Accused of Adobe Copyright Infringement?

Our copyright infringement defense attorneys can help you navigate an Adobe copyright infringement case.

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Adobe Software Copyright Infringement Lawyer

Adobe Software Copyright Infringement Lawyer

Adobe is a large software company with a portfolio of popular, and highly profitable products that include multimedia software, creativity software, and other programs.  Examples of popular Adobe software include:

  • Adobe Acrobat 6, 7, 8, and 9 
  • Adobe Acrobat XI
  • Adobe Captivate 5.5,6, 7 
  • Adobe Creative Suite 2.0, 2.3, 4.0, 5.0, 5.5, 6 
  • Adobe Dreamweaver CS5, CS5.5, and CS6 
  • Adobe Fireworks
  • Adobe Illustrator 8.0, 10.0, CS2, CS3, CS4, CS5, CS6
  • InDesign, CS2, CS4, CS5, CS5.5, CS6
  • Adobe Photoshop 6.0, 7.0, CS2, CS3

Generally, Adobe licenses its software to vendors and individual purchasers. This means if someone downloads a piece of Adobe software without purchasing a valid license, they are at risk of being targeted by Adobe for legal action in a copyright infringement case 

If Adobe contacted you alleging copyright infringement of one of their software products, now is the time to speak with an attorney with Rosenblum Law. Our experienced software copyright infringement lawyers are ready to help determine whether Adobe’s copyright infringement claim is legitimate and negotiate an amicable settlement on your behalf. 

Understanding Adobe Software Copyright Infringement

There are laws that protect Adobe’s intellectual property, and consequences that can be imposed on an individual or company who defies these laws. Anyone who is accused of infringing on Adobe’s copyright should understand copyright laws and penalties. 

What warrants Copyright Infringement? 

Under U.S. copyright law, someone who creates an “original work of authorship” is afforded a level of legal protection and authority over that work. Copyright extends to various types of work  including music, pieces of literature, poems, photos, movies, and software. The creator of a copyrighted work maintains an exclusive right to determine what other people can do with the copyrighted work.

Many people are surprised to discover that most software is protected under U.S. copyright law. Much like music, movies, and other original works, the copyright owner of a piece of software has specific legal rights to the software code. For example, the copyright owner can exercise authority over the right to reproduction and distribution of the software code. 

Consequences of Copyright Infringement

Copyright infringement carries harsh penalties. For example,  if someone is found to have intentionally, or willfully infringed a copyrighted work, such as downloading software without a valid license, they may be required to pay civil penalties of up to $150,000 per infringed work and they could face potential jail time. In addition, they may have to pay statutory damages up to $30,000 per infringed work.

Adobe is Protected under Copyright Laws 

Adobe has the rights to its software products under U.S. copyright law. Therefore, as the copyright owner, they exercise authority over the right to reproduction and distribution of their software. If Adobe accuses an individual or business of infringing on their copyrighted software without proper authorization, under law they have reason to send a cease and desist letter or file a lawsuit against the alleged individual or business. 

Adobe Software Response to Alleged Copyright Infringement

Adobe has specific protocols in place to address alleged copyright infringement. For example, Adobe is an active member of the Business Software Alliance (BSA), which is a company that focuses on identifying alleged software infringers and seeks settlements.

One tactic BSA uses is to send out an “audit demand” letter concerning an alleged unlicensed use of Adobe’s software. This audit demand letter is sophisticated in that it does not specifically contain an accusation of copyright infringement. Instead, the letter asks the recipient to conduct an audit and fill out a “declaration of compliance.”

In addition to letting BSA go after users of its software, Adobe may have embedded “phone-home” technology in its software to track unlicensed usage.

The Role of an Adobe Software Copyright Infringement Lawyer

Considering the potential penalties associated with copyright infringement (civil penalties, statutory penalties, and criminal penalties), having an effective lawyer by your side in a copyright infringement case is critically important. During the initial consultation, the attorney will learn the relevant facts and provide an overview of the accused infringer’s legal rights and potential legal options going forward. 

The attorney will also begin developing a response to communications from Adobe, or a third-party representative of Adobe such as BSA. Then, the attorney will begin compiling and reviewing evidence related to the alleged copyright infringement. The attorney will represent their client during negotiations with Adobe in order to reach a settlement agreement, allowing their client to avoid the time-consuming and costly nature of litigation. If a settlement cannot be reached, an attorney will represent their client in court and employ a legal strategy to fight for the best possible outcome. 

