Adobe's new terms of service unacceptably gives them access to all of your projects, for f...

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in Mac Software edited June 7

A new and mandatory terms of service approval for Adobe Creative Cloud requires users agree to the company getting free access to users' projects, for whatever they want to do with it. That's unacceptable.

Red Creative Cloud logo above Earth horizon with sunrise and starry sky background.
Adobe Creative Cloud is an industry giant



Companies periodically make changes to the terms of service for their products. Usually, this is to enable new features or to reflect changes in legal standing, such as regulatory orders.

In many cases, users will click to agree to them, sleepwalking into agreement without reading a single word. That's probably not wise to do this time, if you're an artist and have Adobe Creative Cloud.

At first glance, the changes enable Adobe to fight CSAM images and similar objectionable content. But, those same changes and other already existing elements open up some disturbing possibilities.

The changes grant Adobe the option to spy on a user's work, even works protected by confidentiality agreements. Or worse, it allows Adobe to suck up your art and roll it all into its generative AI tools, whether you like it or not.

Creative Spyware



In a notice of updates in the Terms of Use to users of its creative tools, Adobe says it has made some alterations to four sections. The pop-up appears as users access the apps, forcing them to agree to the new rules.

It states Adobe has "clarified that we may access your content through both automated and manual methods, such as for content review." This affects sections 2.2 and 4.1 of the document.

It has also modified section 5.3, updating how it has the right to "delete content for inactive accounts." That is the most reasonable change.

Also, section 14.1 has been changed to reduce the period to resolve disputes informally from 60 days to just 30. This is sketchy too, but not particularly terrible.

The pop-up further tells users that, by closing the window, they cannot continue to use Adobe apps and services. A single blue button is offered, to "Accept and Continue" using the software and agreeing to the conditions.

Users are faced with either agreeing to the new terms and being able to use the apps they handsomely pay Adobe for, or face being frozen out. Oh, and still pay, unless you cancel your service -- which can come with financial penalties.

Here's the worst though -- the update to section 2.2, "Our Access to Your Content," includes verbiage that Adobe "may access, view, or listen to your Content through both automated and manual methods, but only in limited ways, and only as permitted by law."

As examples, Adobe says it could need to access a user's content to "respond to Feedback or support requests." It may also do so to "detect, prevent, or otherwise address fraud, security, legal, or technical issues."

Adobe says it can also check content to enforce its terms of use.

The "Content," outlined in section 4.1, includes "any text, information, communication, or material, such as audio files, video files, electronic documents, or images, that you upload, import into, embed for use by, or create using the Services and Software."

Adobe Updated Terms of Use notification with key changes outlined and a blue button labeled
Adobe's updated Terms of Use notice



The wording doesn't completely rule out the monitoring of locally-stored files used in the applications. It certainly does cover anything that is stored in its cloud infrastructure.

As part of section 4.1, Adobe says it may use automated processes, manual review, and third-party vendors to review content.

Further adding to complainant woes is section 4.2, "Licenses to Your Content." This section wasn't changed, but the proximity to the updated section 4.1 brought more attention to it.

Section 4.2 states that users grant a "non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free sublicensable, license, to use, reproduce, publicly display, distribute, modify, create derivative works based on, publicly perform, and translate the Content."

Adobe offers as an example that it could sublicense the right to its service providers so that features can operate. This is somewhat consistent with other online services, such as social networks, which offer a similar justification to licensing.

AI and privacy concerns



The changes, as well as the increased focus on the licensing terms, are problematic. For a start, if a subscriber is under a non-disclosure agreement for their workplace or for clients, the Terms of Use gives Adobe the ability to look at the content.

Effectively, this breaks the NDA that the user agreed to.

There's also the problem of AI, as Adobe does offer Firefly and other AI-based tools to users. These have to be trained somehow.

The fear is that Adobe will use the language of the updated terms to justify the potential use of a user's projects and documents to feed its AI training. There is no language to prevent such a thing from happening within the Terms of Use.

There is a separate list of additional terms for Generative AI, though this doesn't include any language specifically mentioning how its AI is trained.

Ultimately, the language permits Adobe to reuse a user's NDA-protected content for training its AI systems. This is in no way a good thing for creatives to agree to at all.

