Adobe Systems Inc. has begun testing online activation of its Photoshop 7.0 application in Australia as a way of stemming the illegal use of its software. If the pilot is successful, and so far it is, the developer plans to begin using software activation in the United States later this year or early next, beginning with Photoshop and then expanding to other apps.
Drew McManus, director of Adobes anti-piracy efforts, says activation will require that customers who buy shrink-wrapped software--mainly consumers and small businesses--provide a serial number thats checked against its database, a process that takes 20 seconds or less. If the serial number is deemed legitimate, the encrypted application gets unlocked. To address privacy concerns, information on the activation server is kept separate from Adobes product-registration and customer databases.
Larger businesses that sign enterprise contracts wont have to deal with the new process. Thats because online activation can be an added burden in already complex IT environments, and because most companies dont intentionally misappropriate software anyway, says McManus. "Those companies want to be legal, but sometimes theyve lost control of the situation or its too hard to manage," he says. A future approach could involve helping IT departments use asset-management technology to better adhere to their Adobe license agreements.
News source: InformationWeek