Maryland man without backup sues Adobe over Premiere Pro file-eating bug

Posted:
in General Discussion edited November 2018
A professional photographer and long-time Premiere Pro user claims that after an update the software deleted files including non-Adobe ones. He doesn't want your sympathy, but he does want a $5 million class action lawsuit and trial by jury to blame Adobe for the problem, rather than pointing the finger at not having a reliable backup.

Adobe Premiere Pro splash screen
Adobe Premiere Pro splash screen


Professional photographer David Keith Cooper of Maryland, US, has filed a claim to take Adobe to jury trial over loss of his data through a software fault in the video-editing app Premiere Pro. He alleges that this should be a class action suit to a value in excess of five million bucks because he knows many other people who've had the same problem.

Adobe Premiere Pro is a subscription application that you pay from $19.99 per month for. An 8TB backup drive costs about $149. We're unclear how much Cooper's lawyers are charging him, but it is probably a great deal more than $19.99 per month, plus $149. You can read practically every other detail online in the filed court document that we've helpfully embedded below.

What Cooper claims happened is that he shot a lot of video. Truly, a lot -- he alleges that it was around 500 hours of digital footage that he filmed between 2010 and this terrible day in 2017.

He kept his footage on one external drive connected to his computer and on or about May 1, 2017, he installed the then latest update to Premiere Pro and edited some video. To save space on his computer's internal drive, he moved Premiere Pro's temporary Media Cache to the external to save space. He then clicked on Premiere's Clean Cache command.

He says that instead of this wiping temporary Premiere files, it permanently erased any number of video files and documents from that disk.

Nobody should lose data

According to Adobe's own blog, this bug is true. It was possible back in May 2017 that clearing the cache could wipe non-Premiere files so it is also possible that this how Cooper lost so much work.

Detail from David Keith Cooper's legal filing
Detail from David Keith Cooper's legal filing


We've all lost data and we have all sworn at software that's erased it for us -- we're looking at you, Microsoft Word -- so we do all recognize Cooper's pain. Only, zoom back to the description of him: he's a professional photographer. The legal filing actually says he's "an experienced and sought-after commercial photographer, videographer, and video editor."

The trouble is, if we or you or anyone else searches for him, the easiest thing you can find that is definitely him is this lawsuit. He's just an experienced photographer who in seven years apparently never made any reliable backups. Perhaps he didn't know how: let us help him out there.

He says he's lost his data because of Adobe but if he shot it on assignment, he's actually lost his client's data. If you're a client seeking after a photographer, we feel we can be sure this one will backup files in the future. And if he wins his case, he'll be able to buy around 30,000 8TB drives to store it on -- assuming the lawyers don't take most of it.

And, in case you were wondering, the terms of using the Adobe software are pretty clear about the company not being responsible for data loss for any reason.

Cooper Versus Adobe by Mike Wuerthele on Scribd

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 61
    Can everyone quit slagging the guy for not having sufficient backup? Should he have had it? Definitely. But there's absolutely, positively zero excuse for vendors like Adobe (and Microsoft last month with the Windows 10 update) playing so absurdly fast and loose with customer data. These software vendors are forcing their customers into far more expensive subscription pricing models in a vain attempt to maintain revenue growth and correspondingly high stock prices for just a little bit longer, which is sketchy enough, but they're also getting much worse at quality control in the process, which is flat-out evil. Adobe has been one of the worst custodians of IT quality and security in the history of computing with their egregiously and shamelessly poor stewardship of the Flash plugin. Microsoft infamously fired most of their QA personnel a few years ago in order to foist that work onto their "insider" fan base, which has made their extremely poor reputation in that are decline even further. Yes, users do stupid things, but in cases like this we need to focus hard on the deeply evil neglect that certain software vendors have had for our data as well.
    bloggerblogmknelsondws-2napoleon_phoneapartfasterquietermagman1979MisterKitzoetmb
  • Reply 2 of 61
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,642administrator
    ecarlseen said:
    Can everyone quit slagging the guy for not having sufficient backup? Should he have had it? Definitely. But there's absolutely, positively zero excuse for vendors like Adobe (and Microsoft last month with the Windows 10 update) playing so absurdly fast and loose with customer data. These software vendors are forcing their customers into far more expensive subscription pricing models in a vain attempt to maintain revenue growth and correspondingly high stock prices for just a little bit longer, which is sketchy enough, but they're also getting much worse at quality control in the process, which is flat-out evil. Adobe has been one of the worst custodians of IT quality and security in the history of computing with their egregiously and shamelessly poor stewardship of the Flash plugin. Microsoft infamously fired most of their QA personnel a few years ago in order to foist that work onto their "insider" fan base, which has made their extremely poor reputation in that are decline even further. Yes, users do stupid things, but in cases like this we need to focus hard on the deeply evil neglect that certain software vendors have had for our data as well.
    All the more reason why you should have a good backup. Adobe had a part in this, for sure, but not a $5M part, as data security has always been, and should always be, the user's sole provenance.
    ronntmaymac_dogapres587svanstromwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 61
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 1,454member
    It's baffling to me why he didn't have a backup, but it well may have been that his backup server was full and he needed to get another hard drive, or he thought he had it set up and found out it wasn't backing up the way he thought. I can think of plenty of scenarios aside from him just being sloppy.