Potential Defenses Against Adobe Software Copyright Infringement Claims

First, it is important to note that not all aspects of the Adobe software program are protected under U.S. copyright law. For example, copyright protections do not extend to “functional aspects” of a computer program, such as algorithms, formatting, functions, logic, or system design of a particular program. This may be relevant depending on the specific allegations contained in Adobe’s complaint or cease-and-desist letter. 

Other defenses that may be worth raising against Adobe include the following:

  • Statute of limitations: According to the U.S. Copyright Act, the statute of limitations for a copyright violation is three years for civil lawsuits. This means a copyright infringement lawsuit must be filed within three years of discovering the violation. Otherwise, the defendant can seek to have the case dismissed.
  • Valid License: If someone downloaded Adobe software with a valid license, then Adobe’s copyright infringement claim has no merit. 
  • First Sale Doctrine: Under the first sale doctrine, when a copy of a work is lawfully sold or transferred, the new owner may have the right “to sell or otherwise dispose of” that copy without the copyright owner’s permission.

An attorney will create and argue a legal defense that is best suited to the specific situation of their client. 


What constitutes copyright infringement of Adobe Software?

When someone installs Adobe software on a device (e.g., laptop, computer, company equipment, etc.) or network, they need to have a valid license. For a software license to be valid, there needs to be evidence of a proper “chain of title.” Basically, this means there needs to be a paper trail indicating where your company purchased a license to use the Adobe software from a valid and authorized source. If the Adobe software was downloaded without a valid license, then Adobe may have grounds to file a copyright infringement claim.

How does Adobe Software detect and prove copyright infringement?

According to Adobe, the company uses “software validation tests” to check for tampering and invalid software licenses. When it discovers an issue, it notifies the end user and attempts to resolve the problem.

Can I still be sued for copyright infringement if I got the software from someone else?

Yes. The burden is on the user to ensure that they obtain a proper license for copyrighted material. If the software is copyrighted but isn’t listed as “free” or “open source” the courts may presume that you were aware it was illegal to use it without paying.

What are the potential consequences of being found guilty of copyright infringement?

A copyright infringement claim carries potentially significant consequences, including both civil and criminal penalties. For example, if a court finds intentional, or willful copyright infringement occurred, then the defendant could be ordered to pay civil penalties of up to $150,000 per infringed work. In addition, the defendant may be ordered to pay statutory damages of up to $30,000 per infringed work.

Depending on circumstances, a defendant also may be ordered to pay criminal penalties of up to $250,000 per infringed work and serve up to five years in prison.

Can I negotiate a settlement or licensing agreement with Adobe Software?

Yes, but successfully negotiating an amicable resolution with a large company like Adobe can be challenging. This is one of the reasons why it is recommended to hire a reputable Adobe software copyright infringement lawyer to help resolve the claim. A skilled copyright infringement attorney can negotiate on their client’s behalf and try to reach an amicable settlement.

What should I bring to my initial consultation with a copyright lawyer?

Make sure to bring any communications from Adobe, such as a copy of their cease-and-desist letter or “settlement demand” letter. It may also be helpful to bring any documentation related to how you downloaded the Adobe software identified in the copyright infringement letter. 

Examples of Adobe Software Copyright Infringement Cases

Any mention of litigation in Adobe’s communications concerning a copyright infringement claim should be taken seriously. Adobe has shown that it will take a copyright infringement claim to court to try and secure a verdict against a defendant. 

There are examples of Adobe falling short in court and not prevailing against an alleged infringer. For example, in Adobe Systems, Inc. v. Christenson, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that the unauthorized sale of physical copies of Adobe software by the defendant was protected under the first sale doctrine. The appellate court reasoned that Adobe failed to produce sufficient evidence, such as contract terms, substantiating its claims that it licensed, rather than sold, software. 

However, there are other cases confirming Adobe’s dogged pursuit and recovery of statutory damages. For example, in Adobe Systems Incorporated v. Cain, Adobe secured a permanent injunction, post-judgment interest, and $5,000 in statutory damages against the defendant in a copyright infringement lawsuit. 

Contact a Rosenblum Law Copyright Infringement Lawyer Today

If Adobe is accusing you of copyright infringement, do not ignore their communications. Adobe has the resources and personnel to litigate a copyright infringement claim and pursue maximum penalties. 

This is why it is critically important to schedule a consultation with Rosenblum Law. During a consultation, you will get the chance to speak with a knowledgeable Adobe software copyright infringement lawyer. Our team of legal professionals is ready to go to work to protect your legal rights and fight for you. Contact us today to schedule a free, confidential consultation.

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