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Adobe has clarified controversial shrinkwrap license terms
#1    Adobe has clarified controversial shrinkwrap license terms, but the damage may have already been done
Mike Wuerthele | Jun 07, 2024    After a terms of service update that infuriated artists, and an initial statement that poured gasoline on the fire, Adobe has made a clear statement about its new use terms.
The last 48 hours have been tumultuous for Adobe. Early in the week of June 3, users of Adobe Creative Cloud pointed out that the new terms of service allowed Adobe to do whatever it wanted with users projects.

We saw that furor, and reached out to Adobe about it. Then, they issued an unclear statement on the matter, saying that the terms had always been this way.

"Adobe accesses user content for a number of reasons, including the ability to deliver some of our most innovative cloud-based features, such as Photoshop Neural Filters and Remove Background in Adobe Express, as well as to take action against prohibited content," the company said at the time. "Adobe does not access, view or listen to content that is stored locally on any user's device."

This didn't help, and didn't say anything about training AI at all. Especially considering that "Cloud" is the third word in the product name, and the statement didn't address that at all.

So, we wrote about it on Thursday after giving them a chance to explain themselves for three days, and getting nothing back. They finally said something concrete on Thursday night.

Access is needed for Adobe applications and services to perform the functions they are designed and used for (such as opening and editing files for the user or creating thumbnails or a preview for sharing).
Access is needed to deliver some of our most innovative cloud-based features such as Photoshop Neural Filters, Liquid Mode or Remove Background.
For content processed or stored on Adobe servers, Adobe may use technologies and other processes, including escalation for manual (human) review, to screen for certain types of illegal content (such as child sexual abuse material), or other abusive content or behavior.
The Thursday post specifically says that "Adobe does not train Firefly Gen AI models on customer content" and "Adobe will never assume ownership of a customer's work."

This is all well and good. The latter wasn't really in question.

The former, however, is oddly specific. It's good that they made the statement that they aren't training Firefly with these materials.

What would have been better is a blanket statement saying that they won't use it for Firefly, and won't sell or license it to others to train their models. The other generative AI providers complain that properly licensing content to train models is too hard, so they shouldn't have to.

Adobe should be clear that they won't allow this.

The statement also doesn't address that the terms still seem to breach confidentiality agreements that artists may have signed, should they use cloud-based, well, anything, from Adobe. We'll see if that is addressed.

Based on our brief conversations this morning with attorneys that specialize in this kind of thing, it doesn't seem to be with Thursday's statement.

The company says that it will be clarifying the Terms of Use acceptance to reflect the details of Thursday's post. It's not clear when this is going to happen.

Adobe has an incredibly large platoon of lawyers, so it would have been better had they thought about this before.

The court of public opinion will get the final say
We're already seeing commentary on social media that Adobe got caught with their hands in the cookie jar, thus the statement. We're not sure about that, but regardless, the damage has been done.

For now, we can say that we've gotten a lot of emails overnight about our piece on Thursday. Most of them laid out multiple pain points with Adobe software above and beyond the terms of service update.

And, they claim to not be looking back after a switch. So, we'll see if this statement changes user sentiment.

Notably, Adobe didn't bother to email us about this statement. And, they have yet to respond to our emails about it on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.    Website status:


We combed through this website and everything looks good to us. You're safe!

Technical Information  McAfee WebAdvisor

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