Adobe wants to use your content for AI training Adobe wants to use your content for AI training

Adobe wants Photoshop users to give up their content rights

The updated Terms of Service have questionable lines in them that would give Adobe unrestricted access to personal content.

Thanks to a change in its Terms of Use, Adobe is in the spotlight, which has ignited significant backlash from the creative community, specifically Photoshop and Substance 3D users. The new terms require users to grant Adobe unlimited access to their projects, raising concerns over privacy and intellectual property.

Earlier this week, users discovered that Adobe’s updated Terms of Service demand unrestricted access to all user creations, including those protected by NDAs. According to the TOS, this access is for “content review” and other unspecified purposes, sparking fears that Adobe intends to leverage user-generated content to train its AI models. These fears are not unfounded, given Adobe’s recent focus on generative AI technologies.

Adobe Firefly, a product developed using Adobe’s Sensei platform, exemplifies this concern. Firefly, which entered public beta in March 2023, is designed to generate various designs by leveraging extensive datasets, including Creative Commons images, Adobe Stock, and public domain content.

Users fear that unless Adobe explicitly changes the wording of the new TOS, their personal projects might be used for AI training purposes at some point in the future because they already agreed to the Terms of Service.

In response to the outcry, Jérémie Noguer, Product Director of the Substance 3D ecosystem, assured users that Adobe is not accessing or reading their projects, nor does it have plans or the capability to do so.

We are not accessing or reading Substance users’s projects in any way, shape or form nor are we planning to or have any means to do it in the first place. I fail to see the point of doing so and every serious company in the industry would drop us immediately if it was the case.

Jérémie Noguer on X

However, this statement has done little to quell the discontent among users who feel their creative work is under threat.

Mark Kern, the former Co-founder and CEO of Red 5 Studios, said, “So take it out of the legal TOS. If it’s not happening or going to happen, you don’t need to claim the rights to our art, do you?”

He continued by adding, “Do you think we’re naïve? You are probably adding AI tools in the near future, or adding “content aware fill” like capabilities, or any tool that might require processing in the cloud, which triggers the legal clause, even if the files are local.”

Summary of rights Adobe 
@Adobe
 is asserting over YOUR work.
Mark Kern is a well-known video game executive who has worked on games like World of Warcraft, Diablo, and others. He goes by the moniker Grummz on X.

Section 4.2: A point of contention

The most contentious part of the update lies in section 4.2 of the Terms of Use, which grants Adobe a royalty-free, sublicensable license to “use, reproduce, publicly display, distribute, modify, create derivative works based on, publicly perform, and translate” user creations. Many users find this clause egregious, feeling it strips them of control over their own work.

The updated terms are structured as Access (2.2) to your content, Definition (4.1) of your content, and finally, the Permission (4.2) you grant to Adobe.

Here is the Access part:

Adobe's Terms of Use stipulate that the company may access, view, or listen to user content through both automated and manual methods for specific purposes, such as responding to feedback, addressing security issues, and enforcing the terms. Additionally, Adobe's automated systems may analyze user content using machine learning techniques to improve their services and user experience, all while adhering to legal constraints. (Section 2.2)
Adobe’s Terms of Use stipulate that the company may access, view, or listen to user content through both automated and manual methods for specific purposes, such as responding to feedback, addressing security issues, and enforcing the terms. Additionally, Adobe’s automated systems may analyze user content using machine learning techniques to improve their services and user experience, all while adhering to legal constraints. (Section 2.2)

The Definition (4.1) starts with, “Content means any text, information, communication, or material, such as audio files, video files, electronic documents, or images, that you upload, import into, embed for use by, or create using the Services and Software.”

It goes on to mention that content might be screened for things like CSAM, but as users on social media have pointed out – it’s not enough to believe that screening for illicit material is the only purpose here based on the wording used.

Here is what the Permission (4.2) part says:

Solely for the purposes of operating or improving the Services and Software, you grant us a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free sublicensable, license, to use, reproduce, publicly display, distribute, modify, create derivative works based on, publicly perform, and translate the Content. For example, we may sublicense our right to the Content to our service providers or to other users to allow the Services and Software to operate with others, such as enabling you to share photos.

You can preview Adobe’s Terms of Service yourself here.

Adding to the frustration, Sam Santala, attempting to uninstall Photoshop discovered that the Adobe Uninstaller requires agreement to the updated Terms of Use, making it impossible to remove the software without consenting to the new terms.

While Adobe offers an opt-out option for content analysis, it comes with a caveat: the company reserves the right to access user content under “certain limited circumstances,” effectively bypassing user preferences.

Adobe has issued a response

Editorial note: This section has been rewritten to explain Adobe’s response. Initially, it discussed Adobe not having made an official statement yet—see the previous version of this article here.

The company has now issued a statement to address these concerns and provide clarity.

According to Adobe, the recent updates to their Terms of Use aimed to clarify the improvements in their moderation processes, particularly in light of the growing use of Generative AI. Adobe emphasizes that the updates include more human moderation to review content submissions responsibly.

Adobe reiterated that they require a limited license to access user content only to operate or improve their services and software and to comply with legal requirements. This means they might access your content to help with support requests, detect fraud, ensure security, and enforce their terms.

The company explains that access to user content is necessary for Adobe applications to perform their designed functions, such as opening and editing files, creating thumbnails, or enabling features like Photoshop’s Neural Filters and Remove Background. Adobe assures users that they can control how their content is used through specific settings.

For content stored on Adobe servers, the company may use automated technologies and manual review to screen for illegal or abusive content, such as child exploitation materials or phishing activities.

Adobe also reaffirmed its commitment to user rights, clarifying that Firefly Gen AI models are not trained on customer content but on licensed and public domain content. They stress that Adobe does not claim ownership of user work and that its role is merely to host content so users can utilize its applications and services.

We appreciate our customers who reached out to ask these questions which has given us an opportunity to clarify our terms and our commitments. We will be clarifying the Terms of Use acceptance customers see when opening applications.

Adobe

Adobe closed the update by acknowledging users’ concerns and thanking them for their questions, which have provided them with an opportunity to clarify their terms and commitments. They have promised to make these clarifications more visible to users when they accept the Terms of Use in Adobe applications.