyone who is using it as a pro will agree. The right tool for the right job.

March 28, 2008 11:18 pm

One reason Photoshop has so many illiegal users is that it has been counterfeited and sold in huge numbers. The counterfeits are so good that they are virtually indistinguishable from the real thing, being shrinkwrapped, packaged, and including a manual, and probably made using Adobe’s own postcript files liberated from their manufacturing partner in Singapore. Adobe have known about this for a long time.. See http://tonysleep.co.uk/blog/photoshop-cs2-on-ebay

March 28, 2008 11:26 pm



A little bit of statistics for you….

Just because 58% of the people who responded to your poll claim to use pirated Photoshop certainly does not mean that 58% of everyone who uses Photoshop uses a pirated copy.

You need a much better polling scheme with some actual science behind it to make statements about your poll representing people other than just those who responded to it.

Michael

March 29, 2008 12:32 am



What is with all these pussies that “dont condone” piracy. Well I condone piracy. Piracy is good. I only pay for the few pieces of software that I have used daily for years. And I pay directly to the authors, not to publishers and other middlemen that end up taking 90%.

March 29, 2008 8:12 am

It seems to me that the issue around “software” is that it isn’t “hardware”. No one would think it was right to shoplift cameras, or lenses or printers, ie. “hardware”. But something that we can’t hold in our hands seems to be less real and thus easier for people to justify it’s theft, whether it is Photoshop, or movies, or songs.

As far as price, I purchased Photoshop last year and in 20 plus years of computing I have never spent anywhere near that amount for a piece of software, but I’ve spent thousands on computers and upgrades. Really, what’s the difference. The costs of producing a quality piece of software, and of always being on an upgrade path are just as real as the costs to produce new computers, new cars, new TVs, etc.

The camera lens I would like is $2000. The printer I’m about to purchase is at least $1200 and I would prefer the $2000 model. $600 for Photoshop, also an essential tool for a serious photographer is a bargain compared to the “hardware”.

Stealing is stealing no matter how hard you try to justify it.

March 29, 2008 9:03 am

I think this actually says more about photoshop and adobe than it does the photographers themselves. As the owner and user of many non pirated versions of adobe products. I think if you looked at non photographic users and targeted this survey to college kids, your percentage of pirated users would probably be around 90% or higher. Photoshop as are most adobe product great pieces of software, but simply put they aren’t affordable for most users. When such a high percentage of things start falling off the back of a truck on the information superhighway there is usually something wrong on the business end of things.

I had to wait years to find an affordable used copy on ebay that I was sure was legitimate. Sure PS 6 is old but it is still a great product and was only $25 What does this say about me? I am guessing it means I don’t really need all the new toys in version whatever we are up to now.

March 29, 2008 12:12 pm




The evidence does not support your assertion that 60 percent of Photoshop users have pirated versions. The most you can conclude is tha 60 percent of readers of this particular blog; or 60 percent of the people who chose to respond to the survey, are pirates. That’s signifcantly different from saying that 60 percent of ALL users are pirates.

March 29, 2008 9:22 pm

This is true… actually I now have evidence that more than 60% of Photoshop users are pirates. Since this article has been featured on Digg the number of voters for the poll has doubled. The result? Now 72% of Photoshop users are claiming to be pirates, and 65% of Lightroom users.

I stand by my numbers. With a population count of nearly 1000, I find it hard to believe that only the pirates are responding to the poll. My readers have been quite good at providing indicative data in the past (ie. 50% Canon users, 25% Nikon), and 500 of them first sounded off during the first week of the poll.

If anybody has better information from a more controlled survey, I’d be happy to take a look at it. Until then, you’ll have to take my results with a grain of salt and understand that there’s probably a 5-10% error tolerance.

March 29, 2008 10:00 pm

i doubt there are so many people using freeware and open source software for image editing.

Many people in this poll probably *think* the software is freeware when it isn’t.

That software may be pirated, or may be shareware that they are not paying. Shareware is not free, it’s trialware.

March 30, 2008 12:47 am

I am using Gimp. Photoshop is too expesive for me…

March 30, 2008 4:59 am

Why photoshop? I use GIMP from five years ago, and it’s fantastic

;-)

March 30, 2008 7:24 am

The figures presented in the article are not correctly presented.
They should be presented per region.
I live in Thailand. Here piracy is at an estimated 95%.
If you want to get a legal copy of anything, you have to get it online and use a credit card.
Nobody bothers, as it available in any shop in any city for $5.
Same goes for Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos…etc.
Nobody feels bad about it.

March 30, 2008 8:54 am


I have a grudge against Kodak. Although I was able to tranfer pics from camera to computer under Linux (with Digikam and Gphoto) I could find nothing that worked under W2K, which my wife uses. I ended up downloading and installing Easy Share software which is bloated beyond comprehension. I had found FOSS utilities for Canon camers and a couple of others, but nothing for Kodak. Oh well, the camera was a gift to my wife and she likes what she can now do.