Companies working on generative AI systems have been criticized for scraping content without permission, with most of them saying that it's too hard to properly license, and they shouldn't be held accountable for doing so. This led to complaints and lawsuits where data owners objected to the use of their data.

With the prospect of generative AI able to create images based on different styles and artists works, it quickly becomes a copyright nightmare that won't be resolved without judicial assistance.

Apple at least has decided to steer clear of the mess, by reportedly paying content holders for access. But that approach isn't being adopted elsewhere.

Critical responses include a scathing attack by designer Wetterschneider, who has worked with DC, Nike, and Ravensburger.

"If you are a professional, if you are under NDA with your clients, if you are a creative, a lawyer, a doctor or anyone who works with proprietary files - it is time to cancel Adobe, delete all the apps and programs. Adobe can not be trusted," the designer said.

Sam Santala, a concept artist, wasn't able to contact support staff to question the changes in the terms, unless they agreed to the terms first. "I can't even uninstall Photoshop unless I agree to these terms??" they added.

Not giving users the option to easily opt out of submitting work for AI training is a very bad move, especially in the current climate. For a small section of the creative community, Adobe has shot itself in the foot.

The fact that it's impossible to uninstall the apps without agreeing to the terms of service beforehand is baffling. Couple that with the lack of an automatic service cancellation if you click "disagree," and it's an unacceptable combination.

The uproar is not good news for Adobe. It needs to be addressed by the company now, and loudly. The silence since this got pointed out is deafening.

For the moment, disgruntled creatives have the option of voting with their wallets. That's assuming they can navigate the cancellation process properly, and without extra fees.

Update June 7, 8:10 AM ET Adobe has issued a statement that addresses some of the user concerns.



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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 43
    The Reason Kyle T. Webster left the company suddenly a few days ago?
    hammeroftruthAlex1Nbadmonkwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 43
    First, a reminder that "the cloud" does not exist, it's just putting your stuff on somebody else's computer.

    Second, a reminder that Little Snitch exists, and should always be used with all Adobe products, pirated or otherwise.
    9secondkox2appleinsiderusermaggot777badmonkneo-tech
  • Reply 3 of 43
    Well, now I cancel my overpriced subscription and make sure any and all work is gone from them—though they’ve probably already got it. Those are insane terms and despicable. 
    9secondkox2hammeroftruthAlex1Nmaggot777watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 43
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 3,212member
    Second, a reminder that Little Snitch exists, and should always be used with all Adobe products, pirated or otherwise.
    I use ACS legally and would appreciate a LS rule set that allows the software to run and update but block Adobe from storing my content and monitoring usage.
    9secondkox2Alex1Nwatto_cobraneo-tech
  • Reply 5 of 43
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 24,351member
    It's not yet clear if they are taking our content and using it for their own AI training purposes or just poorly explaining that they need the permissions to do what users request of their AI. Since there is no "Opt-Out," as I presume the EU would require if they were accessing your private data, I suspect it's the latter.

    Adobe needs to explain things far better, and soon.
    Now if you were talking about Meta instead, yeah they really are claiming ownership of your Facebook interactions for training their LLM models. 
    edited June 6 9secondkox2muthuk_vanalingamAlex1Nmaggot777
  • Reply 6 of 43
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,570member
    gatorguy said:
    It's not yet clear if they are taking our content and using it for their own AI training purposes or just poorly explaining that they need the permissions to do what users request of their AI. Since there is no "Opt-Out," as I presume the EU would require if they were accessing your private data, I suspect it's the latter.

    Adobe needs to explain things far better, and soon.
    Now if you were talking about Meta instead, yeah they really are claiming ownership of your Facebook interactions for training their LLM models. 
    The terms are vague enough so that they can claim we accepted the usage.
    9secondkox2Alex1Nwatto_cobraneo-tech
  • Reply 7 of 43
    danielchowdanielchow Posts: 142member
    I have been pondering if I should terminate my account for several months. Well, I guess this helped me decide if I should terminate.

    PS: don’t forget to download all your work before terminating the service. 

    9secondkox2Alex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 43
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 24,351member
    melgross said:
    gatorguy said:
    It's not yet clear if they are taking our content and using it for their own AI training purposes or just poorly explaining that they need the permissions to do what users request of their AI. Since there is no "Opt-Out," as I presume the EU would require if they were accessing your private data, I suspect it's the latter.

