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Adobe Creative Cloud is turning into a big legal mess

The cloud is supposed to be a big win-win for all parties involved. Consumers always have access to the latest and supposedly most bug-free version of software while service and software providers are assured of a steady stream of revenue to further develop their product. Reality, however, is sometimes harsher and always stranger than fiction and now subscribers to Adobe’s Create Cloud Suite are finding themselves the subject of potential legal threats from third-parties suing Adobe itself.

Less than two weeks ago, Adobe already made one unpopular move in removing its most affordable Creative Cloud subscription tiers. This effectively forces everyone to move to higher up the chain, causing a backlash over the Internet. That, however, was just the beginning as Adobe has also curtailed subscribers’ access to all but the two most recent versions of its CC products.

In emails now circulating via social media, Adobe warns subscribers that they might be subject to infringement claims by third-parties if they don’t stop using those discontinued products. It doesn’t name those third parties, of course, but the theory is that Dolby is one of them. Coincidentally, Dolby is suing Adobe over copyright infringement and breach of contract.

Adobe previously licensed Dolby technologies and paid the latter based on the number of discs it sold. When it moved to a cloud-based subscription business, however, the terms of that agreement was reviewed and revised. Dolby, however, claims that Adobe has been withholding information critical to determining how much Adobe really owes it.

In short, Dolby is suing Adobe and Adobe is now warning users they might be sued by someone like Dolby in turn. It’s plausible but almost unlikely that the most recent version of Adobe CC software no longer includes Dolby-licensed technologies. It is more likely to be using vague legal threats to “convince” users to move up the subscription ladder and pay for the guarantee not to be sued by unnamed third-parties.

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