March 30, 2008 1:10 pm

“Although, there’s probably some percentage of free software users who have pirated copies of commercial software.”

If you take into account the small percentage of people who use “Freedomware” based Operating systems exclusively. Then take into account how much $$ it takes and the pain in the ass M$ based applications are to keep running let alone running on said FOSS operating systems. It becomes a bit clearer why people using Freedomware are not pirating. The other contributing factor is that a lot of people who use Photoshop use a fraction of the features that PS offers. So when they upgrade to a Freedomware based OS such as Linux or BSD and stumble into The GIMP, Digikam, Fspot, Krita or…? they are perfectly content. Especially when these Freedomware applications in many cases are easier to use.

The other aspect while not as easily proven is that people who utilize Freedomware are more clever than the people who use proprietary applications. The result being they would never be stupid enough to participate in the above mentioned poll. :p :D

March 30, 2008 2:40 pm

Great article! I’ve always wondered about this. I had pirated Photoshop at home for years, but never felt comfortable using it for paid work. I never used it much at home. I always felt like I should bite the bullet and buy the design suite, but every time I thought about it, talked about it, a friend would talk me out of it and offer a pirated copy.

I finally decided to get all non- pirated software for my home computer last year. This time I didn’t breather a word about it before I bought it. I started by buying an older copy of Photoshop with an unused serial number on Ebay. Then I bought the upgrade to the Adobe Suite I wanted. It saved me about $400. A few months later I landed a freelance job coloring comics. I wish I’d gone legal 5 years ago.

March 30, 2008 4:45 pm



I have never used photoshop. I have seen it and it is very heavy. I am a linux/bsd (on my desktops) user and I maintain my OSS windows laptop. The image processing sofftware I use is

Linux/BSD
ImageJ
Price
Cenon
ImageMagick
GIMP
(gnome/kde defaults for quick photo viewing)
Windows
Paint.Net
ImageJ
ImageMagick
GIMP

March 31, 2008 1:02 am


I know many many people who use Photoshop and not one have ever paid for it, the only time I have used a legal version was at work. But of course it stems wider than just Photoshop. Very few people buy software and as I work in I.T people ask me to get hold of programs for them, without any thought that is is breaking the law. Course I say no as I moved over to Linux and Open source about 4 years ago now. I do let these people know of the legal and free alternatives, but they look at me asif I am speaking another language. Shame, well lock them up in jail or fine their asses, they are after all committing a crime.

March 31, 2008 3:46 am


Price is obviously a big factor in users choosing not to pay for the software they use. I’ve often wondered why Adobe and other companies don’t offer a personal use or non-commercial license (with little or no support) at a much lower price to encourage those who are willing to pay but can’t afford full price to buy their software. Back when I was using Windows, I would have gladly paid something close to the academic price for legal copies of some of the software I couldn’t afford or couldn’t justify the price.

However, for me this no longer matters as I’ve switched entirely to Linux for my home computers and most software companies refuse to support Linux. Fortunately, GIMP and other open source software has proven to be good enough to meet my needs and I can live without those companies.

March 31, 2008 12:59 pm

I have seen some post with people proving that this Pirates are not bad for Adobe because Adobe can make profit of it anyway.

It may be true, but it don´t matter. It is not from Adobe they are stealing but from us. All that pay for PS are paying for those who didn’t and all user of Gimp are getting less support because someone choices to steal instead of using what have been given to them. It is a shame, but next time you see someone doing that remember who they are stealing from, it is not Adobe, it is YOU!

March 31, 2008 3:21 pm



Because cracking it is so simple, I cracked Dreamweaver and PS (to test) in less than 5 minutes.

April 1, 2008 5:18 pm






It is funny that there is such quite desperation to possess software you either can’t afford or don’t want to pay for. I am willing to bet most who get it, or must have it don’t really need or use it. One day Photoshop will be an online only app and paypal will be your friend.

Gimp is really useful. I also use Xara Xtreme , Krita and mtPaint. What’s Photpshop?

April 5, 2008 8:08 pm





I use to pirate and now will use opensource programs. I will make them better and win the heart of people.Why do we nid to pay when tools are available to us.

April 16, 2008 9:48 pm

It is steeling by man’s standard. All a program is are 1′s and 0′s. How can you truthfully make money. It is a law passed by man so they can take your money. They hide the recipe and will not let you change it. Why do we have to pay for numbers.

April 16, 2008 9:55 pm

I haven’t read all the comments here, but out of the first few I agree that Tim Solly is right. His is an opinion I’ve heard many times before. Back in the old days, Adobe didn’t seem to pay that much attention to pirates. A lot of people thought that it was because the more people who used PS, the more people would eventually buy it. I think it has become an industry standard for just that reason. A lot of people grew up with PS because the cracks were so prevalent; they pirated it when they were kids, went to college, and now those kids that are working in the graphic design industry probably have legit copies. The ones who still have PS and don’t make a profit from it, are probably just hobbyists who would never buy PS anyway, even if it was impossible to get illegally. I’ve always said that if I ever started doing work for profit I would pay for the software I was using, and this is actually the case now. Just in time too, because the DRM for Adobe is getting a little crazy right now.

