Adobe users upset to find company has been scanning content (2024)

Updated A practically ancient terms-of-use update has landed Adobe in freshly boiled water over how the Photoshop giant gives itself the right to review user content stored in its cloud.

The issue kicked off online yesterday when video game concept artist Sam Santala pointed out the February update in a post on X. Santala asked if he was reading the paragraph right, seemingly dumbfounded by the implication.

"I can't use Photoshop unless I'm okay with you having full access to anything I create with it, INCLUDING NDA work," Santala posted, tagging Adobe for an explanation. A corporate representative did respond, but first – the offending passages.

All your art is belong to us?

A look at Adobe's General Terms of Use shows that they were last updated February 17, 2024, with changes made to two sections: 2.2 and 4.1, paragraphs which explain how Adobe will access user content and how it defines said content, respectively. Those are the paragraphs that have been called out online by Santala and other folks unhappy with the update.

The updated sections state that Adobe may access content through automated and manual methods "but only in limited ways, and only as permitted by law." That could include automated scanning of user content "using techniques such as machine learning in order to improve our services and software and the user experience," Adobe noted.

That passage might be the protesters' sticking point; some of them have threatened to switch to a competitor or open source product. Folks are upset at what looks like Adobe trying to give itself overly broad rights to use people's work however it sees fit, though the phrasing is that Adobe gives itself these boilerplate rights so that its products can work with people's materials.

As to what content Adobe will scan? Well, if it's uploaded to Adobe systems, it appears to be fair game.

"'Content' means any text, information, communication, or material, such as audio files, video files, electronic documents, or images, that you upload, import into, embed for use by, or create using [Adobe] services and software," the InDesign maker states in section 4.1. And yes, that includes Document Cloud services and software, too.

In a page linked from the terms covering Adobe's content analysis in greater detail, the software house said it mainly analyzes content to improve services, though Adobe's terms do note it "may use available technologies, vendors, or processes, including manual review, to screen for certain types of illegal content," including CSAM and "patterns of activity that indicate spam or phishing."

Content stored on a local PC with Adobe software installed won't be scanned, the biz said.

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So yes, Adobe can scan your stuff, but those upset about changes to the terms back in February - changes that were largely minor, made to largely add clarifying language for the first time since 2022 - should realize the language has barely changed. In other words, Adobe's been able to use and scan your stuff the exact same way for some time, for many years in fact, by the looks of it.

That, and there's an opt-out, albeit a limited one.

Customers on personal Creative and Document Cloud accounts can disable content analysis - at least for the purposes of product improvement and development - using steps explained on the content analysis FAQ page linked above.Business-level accounts have such features controlled by the terms of their contract with Adobe.

Scott Belsky, Adobe's chief strategy officer and EVP of design and emerging products, responded to Santala's concerns on X, repeating his mantra that Adobe doesn't train any generative AI models on customer content, unless customers offer it up for cash, that is.

But Belsky's words weren't all reassurance, and make it clear that opt-out is limited.

"There are probably circ*mstances (like indexing to help you search your documents, updating components used from CC libraries across your documents, among others) where the company's terms of service allow for some degree of access," Belsky said.

Adobe, which warned late last year that it could face large fines over its subscription cancellation practices, didn't respond to questions for this story. ®

Updated to add on June 7

While Adobe didn't respond to questions from The Register, it did publish a blog post yesterday to address the matter, reiterating that it wouldn't use customer content to train AI.

"The focus of this update was to be clearer about the improvements to our moderation processes that we have in place," Adobe said. "Given the explosion of Generative AI and our commitment to responsible innovation, we have added more human moderation to our content submissions review processes."

Adobe said it retains a limited license to access user content "solely for the purpose of operating or improving the services and software and to enforce our terms and comply with law."

Adobe users upset to find company has been scanning content (2024)


Adobe users upset to find company has been scanning content? ›

The updated sections state that Adobe may access content through automated and manual methods "but only in limited ways, and only as permitted by law." That could include automated scanning of user content "using techniques such as machine learning in order to improve our services and software and the user experience," ...

How do I opt out of Adobe AI? ›

Close any open files. Then, navigate to Preferences > Generative AI. To turn off the generative AI features, deselect Enable generative AI features in Acrobat, and then select OK. To turn on the generative AI features again, select Enable generative AI features in Acrobat, and select OK.

Is Adobe Genuine Service Alert real? ›

The Adobe Genuine Service periodically verifies whether installed Adobe apps are genuine or not, helping protect customers from security vulnerabilities and harmful malware that may be present in non-genuine apps. * When Adobe apps are found to be not genuine, the AGS can inform the user through notifications.

How do I disable Adobe AI? ›

Adobe's Instructions

So these instructions and screenshot come from Adobe's documentation of the feature. From the Edit menu, open Preferences and look for a section titled Generative AI. If it's present, there will be an check box where you can turn the assistant off.

How do I opt out of Content analysis in Adobe? ›

Users with a personal account

Take the following steps to turn off content analysis for product improvement: Sign in at In the Content analysis for product improvement section, click the Off toggle.

What happens if I remove Adobe Genuine Service? ›

When a user uninstalls all Adobe apps from their machine, whether they are genuine or not, the AGS will automatically uninstall itself. We find that many customers are unaware they have installed or purchased Adobe apps and services that are not genuine and may need additional information to address the situation.

Is Adobe Genuine Service necessary? ›

A genuine Adobe app is legally licensed software purchased directly from Adobe or an authorized reseller. Only genuine Adobe apps provide you with the latest features and are regularly updated to help keep your device, content, and data safe.

How do I unsubscribe from Adobe AI? ›

Sign in at
  1. Select Manage plan for the plan you want to cancel.
  2. Select Cancel your plan. ...
  3. Check your plan's details and then select Continue to cancel.
  4. Indicate the reason for cancellation, and then select Continue.
  5. Review the cancellation details and then select Confirm cancellation.
Jun 25, 2024

How do I uninstall Adobe AI? ›

How to uninstall Creative Cloud apps
  1. Open the Creative Cloud desktop app.
  2. On the All Apps page, select the More actions icon next to the app you want to uninstall. The expanded menu for the app opens. ...
  3. In the expanded menu, select Uninstall. ...
  4. Select Cancel, Remove or Keep, based on your preference.
May 10, 2024

Can you cancel Adobe Illustrator anytime? ›

You can cancel your subscription anytime via your Adobe Account or by contacting Customer Support. If you cancel within 14 days of your initial order, you'll be fully refunded.

How do I remove BG from Adobe AI? ›

Click outside the canvas, then click on the picture's background and press the Delete key on the keyboard to remove it. Click on any other part of the background that's still in the image to delete. Finally, click File > Export > Export As. Rename your file if you want, and choose PNG in the file format option.


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