Adobe's shocking new rules

Adobe updated its terms of use and it’s caused outrage among its users

Martin Crowley
June 7, 2024

Users of Adobe’s creative applications, such as Photoshop and Illustrator, received a pop-up this week, telling them that their terms of use have been updated. This has raised huge concerns among users, who are worried that Adobe plans to use their work (published and in progress) to train its AI models.

What are the updated terms?

Adobe actually changed its terms of use back in February but failed to announce the update to its users, preferring to trigger a quick pop-up with the updates, instead.

The updated terms state that Adobe has the right to access their users’ content “through both manual and automated methods" and can use  “techniques such as machine learning to improve our services and software.”

The new terms give Adobe:

“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.”

Why have the updated terms caused such outrage?

Adobe has reassured its users that it will only use their work to improve its software and services, but they’re still doing this without consent, offering no compensation or accreditation.

Plus, the wording used is vague and suggests that users have little control over how their work is used or shared with third parties. And, some have complained that they often work on projects under NDA, meaning Adobe could access highly confidential work to train its models.

"I can't use Photoshop unless I'm okay with you having full access to anything I create with it, INCLUDING NDA work?"

Why has Adobe updated its terms?

Adobe launched a suite of AI tools last year to beat rivals like OpenAI’s DALL-E and, at the time, maintained that it had trained its models on its stock image library and other publicly available media.

You can see why it would want to use high-quality user-generated content to improve its models, but would it really want to face confidentiality and copyright infringement lawsuits as a result?