BTW Marcos, the reason people don’t support GIMP, is because PS is better. Given the choice, we’d all take PS, don’t deny it.

April 16, 2008 11:28 pm

Anonymoose,
Yes. I know it is. People don’t support Gimp because PS is better, but it is a kind of cyclic problem here. If home users like you would use more Gimp other than use *stolen* PS then Gimp would be better. I don’t want to sound rude, I just want to make people think about it. I know that it requires a change of mind. I change of the way that we use software.

Is PS really better if you have to pay for it? If yes, then just pay for it. It if fair.
If not and you just use it illegally then it will not be Adobe that is loosing here. It is me and all people who are being nice to you and giving their time and skills so you could have a good tool for a fair price.

Price? Yes. Gimp is not free. It is paid by your supporting of just using it and help making it better.
I think it is a fair price. What do you think?

April 18, 2008 1:09 pm

Being the professional computer people. The gentlemen at Adobe must be fully aware how easy it is to crack the activate procedure. I did the same for years till I became competent in photoshop and people started to pay me money for my work. I could not afford not to have a legal copy. I see it as a classical case of puppy dog selling (How do you get rid of a puppy, you let it stay overnight at a friend’s house). I did buy the creative suite bundle and I think it is the best money I have ever spent. Photoshop, Indesign and Illustrator are bundled together for $ 1450- . Regards

April 19, 2008 9:13 am

This goes to show just how unfairly expensive the software is. If they were to drop the price, more people would buy it, so then in the end they might not lose as much money as they fear, and may in fact gain more money.

It’s really hard if you want to start your own business, then you need to get legitimate software and with the prices so high it creates a formidable entry barrier requiring you to be upperclass rich to get started. What a way of keeping the rich rich and the poor poor. This is WRONG!!!!

April 19, 2008 9:13 pm


Bullshit. %99 of them are.

May 2, 2008 6:10 am

Yeah I agree with Yourmom… Everyone I’ve met has a pirated photoshop… I mean it’s so easy to pirate it only takes a minute once the software has been downloaded. I bet if I were to download it right now I’d have a photoshop cs3 advanced in my pc in less that 30 minutes.

I’m not saying that I have a pirated software.. I’m just saying 99.9% percent of people have a pirated adobe program, the other .1% are LIARS.

May 4, 2008 5:28 pm


Adobe has made some fine aquistions lately. I believe Macromedia did a better job with open source like working with the Eclipse project, creating developer editions of server products, an allowing limited use of non-production applications. Hopefully Adobe wil survey their portfolio and notice the happier users of former Macromedia products.

May 15, 2008 9:57 pm

People don’t support Gimp because PS is better

May 23, 2008 3:58 pm

Well in my opinion people should give chance to other similar tools, even if they’re not industry standard as Photoshop is. For example Pixel is a very nice “clone” of Photoshop and even works on Linux and other operating systems. http://www.kanzelsberger.com … well it’s not exactly Photoshop, but very similar and it’s better to try it out with reasonable price, then pirating overpriced Photoshop…

June 12, 2008 9:12 am

It is amazing how many photoshop users have a pirated copy. If you are a student, you can get a great deal on photoshop through college, because they give hefty student discounts. You can get the entire CS3 Suite for $300 at my school.

June 23, 2008 6:01 pm

I find it amusing to see so many concerned “Adobe should do this and this” comments here. Whatever Adobe is doing is working quite well for them, wouldn’t you say? Photoshop is the industry standard, the single most used piece of digital editing software. And professionals have no choice but to shell out the bucks if they want as much as a fighting chance.
Adobe doesn’t mind having freeloading pirates, they have judged, and rightly so, maintaining industry standard status to be far more valuable.

If they really wanted to stop piracy, they would. Think of the drug market– why yes, it is immoral, and illegal. But if the ones administering the whole mafia weren’t making massive amounts of profit, perhaps then we wouldn’t have it.

Adobe’s happy to get a monopoly on the market, amateurs are happy to get their free software, and avid goody-two-shoes get a pat on the head and a warm fuzzy feeling. Everybody wins.
So there’s really nothing to complain about.

July 2, 2008 7:55 pm

@mittens
Everybody wins? What about the people who make cheaper software? They aren’t winning, they are losing money because people who are in their market choose to pirate PS instead.

July 13, 2008 7:23 pm

Everyone is talking about the expensive full-scale Photoshop. What about the very INexpensive “Photoshop Elements”?
When I give presentations at our local clubs, I always use PSE and encourage folks to buy that — rather than PS. For a tenth the price you get most of the features. I never crack PS anymore, although I’ve had it for years, because PSE is so good.

July 21, 2008 9:05 am


i do agree with all the views and ideas comparing the open source versus the pirated photoshop….we can use photoshop if and only their price would go lower and by that time in return they can gain more money and profit afterall and the increase of legal users will be improved rather than the users pirating it.just lower the cost and everybody will avail of it….by then you can improved the percentages of those valid users of the product..

