CS2 going cheap

One of life’s truisms is that if something sounds too good to be true it probably is. So when I heard from Tony Sleep that genuine shrink-wrapped copies of Photoshop CS2 (not the latest edition, which is CS3) were going cheap, I was suspicious. But I did take a look, and they looked absolutely kosher, and some were from sellers with excellent feedback.

The story was that they were old stock that was being sold off cheap for clearance. Tony had bought a copy, and everything about it looked genuine. Later he notices that although he had installed it and found it worked fine, the activation process hadn’t set him up an account with Adobe. Another buyer then informed him that having had the same problem, he had contacted Adobe, who had told him the serial number he had was not genuine. Tony also contacted them and was told the same.

Being Tony, he didn’t leave things there, but took it up with Adobe, and also started doing a little research. The printed material is of such high quality he feels sure it was produced from genuine Adobe files, and Adobe appear to have known about the forgeries for several months, since May or June of this year. Ebay has a procedure called VeRO, (Verified RightsOwner Program) which enables companies such as Adobe to put a stop to such things more or less immediately, but have failed to take action. I checked again today and found over 20 copies still on offer, all presumably counterfeit.

You can read more about the scam and Adobe’s failure to act on Tony‘s blog. Photoshop must be one of the most widely pirated programs around, and whenever I mention in a group of photographers that I’m still using Photoshop 7, I get offers of CDs containing pirated versions of CS2 or CS3. Most of these were either downloaded free from ‘warez’ sites or bought for a few pounds – sometimes from eBay – while the current ‘genuine’ fakes seem to go at auction for around £120.

I didn’t upgrade from PS7 mainly because it seems to do all I want, and also because Adobe had added an ‘activation’ routine to the software which not only meant you had to contact them to keep the software running (which is acceptable if extremely annoying when your computer has a hard disk failure or the operating system needs re-installing) but also wrote to areas of the hard disk it had no business to access.

Like many photographers I hope that someone is going to come up with a viable alternative to Photoshop for various reasons (and it would be nice if it ran on Linux as well.) One project that looks promising is Pixel, from Pavel Kanzelberger in Slovakia, though there are still some vital aspects missing.

Many of us need software that understands colour management and that can also convert to and work in CMYK when we really have to, as well as working with 16 bit files and running useful Photoshop plugins offering noise reduction, smart sharpening, lens distortion correction and so much more. In many ways Photoshop is just a framework for other software, and there are huge areas of it I never use directly. I certainly don’t need the whole ‘Creative Suite’ that Adobe is trying to push at us.

Peter Marshall

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.