Lori Carey Photography

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Beta launch of free on-line Photoshop Express, and a sneaky rights grab

A lot of chatter on the boards the past two days about Adobe's beta-launch of their new free, on-line photo editing program Photoshop Express. It's a photo-sharing site (you can store up to 2G) packaged with some simple photo editing tools, aimed at the point-at-shoot market who find Photoshop Elements too difficult or time consuming.

I'm not going to review Photoshop Express because there are several good reviews posted from people much more qualified than me, and after poking around their site and reading the TOS I decided I didn't even want to play with it anymore. But I do want to post an important warning to anyone who is considering giving it a try.

If you take the time to read the Terms of Service, you will find that Adobe is claiming the right to use any photos you upload to a public gallery and use them however they want. Here is the exact wording:

"8. Use of Your Content.

1. Adobe does not claim ownership of Your Content. However, with respect to Your Content that you submit or make available for inclusion on publicly accessible areas of the Services, you grant Adobe a worldwide, royalty-free, nonexclusive, perpetual, irrevocable, and fully sublicensable license to use, distribute, derive revenue or other remuneration from, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, publicly perform and publicly display such Content (in whole or in part) and to incorporate such Content into other Materials or works in any format or medium now known or later developed."

"Perpetual"and "irrevocable" means forever, "derive revenue" means making money. Yes, they will forever have a right to use and to make money from any photos you upload to a public album. They can even license the image to another company.

There are a lot of good amateur shooters out there using p&s cameras who don't know the first thing about intellectual property rights and wouldn't even think to check for this in the TOS. I think it's pretty sneaky of Adobe to try to take advantage of that market. Okay, maybe a lot of people in this target market wouldn't care if one of their photos was published by a major corporation and they didn't get paid. Some might even be proud of it. But they shouldn't be; if the image has value the photographer deserves to be compensated. Period.

Personally, I'd recommend that if you still want to give the beta version of Photoshop Express a spin you at least make sure you keep all of your albums private. Better yet, protest by not using it and let Adobe know how you feel about this sneaky rights grab.

It will be interesting to see if Adobe changes the TOS after pressure from the community.

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