August 28, 2008 12:31 am


Hi, now you can download a lot of nulled software via torrents. I also do not have any moral issues having a pirated copy of Photoshop. The reason: a product wich has a lot of “heavy” features and high price. I usually use Xara for photo and vector editing. thanks.

September 14, 2008 10:17 am


Pirating software is stealing. There’s really no argument against that. My response to the most common “Pirating from Adobe is OK” arguments is posted at TheLightroomLab.com.

October 3, 2008 12:50 pm

we can still be very much happy with legal softwares!!!
legal softwares here mean opensource and freeware
they are really worthy and comparable to the commercial versions

but honestly i think for one who makes money from Adobe should buy it

October 6, 2008 11:55 am

We have published a web based photo editing and drawing app at http://www.sumopaint.com. It is totally free to use and has all basic features from Photoshop and some unique tools too. There’s no need for PS soon, cause we are updating more features almost every week :)

October 20, 2008 3:57 am



They need a better way to protect the software, there is always going to be pirates when it s so expensive

November 10, 2008 5:58 pm

I am sure the numbers are the same across the entire spectrum of software. It is just so difficult to try and prevent piracy of software. Some companies have even resorted to paying industry groups to raid companies suspected of using pirated software. But, the good news is that 40% of software users are not thiefs.

November 23, 2008 8:56 pm


At times I wonder whether these photo editing/imaging tools are rightly priced. $600 or $700 may be too high for amateurs though if you are a professional user that’s reasonable.

I used a licensed version of photoshop’s trimmed down version (Photo Deluxe or so) sometime ago but can’t afford the latest full version. I am using the open source GIMP now, though it’s the worst in userfriendliness it has tremendous power if you are ready to digg out its features :)

I am rather new here. Do you have any comparitive reviews of this tools here on this blog?

Cheers,
Ajith

December 14, 2008 9:40 pm


The thing that really gets me is that the vast majority of photoshop users don’t really need it, unless you are editing or desiging in a professional capacity there really is no need for software such as photoshop, a previous post suggested paintshop pro as a good alternative and he/she is completely right, unless it is absolutely nessisary, alternatives are available for casual users. I can whole heartedly admit that i have had pirated copies of photoshop and flash, I am a freelance graphic designer and animatior and as such i can’t afford to pay €600 for photoshop and €400 for flash, even when i have bought flash legally in the past the ugrade charge from say, 8 to CS4 is still pretty steep. If in a position where i had my own studio, i would not hesitate to pay for these products or if they were more hionestly priced

December 20, 2008 7:28 am

At the least, Photoshop community can be as huge as it is now because everyone, including people who can’t afford it, are able to work with it, spread news about it, create tutorials, etc.

There is always the good side of every story. I think. :)

January 8, 2009 9:16 am

I am not surprised with the number of Pirates for Photoshop. I sometimes feel they have made it such an expensive tool, that many of us like me, found GIMP as very good open source alternative for Photoshop.

January 10, 2009 12:32 pm

I have to say that doesn’t surprise me. I’m enrolled in a design program at college and I’d say that most students (probably 80% or more) pirate Photoshop (and other Adobe programs). The educational pricing isn’t bad (I think the prices depend on the school, though… I know some top art colleges offer the entire Adobe Suite for $300 or less), but it’s still not very affordable for some students who are having financial trouble. My version of Photoshop is legit, thankfully, but some of my other design software is not because I just can’t afford it currently. I am using it to learn and not to make money. Plus, I am paying tuition and that, in turn, pays for licenses for the school lab which I use. I am not a big fan of piracy, but I do think that if you’re using the software to learn and not to make a profit, there is no problem if you really cannot afford the educational pricing and will buy the product in the future when you’re working in the design industry or wherever. I think if you’re using the software for commercial purposes then you should definitely buy it. Just my two cents.

January 28, 2009 4:33 am

I’m suprised that the number of pirated copies are this low. Non of my friends (expect my graphic dssign teacher) spends $600 dollars on a piece of software. High school kids in my town drive range rover and M5′s here, the worst car on senior lot is probably a new jetta. Is not that our parents can’t afford photoshop, it’s jus wayyyyyy too easy to get it for free, easier than opening my mouth and ask my dad. Someone dropped a diamond ring and got on a NYC taxi and drove away, would u keep the ring or would u risk your life and chase after the taxi?

so for high school kids, we either never use photoshop, or downloaded a copy for free.

one reason that your poll is biased is that people who actually paid 600 bucks are more likely to vote just to justify their spending.

February 9, 2009 2:16 pm

I totally believe these statistics. How could so many people out there doing graphic design and web design afford this type of software. It’s really a shame that there are not more open source solutions that are robust as Photoshop.

February 13, 2009 12:36 pm

Software piracy is becoming a huge issue for software developers. In the case of photoshop maybe they wouldn’t have all these pirates using their photo editing software is the price was lower.

