Adobe goes ballistic over a tweet linking to a 27-year-old version of Acrobat Reader

Originally published at: Adobe goes ballistic over a tweet linking to a 27-year-old version of Acrobat Reader | Boing Boing


Its beefed up engineering team will work on accelerating the development of its Talisman brand protection platform, which uses web crawlers to trawl thousands of sites for copyright infringements.

Hm. I’m sure that Incopro’s web crawlers properly identify themselves, right? Maybe I’ll add a robots.txt entry like this one:

# Not seeeing my benefit in their grandiose business plan.
  User-agent: MJ12bot
  Disallow: /

There’s so much wrong about Adobe’s business model and the stranglehold that it has over certain aspects of the digital “production” industry. But its hold over the Acrobat and the PDF file format is really the worst of all. Most of the alternatives to Acrobat are not as robust, finicky or just as predatory in terms of their pricing and practices. The shift to the subscription model and aggressive crackdown on pirated copies just goes to show that Adobe knows it’s in a losing battle with time and has a lot to lose. Hopefully someone develops a really robust alternative to Acrobat that doesn’t require an insane subscription and finally cuts Adobe down to size.

…or we all switch to DJVU :roll_eyes:


Waaaaait a minute; this is over the ‘free’ Reader software?!?! I mean, I already knew Adobe was evil, but this is just appropriating the urine.


well played. And yes, yes I am


I keep waiting for GIMP to get some of the love that Blender now gets, so it turns into a proper alternative to Photoshop. (I’d even settle for “an alternative to a 10-year-old copy of Photoshop.”)




I use a legal copy of Adobe Acrobat 9.0, which Adobe won’t update anymore. I haven’t had Acrobat Reader on my computer for some years, because I prefer full Acrobat. But when I got a document created in the latest version of Reader, Acrobat 9.0 wouldn’t open it. So I went to download Reader and learned that it now moves all your documents into some cloud it controls, and refuses to let Acrobat be the default app for reading PDFs. Searched on-line for a fix and got scolded for using old software.

These people want to control everything.


I remember when Adobe wasn’t evil. They had some pretty neat technology - PostScript, Portable Document Format, Display PostScript…then greed took over. I think the inflection point was when John Warnock left the company, but I could be wrong.


I’m confused. How does a link to something hosted by someone else qualify for a DMCA takedown? Is Adobe claiming copyright interest in the link? The copyright in question is the old version of the software, so the takedown request be sent to WinWorld.


I have the disc to Adobe Standard from my older scanner that didn’t have drivers for Win 10. Still use it and periodically have to check the ‘I prefer not to register online’ box. I have a pile of PDF viewers and editors that aren’t Adobe as well.
Won’t buy Photoshop or Lightroom, ever. The rest of the digital world is catching up to Adobe and I’ll be happy to see them become just another company scrambling for people’s business because other products work as well or better. My bet is that’s only a few years down the road.


Affinity Photo is a great Ps alternative…


This seems a little jumpy even by their standards(maybe they are a bit ashamed of just how little has improved in almost three decades of bloating?); but Adobe has insisted that, technically, you are required to obtain a distribution license for reader, even for internal use like IT deployment to company workstations; as well as for public facing deployment like inclusion with CDs that have PDF manuals or the like on them. Not sure if it has always been this way; but it has been this way as long as I’ve been in IT.

It’s a relatively perfunctory click-through, at least for the corporate internal distribution case; not like you have to do a bunch of faxing with Legal; but they don’t even do the “free” as in “no disassembling allowed”; all distribution that isn’t individual consumers downloading it directly from them requires a license.

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Have you tried Krita? I guess its KDE’s alternative to Gnome’s GIMP. It doesn’t cover all use cases Photoshop does, but a lot of artists use it because they prefer it.

I’ve also heard good things about Affinity. That’s commercial and sold for a flat fee.


imagine that with a sticky bowl of fruit

Robo IP cops, with automated artificial stupidity. It’s like the music industry sending takedowns against sites with file names remotely similar to music titles, and not even a playable file type.


I think you’re missing my point.

The Twitter notice said they got “a compliant Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) Notice for content posted to your Twitter account.” [emphasis added]

Compliant DMCA notices have to be “signed” by a human. So while a robot probably alerted someone to the Twitter post, a human authorized issuing the notice.

The DMCA takedown process is for infringing content. Deep links are not content. You can be busted for contributory copyright infringement for knowingly deep linking to infringing content, but that doesn’t change the fact that the link itself is not infringing content. You can also be busted for trafficking for deep linking to tools or how-to information meant to bypass copyright protection mechanisms. Even if that were relevant here, the link itself isn’t copyright-infringing content and is not subject to the DMCA takedown process.

If links themselves were considered infringing content, then the Memory Hole wouldn’t be able to host copies of all those DMCA takedown notices.

I have two guesses for what actually happened here:

  1. Twitter grabbed an image from the page at that link to include in the post, and Adobe is claiming the image infringes copyright.

  2. The tech companies have reached a mutual agreement with the content owners to let them censor links to infringing content and, rather than creating a separate system for that, they simply re-use their DMCA system.


The point is it doesn’t matter. This isn’t a court of law. When a corporation complains about a person to a platform (usually via a terrible bot) the platform finds in favor of the corporation every time. There are no rights, oversights, or protections here. This is everything that’s wrong with social media, copyright enforcement, and privately-owned everything right now. :confused:

If I hum a tune in one of my YouTube videos, some automated bot might flag it and my whole account (and livelihood) gets banned for life with no recourse, trial, or appeal process. It’s happened to me once with an old blog I had and I’m a lot more careful now.


The simplest explanation is that the company probably gets paid proportionally to the number of complaints made. As a result, they have a cheesy automated system that has many false positives for various reasons, cuts all kinds of legal corners and spams Twitter’s complaint system without a human anywhere in the loop to check if the complaints make sense.

There’s no penalty for making these claims, beyond an occasional “oops, sorry”, so why spend money correcting their system?


Now I have to download this just to spite them.