    Adobe needs to explain things far better, and soon.
    Now if you were talking about Meta instead, yeah they really are claiming ownership of your Facebook interactions for training their LLM models. 
    The terms are vague enough so that they can claim we accepted the usage.
    Not if they make a public proclamation they won't be using our content for their own purposes, and better explain the reasons for the ToS change. That in itself would be enough for lawyers and regulators to be on notice for any hint they're not being completely honest. 
    edited June 6 9secondkox2Alex1N
  • Reply 9 of 43
    bloggerblogbloggerblog Posts: 2,475member
    Adobe pulled a similar stunt with Flash when they were trying to make it a key internet technology. Their terms said something like Adobe can require you to pay fees if you have 10K users of your Flash project. So App Store apps that would've been written in Flash could allow Adobe to have you pay royalty. So glad Apple put an end to that tech.
    Alex1Nwatto_cobraHevski
  • Reply 10 of 43
    lotoneslotones Posts: 65member
    Adobe users... how much more are you going to put up with? Or are you going to wait for Adobe to declare all your physical storage belongs to them also? Stockholm Syndrome isn't a fear of large Swedish cities...
    maggot777Alex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 43
    9secondkox29secondkox2 Posts: 2,849member
    Wow. That’s pure evil. 

    Is the exact thing Google does. 

    Only Google doesn’t charge you an arm and a leg subscription pricing. 

    What the heck? 
    maggot777Alex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 43
    9secondkox29secondkox2 Posts: 2,849member
    gatorguy said:
    It's not yet clear if they are taking our content and using it for their own AI training purposes or just poorly explaining that they need the permissions to do what users request of their AI. Since there is no "Opt-Out," as I presume the EU would require if they were accessing your private data, I suspect it's the latter.

    Adobe needs to explain things far better, and soon.
    Now if you were talking about Meta instead, yeah they really are claiming ownership of your Facebook interactions for training their LLM models. 
    Let’s not pretend. This move was made in the wider context of ai. All generative ai is based on theft at this point except Google, who requires users to give away their data since forever. 

    This recent Adobe move is made so soon leading up to apples ai focused wwdc and in the midst of an ai unethical crackdown whirlwind. 

    It’s the only way Adobe will be able to compete. As it stands now, most of their ai generations look like 90s clip art. 

    Will be interesting to see how the market reacts. As for me, not a fan 
    Alex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 43
    9secondkox29secondkox2 Posts: 2,849member
    The scariest part; Adobe can mauslly or otherwise access our work for content review?

    what???

    I don’t remember Adobe being my editor. I pay them not the other way around. 

    So if Adobe doesn’t like something I made or a communication I crafted, then what? Send the gestapo? 

    Are they going to censor things for political reasons, further crush religious beliefs, silence dissent? 

    They have zero business reviewing our content. 
    maggot777Alex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 43
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 24,351member
    Wow. That’s pure evil. 

    Is the exact thing Google does. 

    Only Google doesn’t charge you an arm and a leg subscription pricing. 

    What the heck? 
    Actually Google allows Opt-Out, and in most cases that's the default. A user has to actively Opt-In to data sharing. They've also improved on their general data privacy with map location tracking and history now stored on personal devices rather than at Google, and which follows their 2 years earlier decision to no longer use Gmail contents for key-wording or other advertisement purposes. 

    It's common for many of the AI systems to collect user data, anonymized or not, and Opt-out provision vary. Some make it hard, some make it easy, and some just don't have opt-out as an option.
    https://www.wired.com/story/how-to-stop-your-data-from-being-used-to-train-ai/

    Since iOS10 you've given Apple permission to collect some of your data for training ML/AI, "anonymized" of course, though you probably weren't aware of it being disclosed in the ToS you agree to. Nobody reads'em.

    Some data sharing on your iDevices like Apple TV was once automatically opt-in, and users had to be aware of a setting to Opt out. I think they've corrected that misjudgment now, but you know who doesn't get it?

    We’re updating our Privacy Policy as we expand AI at Meta

    Hi (fill in your name)

    We’re getting ready to expand our AI at Meta experiences to your region. AI at Meta is our collection of generative AI features and experiences, such as Meta AI and AI creative tools, along with the models that power them.