February 18, 2009 10:40 am

Anyone who doesn’t pirate for personal use is retarded. Photoshop CS4 is 699 freakin dollars! God, for that price it should come with a complimentary blowjob from a porn star of your choice.

February 22, 2009 11:40 am

Heh, I’d have to agree with Lucas, somewhat. It is a very expensive tool and most people cannot afford it. Although it has limitless possibilities as for the things you can do with it, so perhaps i can see things from their angle too.

March 4, 2009 3:53 pm

The thing with photoshop is the cheaper version is still $699. For $699 I can build a whole new computer. For the $1000 CS4 my computer would scream. I think that unless I win the lottery, Photoshop Elements or GIMP are my only choices. Adobe needs to get a clue about the real world.

March 7, 2009 2:33 am

Wow, shocking statistics, was never aware of how popular adobe photoshop was for a privated program. It even out weighed legal sales!

April 3, 2009 8:38 pm

This is definitely a fascinating article. I have had many conversations with friends about pirating and then buying Adobe products. I never considered the implications that there is a huge community those are using Pirates Software , Not just Adobe also other open source too … Well great survay brian

April 30, 2009 7:35 am

I have to agree that PS is a bit overpriced. There are comparable programs that will accomplish the same or similar tasks.

The plus side of purchasing a legal copy is the fact that you can have clear conscience.

May 1, 2009 7:34 am

The thing is, can anybody pay $700 for photoshop? I didn’t technically pirate it, I download the demo and type in random codes until it lets me in. But are any of you seriously surprised that 60% of users are piraters? It’s ADOBE that has driven users to this. If they could charge a reasonable price, then nobody would bother to pirate it.

May 2, 2009 11:27 am


I started out using PS Elements, when I needed the flexibility of masking, etc. I moved up to PS CS2, purchased direct from Adobe, I’ve also upgraded to CS4. While I had a discount that allowed me to purchase for about $575, still a lot to shell out, I purchased it. I looked at it from the perspective of 1.) being legal 2.) I intended to sell my photography, so I wanted to be legal. I have since purchased LR 2, again straight from Adobe. As a NAPP member there are several discounts that become available. While there will never be a half price sale, if you want a professional tool, you’ll pay a professional price as others have mentioned. Addobe does offer a product for the casual user who wants to do a little touch up, it’s called Photoshop Elements, it sells for under $100. Someone mentioned the DRM that Adobe uses, I’ve never had a problem to re-enter my code if I re-format my computer. I don’t understand all the excuses people use to pirate this software.

May 27, 2009 11:20 am

I can see people pirating Photoshop I mean come on, a $600 price tag is just too much for such a program. It’s not like it costs a lot of money to produce!

July 2, 2009 2:24 pm

I found these statistics and the replying photographer’s comments very interesting!

I am not a photographer, but I have had a long career working with graphics in the fashion industry. Through that experience and observations I have noticed that most people don’t even realize that they can recolor a clip art or combine 2 images to make their own customized one. Graphic programs like Photoshop are intimidating to most computer users unless they are professionally trained and now I see that even professional photographers resist buying PS because of the price.

I found this blog in a search looking for statistics on PS users. I am doing a market analysis for my business because I have developed an easy-to-learn-and use graphics software program named Graphics-Toolbox. Even though PS is the industry standard for photographers, it is not a graphic software solution for the average computer user. I had hoped to figure out a % of computer users around the world that use PS. Has anyone seen a statistic like that?

Graphics-Toolbox may also interest some of you to supplement your existing programs. It is fast and easy for tonal color changes and grouping colors/ reducing colors. You can check it out on my website at http://www.greatsoftwaretools.com.

Thanks for your help!

July 21, 2009 1:48 pm

I recently purchased PSCS4 even though I am not a professional photographer only because people were starting to show interesting in purchasing my work and also because I will be doing a wedding (though it’s very casual) this weekend. I essentially figured, if I’m going to make ANY money off my photography, I should be using legitimate copies of any software I use to edit the photos. I bought Lightroom 2 a while ago so I was covered there but there are some stuff that you just can’t do in LR…

It IS ridiculously expensive for the amateur or hobbyist though. I wish they had a better pricing scheme. Like $300 (cost of LR2) for personal use limited to 3 computers or something while the $700 is for enterprise use or something along those lines. Of course then it’s a matter of when are you for home and when are you for enterprise and so on…but I think it might decrease the number of copies pirated.

Then again, a friend of mine who graduated with a degree in design told me her professor at college was basically telling the students to pirate PS since Adobe doesn’t seem to mind…

Yikes…

August 12, 2009 9:50 am

I find this a very interesting study. I long though that Photoshop was the most pirated software out there… and this just backs that up!

October 5, 2009 7:39 am

Somehow that does not surprise me at all. I have to use photoshop for work so it is sort of a requirement that I have a legal copy. But I’ve got friends and even my brother has an illegal copy of photoshop so I know there is a ton of it out there.

