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On Monday, Adobe communicated to some of its users, who have taken the subscription of its Creative Cloud applications, that they cannot continue using the older versions and may face “infringement claims” from third-party companies if failed to upgrade to new versions.

The email sent to the users did not have any mention of the reason why they should discontinue using the older versions. However, Adobe did share with AppleInsider that this sudden announcement is because of “ongoing litigation.” AppleInsider speculates that the company is referring to the recent lawsuit filed by Dolby Labs against Adobe for not complying with its audit obligations.

In a statement to AppleInsider, Adobe wrote:

Adobe recently discontinued certain older versions of Creative Cloud applications. Customers using those versions have been notified that they are no longer licensed to use them and were provided guidance on how to upgrade to the latest authorized versions. Unfortunately, customers who continue to use or deploy older, unauthorized versions of Creative Cloud may face potential claims of infringement by third parties. We cannot comment on claims of third-party infringement, as it concerns ongoing litigation.

Adobe licenses certain audio processing technologies from Dolby Labs. According to the license, whenever Adobe sells a product that has been developed with Dolby Labs’ technology, it is obligated to report the sale to Dolby and pay a royalty. The license also provides Dolby Labs the right to audit Adobe’s books and sales of the products containing its licensed technology. When the company asked Adobe to share this information, it refused to do so.

Under all of Adobe’s license agreements with Dolby, Dolby had broad rights to inspect Adobe’s books and records through a third-party audit, in order to verify the accuracy of Adobe’s reporting of sales and payment of royalties. When Dolby sought to exercise its right to audit Adobe’s books and records to ensure proper reporting and payment, Adobe refused to engage in even basic auditing and information sharing practices; practices that Adobe itself had demanded of its own licenses,” the lawsuit reads.

This abrupt announcement has left many users infuriated who do not want to update to the latest versions for valid reasons. Many users wait to upgrade to the latest versions until any reported bugs are fixed. Users might also avoid the latest versions because of a few missing features that they need for their project.

Matt Roszak was the first one to report this on Twitter, and after that many others reported the same issue.

This also triggered a discussion on Hacker News, where a user commented:

I was stunned by this revelation, but then I think back to all the other times Adobe has exhibited similar behavior and it seems like they won’t change. It’s not like the CC suite is cheap either. To compare, the Office 365 subscription provides so much more value for a better price.

For a very high-class replacement of Adobe products, I would recommend Affinity suite of products – they are a buy once, use forever kind. And Affinity Designer (replacement for Illustrator) is incredibly good – even better than Illustrator in a lot of areas. And the price of Designer is less than 2 months of Illustrator fees. Beat that!

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