    What this means for you

    To help bring these experiences to you, we’ll now rely on the legal basis called legitimate interests for using your information to develop and improve AI at Meta. This means that you have the right to object to how your information is used for these purposes. If your objection is honoured, it will be applied from then on.

    We’re including updates in our Privacy Policy to reflect these changes. The updates come into effect on 26 June 2024.

    Thanks,
    The Meta Privacy team

    edited June 6 Alex1N
  • Reply 15 of 43
    This will probably be the way services companies will go.  They want/need to train their AI models, consumers haven’t shown that they will pay anything extra for AI functionality, so service companies like Adobe want the training data (i.e. your work) for free.  Absolutely wrong, and I hope there is push back against this.  Because if not, more and more service companies will do this exact same thing.  Don’t allow them to cross that line — cancel your subscription and/or close your account!
    Alex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 43
    gatorguy said:
    Wow. That’s pure evil. 

    Is the exact thing Google does. 

    Only Google doesn’t charge you an arm and a leg subscription pricing. 

    What the heck? 
    Actually Google allows Opt-Out, and in most cases that's the default. A user has to actively Opt-In to data sharing. They've also improved on their general data privacy with map location tracking and history now stored on personal devices rather than at Google, and which follows their 2 years earlier decision to no longer use Gmail contents for key-wording or other advertisement purposes. 

    It's common for many of the AI systems to collect user data, anonymized or not, and Opt-out provision vary. Some make it hard, some make it easy, and some just don't have opt-out as an option.
    https://www.wired.com/story/how-to-stop-your-data-from-being-used-to-train-ai/

    Since iOS10 you've given Apple permission to collect some of your data for training ML/AI, "anonymized" of course, though you probably weren't aware of it being disclosed in the ToS you agree to. Nobody reads'em.

    Some data sharing on your iDevices like Apple TV was once automatically opt-in, and users had to be aware of a setting to Opt out. I think they've corrected that misjudgment now, but you know who doesn't get it?

    We’re updating our Privacy Policy as we expand AI at Meta

    Hi (fill in your name)

    We’re getting ready to expand our AI at Meta experiences to your region. AI at Meta is our collection of generative AI features and experiences, such as Meta AI and AI creative tools, along with the models that power them.

    What this means for you

    To help bring these experiences to you, we’ll now rely on the legal basis called legitimate interests for using your information to develop and improve AI at Meta. This means that you have the right to object to how your information is used for these purposes. If your objection is honoured, it will be applied from then on.

    We’re including updates in our Privacy Policy to reflect these changes. The updates come into effect on 26 June 2024.

    Thanks,
    The Meta Privacy team

    No surprise.  This is just a continuation of what they’ve been doing all along.  As long as users keep putting up with this crap, they will keep pushing.  The user has always been the product with this company — best thing to do is close your account, and encourage others to do the same.  The only way they will change is if their income is affected.
    Alex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 43
    danoxdanox Posts: 3,050member
    I'm glad Adobe was blocked from buying Figma, and showing my age I wished Apple could bought out saved Freehand back in the day.

    There are still many strategic programing areas Apple has to look out for, Apple is big but they are still not that big despite what the EU or the DOJ think.
    edited June 6 hammeroftruthAlex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 43
    HFBHFB Posts: 1member
  • Reply 19 of 43
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 15,377moderator
    The scariest part; Adobe can mauslly or otherwise access our work for content review?
    These are standard terms for cloud-based content, there are more details here:

    https://helpx.adobe.com/manage-account/using/machine-learning-faq.html

    "Adobe performs content analysis only on content processed or stored on Adobe's servers; we don't analyze content processed or stored locally on your device."
    "If you don't want Adobe to use your content for these purposes, you can opt out of content analysis at any time"

    Nobody is forced to store files or projects on Adobe's servers and some people will be making imagery that is illegal, which is also illegal for Adobe to host so they have to check it by law.

    Using uploaded content for AI training won't be welcomed by artists, that should be opt-in vs opt-out but they could be using it to check what types of images people make so that they train their AI generators on what people need to use it for. A lot of uploads are already in AI models as they are linked from the web somewhere.
    gatorguyAlex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 43
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 3,212member
    Does this include rights to use and publish our tax returns and financial statements?
    maggot777Alex1Ncoolfactorwatto_cobra
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