November 17, 2009 4:36 pm

first off, love the picture of the cat! All that really is missing is the eye patch lol. And second, I’m really surprised at the percentages of the illegal copies, you would figure the number would be something like 70-30

November 20, 2009 8:49 am

“Brian Auer is a photography enthusiast from San Diego, California. He’s also the guy behind the Epic Edits Weblog. As a hobbyist photographer since 2003, his passion has been to constantly improve his photography skill set, to share his own knowledge with others, and to become an integral part of the photographic community.”

Maybe Brian should start by holding the camera to his eye

November 27, 2009 1:50 pm

Why?

November 27, 2009 2:35 pm

Nate:

Care to elaborate?

November 27, 2009 10:25 pm

wolf_brigade, you of all people should know. I think he means like this:

wolf_brigade, YOU DOIN IT RIGHT!

November 28, 2009 12:01 am

I decided to download both CS2 and Lightroom. I treated that process as a shareware evaluation. I know neither of them are shareware but I wasn’t going to drop ~£1000 on two pieces of software I wasn’t sure I really needed.

So, what happened? The programs were dutifully installed, I played with them both and then bought Lightroom outright and decided I needed almost all of PS but not ALL of it, so I bought PS Elements.

I’m a happy bunny. Adobe made two sales to someone who knew he was going to be a happy client. If the “hooky” software wasn’t available I would NOT have bought either of them and gone to GIMP or Paint.net or stayed with Canon’s own apps. This is an example of piracy INCREASING sales…

November 28, 2009 12:17 am

That is so funny…..I use photoshop essentials and I’ve been wanting to upgrade to the real deal. I wouldn’t feel right pirating a copy though…I dunno why….I just wouldn’t.

Great article.

November 28, 2009 7:06 am

If you pirated photoshop, you’re a criminal. I’ve paid for CS1 and all the upgrades since. I have a clean conscience and you’re a dirty filthy terrorist criminal. I’d gladly pay double what I paid because it’s just the cost of doing business and the software pays for itself. Adobe doesn’t care that much about pirates because they’ll never become pro like me.

December 14, 2009 8:41 am

There are dozens of phony Adobe products all over the eBay. Some CS4 Ex
tended pirated copies are going for less than $200.00 and, these counterfeits are coming in from Southern Europe but, most of these scam-diggers are straight from the boats sailing from China. A belligerent act of war in my book!

Adobe maintains that only PhotoShop CS4 Extended that come from an “Authorized Reseller” of Adobe products are able to be registered and used with the online benefits. Therefore, one never really knows if the installed copy can be registered and work beyond the second time the program is started. The “Serial Number” is what you need to use the program. These numbers are available on the phony clones packages – but, once Adobe’s massive computers find it to be a bogus number . . . ZAP! The program will not work on the next time you open it.

I was burned personally on two occasions with purchases on the eBay. I have heard from dozens of buyers that experienced the same while trying to save a little money by using the eBay. eBay and PayPal are little help in this. However, they did see that I was refunded over $500.00 in wasted purchases.

After all that . . . I ended up buying Adobe Creative Suite 4 – Master Collection straight from Adobe’s website. $2500.00 !

john harris

December 29, 2009 3:56 am

LOL adobe knows that there software is pirated and is ok with that . They even mentioned it in press conference. This is the reason behind it. A million people pirate it in the industry and become great at the software. Of those million a percentage gets jobs in the field requiring the use of an editing software. Employer buys photoshop instead of another software because the new employees are already comfortable with it. ya see Photoshop was always meant as a pro tool for professionals and companies so everyone pirating the software is just seen as training the companies dont have to pay for and a way of photoshop taking top billing as the editing software of choice.

January 27, 2010 10:45 am

If the tools are great the increased productivity pays for itself.

February 2, 2010 11:58 am

Adobe does not market to the amateur… at ALL. They are company that makes PROFESSIONAL tools. Asking them to lower the price to something like $200-$300, as mentioned above, is ridiculous.
if we are amateur maybe coral draw is better option

February 5, 2010 4:20 pm

Maybe Adobe is not so stupid. They charge enough so that one purchase pays for ten, at their cost. who’s stealing from whom?

February 9, 2010 3:39 pm

A lot of people want to justify their personal loss based on their morals and fear. How many of you “graphic designers” or photographers are selling your work to horrible companies? (You’d have to to afford your investment). I bet a ton of you are airbrushing natural blemishes off of nude models. Hail the pirates! Photoshop should be handed out like crayons to increase the collective creative potential. Point is, I am 60% more interested in what the thieves create with it than the professionals. PirArt.

February 16, 2010 2:35 am


Would your positive view of software piracy change if you were an employee of Adobe? How about a shareholder? Or an employee of a firm that supplied raw materials to Adobe? I don’t fit into any of those categories, but I am another key stakeholder: a legal user of their software.

You’ve probably guessed that I have absolutely no patience for software pirates and their rationalizations. Theft is theft, whether it’s a material product, an idea, or a piece of software.

