I wish that every pirate was so stupid as to put the wrong TV networks logo on their DVD ‘product’ or, better, print something like ‘Chung Kung Photoshop CZ3 Softwear’ or ‘Microwerks Windoows 7’. Unfortunately, most are much better than that but they are not perfect. I would think that Photoshop is the most obvious Adobe product to pirate due to the extreme demand for it although it is very possible that the full Creative Suite and other products are affected as well. PhotoTurbo.com has a very good, quick checklist:
(NOTE: For Microsoft issues, please skip to the end of this post.)
How to identify fake Adobe Creative Suite software:
- Look on box bottom at white UPC code sticker. Legitimate Adobe software should say “Printed in the USA” on the box bottom in fine print. Fake Adobe software leaves out the word “the” and says “Printed in USA”.
- Real Adobe software says “Made in USA” below the word “lotcode”. Fake Adobe software says “Made in USA” directly below the barcode.
- Legitimate Adobe Creative Suite software says “WIN RET UE”, fake software says “WIN RET IE”.
The above would have helped me but I would have never known that I had a fake copy if another buyer of Photoshop from the same US based ebay seller hadn’t contacted me. The product ‘registered’ smoothly as I would have expected and it works flawlessly. I registered myself at the Adobe website and cheacked to see if my copy of Photoshop CS3 was registered there. Not surprisingly, Adobe has no record of my owning this copy of Photoshop despite having ‘registered’ it ‘successfully’ via my software’s interface. You can run your serial number at Adobe to see if it accepts it directly at the Adobe website. In fact, if you bought it anywhere other than directly from an Adobe authorized dealer, it is the first thing that you should do once you have the software. My copy has the first two of the above listed problems and it does not have a warranty card which seems to be another issue. Overall though, like my Microsoft Windows 7 software, it looks great! These items were obviously made in a factory to generally very good standards. How they missed the little details, I will never know. I suspect that most bogus Adobe software users are quite happy overall and have no idea that they are using nothing more than they would be getting from a torrent site although in my case, I am unaware of any virus or malware being detected by my Kaspersky anti-virus software. The torrent site’s version may be worse in that regard plus, you know you have a downloaded a fake copy!
Tony Sleeps post at Pirate Software Alert is good and leads to his own website info with his experience. He is likely quite correct in the allegation that eBay, Amazon (Amazon Marketplace), Best Buy (Best Buy Marketplace), and PayPal care minimally about this as they make nice commissions on every sale. (NOTE: I added Best Buy from an Adobe post on the piracy subject. That post an links to the rest of what Adobe has on the subject.) Amazon and Best Buy are legitimate dealers but their ‘marketplaces’ are the wild west, it seems. You can get your money back from ebay and PayPal (and likely the others too) if you notice withing 30 days (only). Yet another good post on this subject is at We Rock Your Web. Sadly, Adobe seems to care only minimally about this problem as best as I can tell as do, as noted, most of the other big players.
The biggest problem that counterfeiters seem to have with making Microsoft software is manufacturing the discs themselves. The holograms on Microsoft discs are permanently etched into the plastic. Counterfeiters (thus far) seem to have to use decals for this. You can also peel off the label on a counterfeit disc. A real disc has a painted on label. Sadly, until you look hard, it looks quite good. For more about fake Microsoft software, you should go to their excellent ‘How To Tell’ page. For ‘packaged software’ (what you see at Best Buy and other retailers and what most counterfeiters offer too), you should go to the Microsoft’s ‘Packaged Software How To Tell‘ page. If you have any questions Microsoft software authenticity, check these pages immediately. You may have the ability to take recourse through ebay or other buyer protection programs or through PayPal or your credit card company but only for a very short while. You may want to check even if you don’t think there is a problem as you may be wrong! As noted below, Microsoft may be willing to help you too but you should use that as the method of last resort in fairness to them plus you really don’t want to re-install all of you files and software a second time. Ttrust me on that!
I will have to give a big 5 star rating to Microsoft! They have an excellent reporting system and once I sent them my pirated software, they sent me a complementary copy of Windows 7 Ultimate EOM version. They didn’t have to do this. Microsoft will help you if you encounter this problem. The downside is that I had to copy everything from my computer to memory sticks and reload all of the programs for a second time. A big ‘hats off’ to them though in any event!