Why Draconian DRM sucks and Adobe sucks even more

On November 6, 2009, in Technology, by Administrator

I’ll admit to coveting an Android phone today. Not because it is a better device than my iPhone (it isn’t) and not because I want to be on the Verizon network. I was interested in the Droid phone because I am getting extremely frustrated with protectionist DRM systems and the policies Apple is using to keep applications like Google Voice out of the App Store.

Over the past weeks I’ve had a very frustrating experience with Adobe and DRM locks they have put on my system that even Adobe can’t seem to remove. It all started when I decided to upgrade my operating system to Snow Leopard and here’s the time line of how it all went down.

1) I de-authorized my copy of Adobe CS3 prior to the installation. Since Adobe is restricted to running on only two computers (and a copy was already running on my laptop) I figured this would be the safe thing to do. Once the install was done I could re-authorize, or in the worse-case scenario re-install Creative Suite.

2) The operating system upgrade went off without a hitch.

3) When I tried to launch Adobe, I did not get the following message: “Licensing for the Product has stopped working….please contact Adobe support.”

4) I uninstalled CS 3 and re-installed. Same error.

5) Tried multiple combinations of uninstall, reboot, reinstall. Same issue. What is annoying is I don’t even get a prompt to enter a license key, it just tells me it has stopped working.

6) I search the Internet and find a tool from Adobe to completely wipe all Adobe software from my computer. I run this multiple times with re-installs, reboots, etc. Same exact error.

7) I contact Adobe support via the website as requested. The email me a PDF response (seriously, a PDF!?!) telling me to call.

8) I call and spend 75 minutes waiting to talk to tech support. When I finally get through they have me run a new wipe program that they link me too. Wipe, reboot, re-install, same error over and over. The tech support guy finally gives up and says he will escalate to Tier 2 and they will call within 24 hours.

9) 48 hours later I get a PDF from the again! This time it says they tried to call me (a lie as my caller ID show no such call) and that I need to call them back.

10) I try multiple times, but after an hour give up as I have other things to tend too.

11) I log in to try and update my ticket online to find it has been CLOSED!

12) In frustration, I buy a copy of Creative Suite 4 thinking I’ll just install that and be done with it (not a wise strategy I understand).

13) Install CS4 and I get the same error!

It is obvious to me that Adobe has put some sort of DRM lock on my computer that even they can’t get rid of. This is completely unacceptable and borders on criminal. I own legitimate licenses to Adobe CS2, CS3, and CS4, yet I am unable to run them on my computer due to some draconian DRM that even Adobe can’t kill.

At this point, I’m looking at having to just reinstall the OS to try and get rid of the lock. This will be a huge inconvenience as I have dozens of programs I will have to re-install and hundreds of gigabytes of data files that I’ll have to back-up and restore. I’ll probably give Adobe one more call when I can spare a few hours on the phone, but I’m seriously regretting my loyalty to Photoshop and wondering why I don’t just migrate to Pixelmator.

Adobe gets a big fail in my book. It’s a shame because they have some good products, but unfortunately the DRM policies prevent legitimate users from using the software they paid for (which costs thousands of dollars). Completely unacceptable.

(update: So it turns out that the error message I get with CS4 is slightly different than CS3 – a search of the CS4 error message reveals a whole slew of users having the same issue. Will be doing some Google tech support/troubleshooting from the forums tonight)


3 Responses to “Why Draconian DRM sucks and Adobe sucks even more”

  1. Djames says:

    I’m in similar predicament with CS5.5 after upgrading (and licensed) and I have to set up on a Mac & 2 pcs.

    In the office we just formatted all the pcs, and reinstalled both the OS and CS5.5. Also, on the mac, we gave up since we can’t seem to be licensed despite buying one. I just requested a replacement from our vendor.

  2. Ben Dover says:

    Adobe sucks in the first place, but now they want to update their product and have you reboot all the frickin time. Every 3 days now for reader. Is reading a freakin file that hard for Adobe AcroCrap? just delete this garbage from your PC………which of course requires a reboot 🙂 This product is TRASH.!!!

  3. Bandrik says:

    What a crock of bull. As a recent college graduate with a limited budget, I’m starting to regret purchasing a license to Creative Suite 4 Master Collection. Quite a hefty investment in something that could easily be a ticking time bomb that can quickly become unusable.

    This easily shows why piracy of Adobe products is so rampant and easy to access. While I do not officially condone software piracy, it may become an option out of necessity if their DRM locks you out of your legitimately purchased software.

    I fully sympathize with you. Since it’s been a few months since this post, I hope you were able to come up with a solution…

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