June 19, 2010 11:59 am

The first Adobe software I used was pirated optained through my daughter’s friend’s brother. My daughter had a 3 megapixel canon camera. I used it to crop images and adjust size and colour. I also made a diagram of a tree of world languages for my History of English class. For a couple of years I played with it a bit. I glanced at other programs, like GIMP, but liked PS better. Given that I am in my last year of university I bought the web suite. I never would have done so had I not tried the pirated copy. I never would have bought had I not had access to student pricing. I bought it as a personal toy during retirement. Part of the reason I prefer it is the wealth of information available on how to use it. Because I am just playing the tutorials and tips are fun to explore. When I want to do something specific I can usually find excellent instructions on how to accomplish it.

Another poster mentioned many open source and inexpensive solutions for various parts of the Adobe system but that also requires learning a lot of new interfaces.

I don’t consider it my moral duty or responsibility to “help develop” less expensive or free software. That’s a personal choice not a moral imperative. Likewise, there is some debate concerning intellectual property rights and how closely they can be compared to physical property rights. Patents run out on medicines. Books become public ownership I think 50 years after the death of the author? The details don’t matter. The point is that it is our politicians who decide what the rules are, supposedly on our behalf. Should it be possible to patent living things? Genetically altered life?

As to the theory that those who pay are paying for those who don’t, hogwash. If all piracy stopped tomorrow Adobe would not lower the price. They charge what the market can bear.

August 11, 2010 6:26 pm

Well I have an original copy of photohsop on my desktop I use to do my job but before starting working I used to use a pirate version cuz the price of the authorization of the original photoshop is the biggest abuse of price. Who would pay 700 dollars for a single program? or 2500 for the criative pack. Adobe is a funny jope when we talk about prices so I think they deserve having their programs copied to learn about peoples money ans till they understand people wwont pay that much for an sofware they will keep having this problem.

October 18, 2010 7:02 am

It is not that surprising to see that astronomically priced software is copied and used for home use. Who has that amount of money these days? As a struggling web designer, I try to use what ever free apps that will do the job. GIMP is great, but it is NOT Photoshop.

In my case I bought Photoshop many versions back (pre-CS) and paid the top dollar for it. Then the unspeakable happened and my original copy was destroyed and my hard drive crashed! I called Adobe to ask them for replacement copies since I paid and REGISTERED the software only to be told “We are sorry that happened. We do not keep your serial number on file and your registration information is not stored in a database. So go and pay for the current version all over again!”

Back in the days of PS5, 6, 7 I did pay! Each and every time and CS was just being announced. So I bought a copy at a secondhand software store. So now I had my copy for less than $50 but the serial number was not in the box! I had the license agreement and an empty registration card with no serial number. What else can you do? I found a serial number on the web. And since Adobe had my registration info but did not care to even look it up, that is when they slapped me in the face to say “Pay High for what we want you to have and too bad for you sucker if you believed we are here to help you! All we want is to empty your wallet!”

After paying thousands of dollars on software when I could afford it, even then I said “Never again!”

I do not register software anymore! All software companies treat you about the same. I think it is because they believe and know you are going to steal from them. When in reality, they are stealing from the very users that support them.

So I wave the banner of Open Source! But if I need more than what it can do, I would have no problem paying for software and registering it, if that protects me. I bought and paid for the license to install and use the software. I would not even mind if they charged me a small fee for sending replacement CDs. I believe it would be better for Customer Service to just give you a temporary link to re-download it. And email you your serial number. And upgrades should not cost half an arm and a foot either. And most companies have an “Enterprise” or “Corporate” version that they charge big money for. If I need the corporate version, and I own a large business, no problem! But as a personal/home user that buys software, I want to know that my significant investment is protected. Not treated as “So sad too bad for you!” attitude. That makes me mad and I feel taken advantage of! So I will just download it and find a serial number! I say “DOWN with High priced software!” But YOU Adobe have thrown the gauntlet down to turn me into Captain Jack of software. And I despise you for it!

November 15, 2010 1:43 pm

This is not surprising at all, and even with the ridicules price tag I would still buy Adobe products if Adobe wasn’t such a terrible company. I bought PS 6 way back, and being a poor artiest I had so save hard for it. I bought it direct and and asked the guy on the phone…jokingly…”You aren’t gonna release PS 7 next month or anything?HA HA” And was told absolutely not. Well, of course, 3 days later they gave their surprise announcement. See the new PS7 In Stores Now!! I was 2 weeks away from receiving my order so I called Adobe to see if they would change it to PS7 as it was released for $400 less than Version 6 . I was of course told to PISS OFF! However in there infinite graciousness they offered me 10% off the up grade to 7, and were nice enough offer it shipping included with the PS6 I ordered as it had not left the factory yet! So I swore I would never pay for an Adobe Product again! I use many and not one is paid for! Now I can afford any software I want, but Adobe can PISS OFF. CS5 Master Collection up and running … Yo Ho Ho!!!

