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The legal status of the fonts packaged with the trial version of CS5.5 after expiry

Jul 31, 2011 10:36 AM



This is basically a question of conscience: I recently had the 30 day trial version of CS5.5, and was surprised to find that after the trial expired the fonts included in the demo package did not “self destruct” but continued to be available on my system. Does this mean that I can legitimately keep them on my computer (strictly for personal use)? The situation seems somewhat paradoxical – I can’t imagine Adobe simply giving these fonts away, yet I also can’t imagine them expecting people to hunt the fonts down and delete them independently once the trial period runs out. (Obviously they hope people will buy the full product, but unfortunately that proved not to be an option for me at the moment.) I didn't see anything about this in the initial terms and conditions when installing the trial package and cannot find any official stance on this in the documentation, so unless I missed something, it would seem that Adobe has no ground to ask people to manually remove the fonts in this situation. I would appreciate your advice.

  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 31, 2011 3:19 PM   in reply to Erhp

    Adobe's licensing system is unable to control fonts that were installed on your computer as part of the trial of the CS programs/suite you have installed. Technically and morally, you have no right to continue to use the fonts that were installed. Adobe obviously hopes that you will purchase what you tested. It is not acting as big brother and scanning your system for bits and pieces to remove from your system. I do not know if the program uninstaller removes the fonts it installed or not. I assume that Adobe is would like people to remove fonts they are not licensed to use, but they probably understand that some people might continue to use the fonts.


    Michael Kazlow (not an official spokesperson for Adobe)

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    Aug 2, 2011 12:50 AM   in reply to Erhp



    So if it is the case that for technical or privacy reasons the software cannot deal with the fonts automatically


    A rather obvious reason could be that any or all of the fonts may have been acquired legally before the installation, possibly/probably as downloads, or with other applications. The outcry of such an invasive act as deleting all fonts (not specifically asked for) included in a trial version would not leave Adobe unscathed.


    The possible, and possibly inadvertent, misuse of such fonts may be seen as a risk worth taking, especially when knowing that many breaches of font licenses occur, sometimes through negligence (such as sending the fonts used along with files for print/editing/elaboration instead of embedding them in PDFs or outlining them), even by otherwise knowledgeable and careful users.


    Hopefully, you have been able to discern between fonts that were and were not installed already, before the trial version.


    Said by someone never having downloaded Adobe trial versions and always having embedded fonts in PDF.

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    Aug 5, 2011 7:31 AM   in reply to Erhp

    You are welcome, erhp.


    Many years ago, I bought the fairest font, along with its SC&OSF sister font, only to find out that it was included in Illustrator; in other applications, it shows up as two separate fonts. Better two than none.


    Maybe Thomas or Dov could shed some light on the possible considerations.


    Thomas? Dov?

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 3, 2011 7:24 AM   in reply to Jacob Bugge

    I don't know if Thomas is willing to comment on Adobe policy, since he no longer works for them, and hasn't for a few years now (pre CS 5, certainly).


    I was going to suggest that Adobe might offer the trials sans extras like fonts, then I realized that the last few years of trials have had a "buy it now" feature where you can purchase a serial number to make your trial a full copy. This means they really have to include the full package in the trial, since some of the trials are being converted to full copies.


    I suspect that Adobe is not greatly concerned about trial fonts being available. The company seems to be making the bulk of its money on software, not fonts.

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    Sep 3, 2011 9:20 AM   in reply to Don McCahill

    Dov is also posting here, Don.


    But one month has been too short to lure him into this thread, if anything can.

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    Sep 3, 2011 1:36 PM   in reply to Erhp

    Adobe is not giving those fonts away.


    If you decide not to purchase a license to an Adobe product after installing and using the trial, you have no legal right to use the font after the trial period is over.


    Yes, the removal of those fonts was not accounted for but that doesn't change their legal status.


    Unfortunately, there are two problems associated with killing the ability to use the fonts after the trial period is over:


    (1)     We don't automatically uninstall the software after the trial period is over. We simply don't let you run it via the activation mechanism which blocks the execution. However, fonts are not involved in the activation mechanism (at least not currently) and as such, when the trial is over, the fonts are still installed and accessible by other programs. We would need to get the fonts into the activation mechanism somehow to be able to control their use when either a trial is over or the software is otherwise uninstalled!


    (2)     Currently, the Adobe fonts are installed into the system fonts directory. We would need to be careful to keep track of whether the user already had licenses to such fonts prior to installing a trial of Adobe software and not mucking with their status afterwards.


              - Dov

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