Illegal Adobe Software

Do you use illegal software?

  • Yes I do

    Votes: 23 36.5%
  • No I don't

    Votes: 12 19.0%
  • I have in the past

    Votes: 28 44.4%

  • Total voters


I am just wandering how you all feel about using illegal/cracked Adobe software whilst still learning. I do not have the money to go to college to learn Graphic Design so for the past 6 months I have been using an illegal copy of Illustrator just to learn how to use it.

I am not running a business or doing any design work for money, i am solely using the software to learn how to use it and to practice my design skills. When i am in a position where i feel confident enough to maybe go freelance i will of course purchase this software.

Just wandering what your views are with regards to this, is this the norm when starting out?

I hope i don't annoy anybody, i understand that most of you will have paid full price for this software which i do intend doing when I can, but most of you will be professionals already in business and although money may be tight you will still have an income to help pay for this very expensive software.

I have also started a poll to see how many of you do in fact use illegal software.
(remember it is an anonymous poll).
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I don't know one single designer / design company that hasn't used illegal software. I am not saying it is the right thing to do, just stating what I've seen.

I was like yourself and used it until i started my business and i bought the full CS2 design suite. Its a huge part of your start up costs but thankfully the upgrade costs are a lot less.

I'm on CS3 right now and have no intention of upgrading to CS4 as there is nothing in it to warrant the upgrade for me.
Ok, here's my take.

I understand your point of view, and I almost think it's acceptable. But when thinking about it, illegalality can't ever be acceptable. Again though, understand your position.

For me, I've never knowingly used illegal software. The one time I did, was when I purchased CS3 Student Edition and used it for commercial use, which I didn't know wasn't allowed.

I've gone through:
Adobe Photoshop Elements v.4.0
Adobe Creative Suite Web Premium CS3 Student Edition
Adobe Creative Suite Web Premium CS4.

Total cost, about £800. My upgrade to CS4 was quite confusing, the Adobe staff were quite unhelpful with my questions, but they told me I can upgrade from CS3 Student Ed. to CS4 Norm. for £500 ish quid, so I did so.

I advise learning on old versions of software. Although you don't have all the features, you have a large amount and it did me well.
Getting what you did for £800 is great and I'm bloody jealous. CS2 and then the upgrade to CS3 cost me over 2 grand.
Yeah, I was very lucky I must admit! Still a lot of money for someone self employed with no other income, but a great deal.
Well having recently graduated from a Graphic Design degree at uni I can safely say that nearly all the students used Illegal adobe software due to the very high prices of the legal versions, and with the increase of tuition fees I can only see this trend continuing. One or two of the students who didn't use illegal software ended up using different programs to do there work, such as the coral suite as it is a lot cheaper and does a lot of the same things that the adobe suite does.
I do find the prices somewhat ridiculous. However, I do have issues over piracy and what the money is used for.

Personally I would find it ok to use pirate copies whilst not using them for profit, but once you start having an income from them, then.......well........I dunno.

When I started up my business, I used a copy for my first few (freebies), but one I got my first paying job, I started to use some of the free applications on the web (GIMP and Inkscape) I soon had enough money to pay for legit copies (Though I was a little peed off at how much they cost me!)

This is just my opinion though :)
We have been using a few different software packages, and have found adobe to be the best, and the easiest!

We are however looking at other options for our new design team, as when you need a few copies of adobe studio, you start to realise the cost!
To be perfectly honest I think it's purely down to the person. I mean nobody knows unless you tell them. I could download a cracked copy of Photoshop then when people see it on my computer I could tell them "yeah I purchases it the other day, cost me a fortune but it was worth it" and nobody would be any the wiser. Ofcource using Proxys and a different IP to download them.

It all comes down to a question of Morals and your Finaciall situation for me. Anything which is illegal, is obviously illegal and shouldn't be done or condoned. And 99% even if they download illegal software themselves will state otherwise for the sake of their public image, which means alot to everybody! It's the reason why large companys have "public relations" people, nobody ever wants to appear to be "bad" in anyway shape or form, ever! and why should they, it's smart to be the good guy for a gazzilion benefits.

Feel no shame about downloading that software though pal, your not in the finacial position to purchase it and you obviously really want to get into design to better your life, so go for it! - If you want to purchase the legitamate software when you have enough money then that's good.... abit like "confessions" in church hey?

Personally, my software is 100% legit. My IT teacher gave it to me before he moved away when I was doing a course with him about 6month ago. He also gave me a genuine copy of XP Professional with Service Pack 3 already on the disk. He was a great guy, we both shared a passion for computers and got on really well, he used to teach me seperatly from the rest of the class because I was slightly more advanced, the class was learning things like Word and Powerpoint and that was childs play to me, so he tryed teaching me about Binary and Hex Coding and how the 1 is a charge and 0 is no charge and how where we have 0-9 numbers in a collom, Hex Code has A-F-0-9 or something similar, like 0-15 basically but with some letters, it was confusing!!! I have alot of respect for programmers now lol.

Anyway... my opinion - do what you can to be a good guy :) Know the pro's and con's.


EDIT - But truthly, I have never known anybody other than my IT teacher to actually buy a legal copy of Photoshop or anything else. Including myself. If I wasn't given a genuine version for free, I would have downloaded it straight off the old Torrent sites no questions asked.

As a designer, a graphics software is my tools. I can't work without tools and can't afford to buy them, so i'll take the risk of handling stolen/pirated tools.
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I heard that Adobe can track whether your files have been created by illegal versions or legit versions. Is that true?
If you are just learning and not producing commercial work then the student editions of Adobe's products are considerably cheaper than the commercial versions. You can buy them straight through Amazon and the whole Design Premium edition of CS4 is only £249.

At that price I think it is difficult for anyone to justify using an unlicensed copy.

As for people who are running a business and need to buy the full (non student) edition of CS4 then yes it is a lot more but £1400 is not a lot of money considering all of the other costs of starting up a business.

I know there are a lot of businesses, design agencies in particular, that don't pay for their software but especially after recent articles about trojans in illegally downloaded software I wouldn't feel very safe working with them.

It is just part of the cost of doing legitimate business as much as taxes or paying rent on your offices. It is the businesses that stick by their morals and ensure they are fully licensed that suffer when every back-bedroom designer is using unlicensed software, fonts and images, enabling them to charge half as much per hour.
Adobe software

Hey guys,
I just bought the design suite CS4 from the US at a discounted rate and it turned out to be already used! now in the process of trying to claim back the money which is stresssful!!!

Does anyone know of any place or site which sells the CS4 suite for mac at a discounted rate that is real and licensed? Its a bit steep at £1500 especially as Im not a student!?

Doesn't the student edition one last as long as the student is in college so it expires when the course ends and then u have to upgrade????
I reckon 99.9% of students use/have used cracked software while learning at uni. To be honest, I think Adobe turn a blind eye to the students using pirate software as it ensures that they have a continued user base and large market share well into the future. If they really cracked down on it (pardon the pun), then students may turn to other software which could, long term, change the industry standard and work against them. Admittedly, that is less likely now that Adobe has eaten up most of the competition :)

As a business it's a different story though. If you were a mechanic, you wouldn't go and nick a load of tools then set up a garage!
Well I have friend that is a full time university student student so iI could get the student edition and use his registration but would it then be licenced in his name and will i have to upgrade when he graduates?

any help?? xx