    To me this is something akin to Ford having a steering defect and someone getting injured in a crash because they weren't wearing a seatbelt. Should they have their seatbelt on? Definitely, but the steering defect still caused the crash.


    edited November 2018 wigginMisterKitberndog
  • Reply 4 of 61
    "...rather than pointing the finger at not having a reliable backup." <- Utter crap.
    Deleting your personal files then saying 'well, you should've had a backup' is irresponsible, especially from a trusted company like Adobe. I fully support his effort and I hope he wins the five million.
    muthuk_vanalingamzoetmb
  • Reply 5 of 61
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,630member
    Mmmm.

    Okay, I'm going to side with Mr NoBackup on this one.

    Yes, he should have had a backup, but let's look at what happened here.

    Adobe erased files that had nothing to do with their application!

    What sort of poor software craftsmanship is that?? They are the worst of the worst.

    Unfortunately, like every other software vendor, there is a clause in the license that says Adobe does not guarantee the software will work or is fit for purpose.


    stevenozmuthuk_vanalingammagman1979berndogwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 61
    dws-2dws-2 Posts: 238member
    I wish our courts would prevent more of these lawsuits, but I don't like the attitude that we should blame the victim. Adobe was clearly at fault here. 
  • Reply 7 of 61
    ecarlseen said:
    Can everyone quit slagging the guy for not having sufficient backup? Should he have had it? Definitely. But there's absolutely, positively zero excuse for vendors like Adobe (and Microsoft last month with the Windows 10 update) playing so absurdly fast and loose with customer data. These software vendors are forcing their customers into far more expensive subscription pricing models in a vain attempt to maintain revenue growth and correspondingly high stock prices for just a little bit longer, which is sketchy enough, but they're also getting much worse at quality control in the process, which is flat-out evil. Adobe has been one of the worst custodians of IT quality and security in the history of computing with their egregiously and shamelessly poor stewardship of the Flash plugin. Microsoft infamously fired most of their QA personnel a few years ago in order to foist that work onto their "insider" fan base, which has made their extremely poor reputation in that are decline even further. Yes, users do stupid things, but in cases like this we need to focus hard on the deeply evil neglect that certain software vendors have had for our data as well.
    All the more reason why you should have a good backup. Adobe had a part in this, for sure, but not a $5M part, as data security has always been, and should always be, the user's sole provenance.
    Problem for Adobe, is that it is gonna have to say in his user agreement that they are not responsible for any loss of data/information, because our engineers can't design a system that could keep you data from being wiped out. That is not something a (((pro))) grade software company should say.
    edited November 2018 stevenozmagman1979
  • Reply 8 of 61
    Adobe updated Photoshop CC on my Mac around that same time without even asking me, it then deleted my own personal version of Photoshop I had from a disc I purchased from them, I saw that it had done it in the updater, which good luck uninstalling that thing, it magically returns even when removed from your start up list, I suspect Adobe of doing many nefarious things behind the scenes (a hold over from their Flash aggression and Macs), ever see how big all of those Adobe folders are on your hard drive too?
    magman1979watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 61
    Keeping one copy of your stuff on a 7 year old drive that presumably gets fairly heavy use, as a Professionalis walking a tightrope. I am going to assume that drive failure was ruled out. 
    Moving the cache folder seems unnecessary; if your internal storage is too small, upgrade it or put your scratch files on another external. Generally speaking, dragging folders out of Apps is risky. Links get broken or moved and weird things can happen.
    The article doesn’t say what kind of Mac he had or what version of the OS was running, so who knows. Maybe he will win, but in the end, just back up your stuff...it’s so easy and cheap to do. 


