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A Modest Proposal For The Creative Suite Tweet This   Forward This

16 March 2013

Take the box off the shelf and everyone gets upset. But we've been upset for a while now. And not about a box.

We knew we had a problem just a few weeks into our Creative Suite subscription. Sure, it's a phenomenal deal. Access to everything Adobe for a reasonably small monthly charge. We downloaded the applications we most use plus a few new ones we hoped would open new doors.

But after a few weeks, we still hadn't weaned ourselves from the older versions of the software.

It wasn't the monthly fee. We do generally observe the advice not to buy something you have to feed. So we don't subscribe to cable TV (over-the-air plus Apple TV does the job here) or a data plan (WiFi cuts it for us). And we don't have a big dog or six cats. Not even any goldfish. Just spiders, really.

But that wasn't it.


It was fear. A simple but well-founded fear.

The fear that if we created an ebook in the new version of InDesign and down the road a reader pointed out a small typo and we were no longer subscribing to the Creative Suite due to some change in our circumstances beyond our control, well, we wouldn't be able to open our document to make the change.

The fear that after cataloging 40,000 images and editing hundreds of them in Lightroom, a lapse in our subscription would block us from using that Lightroom catalog and seeing our revisions.

It was, simply, the fear of not having access to our own work. The software that wrote the proprietary format would no longer launch simply because we had ended our subscription. Leaving us with worthless assets.

Adobe says as much:

When you cancel a month-to-month or annual membership purchased directly from Adobe or let a 3- or 12-month prepaid membership purchased from a retailer expire, you will no longer have access to the Creative Suite applications, other desktop software, and services that are components of Creative Cloud. However, if you saved your work to your computer, you will continue to have access to those files. You will also have access to the same benefits as a free Creative Cloud member, which include 2GB of storage space (reduced from 20GB), the ability to sync and store your files, access to a free 30-day trial of the desktop software that has not already been installed and provisioned as part of your paid membership, and access to the free level of services included with Creative Cloud.

Adobe's preferred solution to this problem of worthless assets is simply to renew, of course. And that's not bad, really, when you consider that as operating systems evolve so too must applications. Such that we can't run very much older versions of application software on newer operating systems.

There's also been the option of buying the licensed version of the Creative Suite (now, apparently, without the box). Of course you'd have to know your visit to the Creative Cloud would be temporary when you first signed up for that to make economic sense.


But we have a modest proposal to protect creators from ending up with inaccessible assets. Let's call it Adobe Equity.

Here's how it might work. After paying a monthly subscription for two years, you would no longer be locked out of the applications you've installed. You own them.

If you want to continue to receive updates and enjoy the benefits of being am member of the Creative Cloud community, you subscribe.

But if you happen to retire or just can't maintain the subscription any more, you can still use the applications you have to open documents you created with the software.

For most people we suspect maintaining the subscription would make the most sense. It keeps your applications fitted with all the latest bells and whistles and compatible with new gear and operating system requirements. And Creative Cloud collaboration isn't without value, either.

But Adobe Equity would protect your assets. You'd be able to access any document you created with subscription software after paying more than list in subscriptions.

Which strikes us as a modest proposal. That doesn't need a box.

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