Yes, anyone can sue anyone else for almost anything. Winning a lawsuit is an entirely different matter, but that won’t stop large corporations from threatening anyone who does not play by their rules.
It’s The Revised Golden Rule. “Them with the gold, gets to rule“, right? Alright, allow me to couple the new age golden rule to the trendy and buzzword worthy App Subscription trend. What could go wrong? How about, ‘If you don’t use our apps the way we want then we will sue you.
Trend, Meet Reality
Here’s the deal. Adobe is one of the world’s most prolific app subscription enterprises. You can’t buy Photoshop or Lightroom, but you can rent them by the month. The same applies to Adobe’s Creative Cloud suite of applications. Subscription really means rental.
What’s the catch?
We have recently discontinued certain older versions of Creative Cloud applications, and as a result, under the terms of our agreement, you are no longer licensed to use them.
But I’m still paying my monthly dues, Adobe? What’s the problem if I don’t upgrade my older versions to newer versions?
Please be aware that should you continue to use the discontinued version(s), you may be at risk of potential claims of infringement by third parties.
Uh oh. I could get sued? For using what I’m paying for?
Why would Adobe take my money each month and then put me in a position to get sued for using older versions of the company’s software?
Well, it’s not actually Adobe threatening to sue. See that “by third parties” in the official corporate statement? The third party in question is not mentioned but seems to be Dolby. Adobe licensed Dolby technology but seems to have refused proper audits of usage, which means such technology still is being used by Adobe Creative Cloud subscribers.
Adobe won’t pay what Dolby thinks is due from all those Creative Cloud accounts that have, so far, refused to upgrade to newer versions.
Good grief, what a mess.
There are two items to take away from this new age imbroglio. First, too much of the software we use these days is subscription based, and that means we must adhere to the fine print. Second, even large companies such as Adobe have enemies who are willing to put the squeeze on third party customers for the sake of fine print.
How about this scenario?
You rent Office from Microsoft, but you use Word to create a much maligned and hate alt-right or alt-left document that gets spread around the interwebs, and the content of which also goes against specific tenants of the user agreement.
Can Microsoft stop you from using Office? Hey, Facebook stops users whose political or religious beliefs do not conform to some fuzzy guidelines, so it could happen (and does). Can Microsoft stop you from using Office if your personal usage and beliefs go against those the company protects?
Usage according to a specific contract is not free speech, but derivatives of The Revised Golden Rule exist.
Treat other people the way they want to be treated
Likewise, we may think our monthly payment gives us entire freedom to use a product the way we prefer, but legalese tells us otherwise. I want to use a product the way I want to use it, legalese notwithstanding, so maybe Adobe and Dolby and app developers with subscription apps can figure out a better way to treat customers.
Social groups will never experience lasting harmony when one section of the group is required to comply with the preferences of another section of the group.
Wasn’t it Leslie Gore who sang, “You Don’t Own Me?”
Treat other people the way they want to be treated. The secret to successful partnerships, families, schools, clubs, communities, and societies is as simple and as complex as that.