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Adobe is updating its terms of service following a backlash over recent changes

In Technology
June 11, 2024

Following customer outrage over its latest terms of service (ToS), Adobe is making updates to add more detail around areas like of AI and content ownership, the company said in a blog post. “Your content is yours and will never be used to train any generative AI tool,” wrote head of product Scott Belsky and VP of legal and policy Dana Rao.

Subscribers using products like Photoshop, Premiere Pro and Lightroom were incensed by new, vague language they interpreted to mean that Adobe could freely use their work to train the company’s generative AI models. In other words, creators thought that Adobe could use AI to effectively rip off their work and then resell it.

Other language was thought to mean that the company could actually take ownership of users’ copyrighted material (understandably so, when you see it).

None of that was accurate, Adobe said, noting that the new terms of use were put in place for its product improvement program and content moderation for legal reasons, mostly around CSAM. However, many users didn’t see it that way and Belsky admitted that the company “could have been clearer” with the updated ToS.

“In a world where customers are anxious about how their data is used, and how generative AI models are trained, it is the responsibility of companies that host customer data and content to declare their policies not just publicly, but in their legally binding Terms of Use,” Belsky said.

To that end, the company promised to overhaul the ToS using “more plain language and examples to help customers understand what [ToS clauses] mean and why we have them,” it wrote.

Adobe didn’t help its own cause by releasing an update on June 6th with some minor changes to the same vague language as the original ToS and no sign of an apology. That only seemed to fuel the fire more, with subscribers to its Creative Cloud service threatening to quit en masse.

In addition, Adobe claims that it only trains its Firefly system on Adobe Stock images. However, multiple artists have noted that their names are used as search terms in Adobe’s stock footage site, as Creative Bloq reported. The results yield AI-generated art that occasionally mimics the artists’ styles.

Its latest post is more of a true mea culpa with a detailed explanation of what it plans to change. Along with the AI and copyright areas, the company emphasized that users can opt out of its product improvement programs and that it will more “narrowly tailor” licenses to the activities required. It added that it only scans data on the cloud and never looks at locally stored content. Finally, Adobe said it will be listening to customer feedback around the new changes.

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