November 20, 2010 8:38 am

You can use the student license commercially according to their forums, you just can’t upgrade it.

November 28, 2010 11:26 am

You actually needed to do research to figure this out? Wow. After years or research by University of Connecticut Medical students, they have come to the shocking conclusion that water is wet!

This is the furthest thing from a shocking fact imaginable. The shocking part is that it is as close to 50/50 as it is. I would have figured closer to 70/30 if not worse than that.

December 29, 2010 8:04 pm

You know what? I have a pirated version of it, and I’m really tempted to actually support them. That’s one of the good reasons of it, despite that pirating is stealing no matter what. But I’m comfortable with using Photoshop the most, and the Adobe workers knew that people would tend to buy their stuff, even with all the pirating. That is, when I start earning money… I do think however, $1000 is much for a drawing program, but I guess there are reasons. (Like this) It’s a really open-ended topic and you have to look at this both ways; as a consumer and the producer. They can lower the price, but that may not change the amount of buyers. People can buy it, but that may not stop the high prices. Piracy can probably raise profit depending on certain outcomes or it may lower it. People can barely use it, some people make a job out of it Some people believe in piracy as others may not. It’s all a balance… What else can you do? Obviously sitting on your computer reading this or commenting will not change anything. (Yes that includes me)

January 28, 2011 9:06 pm

First of all, your numbers are SKEWED.

You have 2 graphs to enhance the percentage numbers of your resulting poll.

The first graph shows that 87% of people use software while 13% do not.

Your second graph is based on 100% of software using people, not 87%.

This allows you to bump up your numbers to a 58% / 42% ratio.

The first blue graph is totally, absolutely 100% IRRELEVANT. It’s there to fool or distract everyone.

You included the first blue graph just so you could conclude to a more preferable ratio for what you’re trying to prove.

If you actually use the real numbers, then your percentage drops to close to 50/50.

Right???

Right.

Bullsh*t claims as usual. I read it everyday in the papers, hear it everyday on the radio and see it everyday on TV.

You’re just another one on that B.S. list.

January 30, 2011 12:12 am

Read the title of the article again… the key point being “Photoshop USERS”. If you replace that key phrase with the word “Everybody” then you’re correct. But in this case, you are not.

Chill out. I’m just presenting the results of a poll we ran here on the blog. It’s not the end of the world. And though I’m not a statistician by profession, I think I can put together some simple graphs to present simple numbers… I’ve done it once or twice before.

February 13, 2011 10:33 pm

It costs way too much for someone who isn’t using it to make a living. So if your not using it professionally just download the 30 day trail or a pirate version…I think adobe knows this but they don’t care as long as the professionals pay up.

March 10, 2011 7:07 am

Some logical thoughts:

1. 60% is using pirated copies because they CAN’T PAY the extremely high price,
AND / OR their use of the software is MINIMAL and it doesn’t justify to pay such a high price.

2. The rest 40% CAN pay for it AND use it a lot, most of them being professionals or fanatic hobbyist photographers / artists.

3.If NO pirated copies existed, that 60% would NOT buy the software, they would look elsewhere, e.g for freeware, or for quality low cost shareware like Paint Shop Pro.

4. So actually, 60% pirates means THEY CAN’T BUY IT / IT DOESN’T WORTH THE PRICE FOR THEM.

BTW, I personally have paid for the software because I had professional reasons to do so.

March 24, 2011 5:42 am

I learned and mastered Photoshop in my spare time fooling around in high school. In college, it helped influence me in majoring in industrial design. At the start of my career, resume didn’t matter as much as my portfolio showing my skills as they were looking for proficiency in Photoshop. All thanks to pirated Photoshop, it ‘s a very popular toy for kids, which in turn makes them very good using it and gets free advertising showing the software’s creative potential, which gets the attention of companies, who can benefit from already skillful and plentiful workers, uses the software. u mad about the business strategy, bro?

March 27, 2011 2:56 pm

There’s two things to understand:

1. Disabling piracy does not translate into more sales; most of the time people who have pirated copies cannot afford to buy Photoshop and would not buy Photoshop even if it was the only way they could use it.

2. Piracy helps Photoshop remain a major platform unaffected by smaller contestants. Because it is accessible free of charge for a number of users, everyone uses Photoshop. Because everyone uses Photoshop, in the enterprise, where having a pirated license is not an option, you have to buy Photoshop for your artists; it’s the only software they know.

In other words, while Adobe may not be inclined at making it super easy for people to pirate their software, they certainly aren’t inclined at pursuing users who couldn’t even pay for the software anyway. Probably the main reason the licensing mechanisms are so complex in Adobe software is not to prevent piracy but to track high profile commercial users so that they do pay.

The result? 3.8 billion US in revenue for 2010. Do you really think that, now, knowing this, Adobe cares?

April 1, 2011 12:23 pm

GimpShop is sooooo much better than Photoshop… AND it’s 100% free :D

May 4, 2011 12:04 pm

Comment now!
















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