    edited November 2018 watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 61
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,642administrator
    ecarlseen said:
    Can everyone quit slagging the guy for not having sufficient backup? Should he have had it? Definitely. But there's absolutely, positively zero excuse for vendors like Adobe (and Microsoft last month with the Windows 10 update) playing so absurdly fast and loose with customer data. These software vendors are forcing their customers into far more expensive subscription pricing models in a vain attempt to maintain revenue growth and correspondingly high stock prices for just a little bit longer, which is sketchy enough, but they're also getting much worse at quality control in the process, which is flat-out evil. Adobe has been one of the worst custodians of IT quality and security in the history of computing with their egregiously and shamelessly poor stewardship of the Flash plugin. Microsoft infamously fired most of their QA personnel a few years ago in order to foist that work onto their "insider" fan base, which has made their extremely poor reputation in that are decline even further. Yes, users do stupid things, but in cases like this we need to focus hard on the deeply evil neglect that certain software vendors have had for our data as well.
    All the more reason why you should have a good backup. Adobe had a part in this, for sure, but not a $5M part, as data security has always been, and should always be, the user's sole provenance.
    Problem for Adobe, is that it is gonna have to say in his user agreement that they are not responsible for any lose of data/information, because our engineers can't design a system that could keep you data being wiped out. That is not something a (((pro))) grade software company should say.
    It does say in the user agreement that they are not responsible for the loss of data or information. So does your macOS and iOS license, and literally every other software license I have read for the last 30 years.
    muthuk_vanalingammagman1979SpamSandwichwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 61
    Don't rent your software from these guys.

    Walk out.  Take your wallet with you.

    Find alternatives.  Expand your mind.

    Back up.

    Often.  

    Lots.

    Lemon Bon Bon.
    magman1979
  • Reply 12 of 61
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,789member
    Software has bugs. Users are lazy.

    500 hours of 40Mbps HD video = 9,000 GB

    WD 2 TB external hard drive w/USB 3 can be had for $64 on Amazon.

    There are so many ways to back up: Cloud storage, external HD, thumb drives, or simply zip the folder at the end of each editing session.

    There is no excuse not to be backed up, especially on a big project. I use Time Machine, but he was probably using Windows.
    apres587watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 61
    volcan said:
    Software has bugs. Users are lazy.

    500 hours of 40Mbps HD video = 9,000 GB

    WD 2 TB external hard drive w/USB 3 can be had for $64 on Amazon.

    There are so many ways to back up: Cloud storage, external HD, thumb drives, or simply zip the folder at the end of each editing session.

    There is no excuse not to be backed up, especially on a big project. I use Time Machine, but he was probably using Windows.
    I had not even considered he was a Windows users, I assumed Mac. If he’s on Windows, then gooooood luck. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 61
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,789member
    Don't rent your software from these guys.

    Find alternatives. 
    In my opinion FCP X is not a suitable replacement for Premiere. The only software in the same class that is perhaps a little better and more of a pro standard, at least here in the Southern California movie scene, is Avid Media Composer and guess what? It is subscription too - $19.95 a month.
  • Reply 15 of 61
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,652member
    ecarlseen said:
    Can everyone quit slagging the guy for not having sufficient backup? Should he have had it? Definitely. But there's absolutely, positively zero excuse for vendors like Adobe (and Microsoft last month with the Windows 10 update) playing so absurdly fast and loose with customer data. These software vendors are forcing their customers into far more expensive subscription pricing models in a vain attempt to maintain revenue growth and correspondingly high stock prices for just a little bit longer, which is sketchy enough, but they're also getting much worse at quality control in the process, which is flat-out evil. Adobe has been one of the worst custodians of IT quality and security in the history of computing with their egregiously and shamelessly poor stewardship of the Flash plugin. Microsoft infamously fired most of their QA personnel a few years ago in order to foist that work onto their "insider" fan base, which has made their extremely poor reputation in that are decline even further. Yes, users do stupid things, but in cases like this we need to focus hard on the deeply evil neglect that certain software vendors have had for our data as well.
    Nonsense. Sure Adobe played a part but that is not the point.  What if his hard drive had a mechanical failure after a few years?  What if his house was robbed and they stole his external drive?  What if a fire burns his house down with his equipment?   Let's put blame squarely and solely on the actual problem.  This "photographer".

    This clown had data from 2010 to 2017 on a single drive?  That's it?  He's not a photographer.  He's a rookie.  That's the problem with adults like him... it's always someone else's fault.  There are a multitude of online options that would back up his data, and keep that data offsite.  It's inexcusable in today's inter-connected world that he could not have taken the 1 hour out of his life to get his backup affairs in order.

    Get a proper, backup procedure in place and life moves on.  Take the lazy approach, and this is what happens.  No love lost here for me.  Good luck having him explain his sloppiness to his "clients".  

    Crybaby:  "Uh... sorry..  Adobe erased all your pictures on my computer.."
    Client:  Okay... you didn't back them up?
    Crybaby: Uhm... that's not the point.
    Client: "hmmmm......"  *whispers to friend* "Is this guy legit?"
    edited November 2018 wonkothesaneBluntfastasleepwatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 61
    ecarlseen said:
    Can everyone quit slagging the guy for not having sufficient backup? Should he have had it? Definitely. But there's absolutely, positively zero excuse for vendors like Adobe (and Microsoft last month with the Windows 10 update) playing so absurdly fast and loose with customer data. These software vendors are forcing their customers into far more expensive subscription pricing models in a vain attempt to maintain revenue growth and correspondingly high stock prices for just a little bit longer, which is sketchy enough, but they're also getting much worse at quality control in the process, which is flat-out evil. Adobe has been one of the worst custodians of IT quality and security in the history of computing with their egregiously and shamelessly poor stewardship of the Flash plugin. Microsoft infamously fired most of their QA personnel a few years ago in order to foist that work onto their "insider" fan base, which has made their extremely poor reputation in that are decline even further. Yes, users do stupid things, but in cases like this we need to focus hard on the deeply evil neglect that certain software vendors have had for our data as well.
    All the more reason why you should have a good backup. Adobe had a part in this, for sure, but not a $5M part, as data security has always been, and should always be, the user's sole provenance.
    Problem for Adobe, is that it is gonna have to say in his user agreement that they are not responsible for any lose of data/information, because our engineers can't design a system that could keep you data being wiped out. That is not something a (((pro))) grade software company should say.
    It does say in the user agreement that they are not responsible for the loss of data or information. So does your macOS and iOS license, and literally every other software license I have read for the last 30 years.
    Yes but one doesn't expect that to apply to files that are not being worked on. Even if he backed up to the cloud using something like iCloud, it would have erased his files from the backup as well, since most cloud services sync their data. Moreover, his external drive might've been a RAID5 or a Mirror, which is technically a live backup and would've done the same thing. 
  • Reply 17 of 61
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,789member
    bloggerblog said:
    Yes but one doesn't expect that to apply to files that are not being worked on. Even if he backed up to the cloud using something like iCloud, it would have erased his files from the backup as well, since most cloud services sync their data. Moreover, his external drive might've been a RAID5 or a Mirror, which is technically a live backup and would've done the same thing. 
    You can undelete files on iCloud Drive. I think for a couple weeks, then they are really gone.

    On Dropbox you have to deliberately move file into a the deleted files folder and if you really want to delete them you select the file to permanently remove.

    I have a buddy who is a forensic computer engineer who can undelete just about any file and he doesn't charge that much either.
    edited November 2018
  • Reply 18 of 61
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,303member
    The way I see it is, the higher the amount claimed as a loss the more import it shows a back up was required. So it seems a self-defeating claim IMHO.
    apres587
  • Reply 19 of 61
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,642administrator
    ecarlseen said:
    Can everyone quit slagging the guy for not having sufficient backup? Should he have had it? Definitely. But there's absolutely, positively zero excuse for vendors like Adobe (and Microsoft last month with the Windows 10 update) playing so absurdly fast and loose with customer data. These software vendors are forcing their customers into far more expensive subscription pricing models in a vain attempt to maintain revenue growth and correspondingly high stock prices for just a little bit longer, which is sketchy enough, but they're also getting much worse at quality control in the process, which is flat-out evil. Adobe has been one of the worst custodians of IT quality and security in the history of computing with their egregiously and shamelessly poor stewardship of the Flash plugin. Microsoft infamously fired most of their QA personnel a few years ago in order to foist that work onto their "insider" fan base, which has made their extremely poor reputation in that are decline even further. Yes, users do stupid things, but in cases like this we need to focus hard on the deeply evil neglect that certain software vendors have had for our data as well.
    All the more reason why you should have a good backup. Adobe had a part in this, for sure, but not a $5M part, as data security has always been, and should always be, the user's sole provenance.
    Problem for Adobe, is that it is gonna have to say in his user agreement that they are not responsible for any lose of data/information, because our engineers can't design a system that could keep you data being wiped out. That is not something a (((pro))) grade software company should say.
    It does say in the user agreement that they are not responsible for the loss of data or information. So does your macOS and iOS license, and literally every other software license I have read for the last 30 years.
    Yes but one doesn't expect that to apply to files that are not being worked on. Even if he backed up to the cloud using something like iCloud, it would have erased his files from the backup as well, since most cloud services sync their data. Moreover, his external drive might've been a RAID5 or a Mirror, which is technically a live backup and would've done the same thing. 
    It doesn't matter what's "expected" by the user. Software developers, according to use agreements, are not responsible for the loss of data or information, full stop, no qualifiers, in use or not. A RAID 5 or mirror being used for active work is in no way a live backup.
    edited November 2018
  • Reply 20 of 61
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,789member
    MacPro said:
    The way I see it is, the higher the amount claimed as a loss the more import it shows a back up was required. So it seems a self-defeating claim IMHO.
    This a class action suit. The users would probably only make peanuts. The lion's share goes to the law firm representing them.
     
    My attorney told me that any lawyer who specifies the amount of damages in advance of a trial or settlement is incompetent.
    edited November 2018
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