Software piracy. Nobody likes to talk about it, but let's be frank; it's a thing. And when a company like Adobe comes out with an all-encompassing software package like Creative Suite 6, which can cost several thousand dollars (Creative Suite 6 Master Collection is about $2500, and Creative Suite 6 Production Premium is about $1800 USD), some people are going to choose to steal the software. You know it, I know it, and Adobe knows it...
The BSA's most recent survey on Piracy in North America shows that about 19% of respondents admitted that they "mostly" pirate software. And about 31% admitted to pirating some software at least some of the time. Admittedly, the BSA's sample size on this survey was a bit small, only 500 people. However, even with wide error margins, the number of self-reported pirates is quite high. One way that I think Adobe is smartly combating piracy is with the Creative Cloud subscription service. For a reasonable monthly fee, you can get access to everything they offer. It's a great way for users to amortize out the cost of software ownership over time, and of course it's good for Adobe. I see this as a creative solution to the piracy issue, and it also allows users access to the latest and greatest features and versions. Is it cheaper? Not really, it seems to wash out to roughly the same cost in the end. But a low monthly payment is easier for a lot of people to justify, instead of a steep purchase every couple years when major versions are released.
I wanted to take a moment and highlight something I don't hear mentioned a lot, and that is Adobe's very steep discounts for Students & Teachers. Did you know that Students, Teachers, Faculty or staff attending or employed by a primary or secondary school, public/private university, school district, board of education, and even teachers of a homeschooled student are eligible for Adobe's education pricing? The pricing breaks are significant; for instance, Creative Suite 6 Production Premium Student/Teacher edition is $409 USD at B&H, and currently also has an additional $50 instant discount, making it just $359 (through September 30th). All you have to do is provide proper documentation to Adobe to show that you are legitimately a student or teacher or staff at one of the organizations they count (and that list is broad), and you're legal. And they also offer the same level of discounts for the Creative Cloud service. Everything as a web-based subscription for under $30 a month. Not bad.
This is not an Adobe ad. I owe them nothing, and they've never given me anything. I chose to talk about Adobe in this case, because they recently came out with the CS6 update, and it's a doozie. CS6 is a major Premiere and After Effects update, a major Photoshop update, and all the other products have gotten solid revs as well. For video professionals fleeing the FCP7-to-FCPX debacle, CS6 is a very attractive option. And I simply think that if a company makes an effort to reach out to educators and students who may not have the financial resources to purchase their software at full price, we should support that effort. $400 for Production Premium is certainly not peanuts, but it's a significant discount for an all-encompassing package like CS6 Production Premium, and it's well within reach of cash-strapped students who are just getting started in this industry.
If you're a student (or educator) in this situation, you've got options, and they are very reasonably priced. You'll have access to support, and you'll be supporting the people at Adobe who have worked hard to make CS6 a powerful package for professionals. I'd like for them to be able to keep doing that. And I'm glad to see them offering very reasonably priced options for those in education.
Side note: If you have purchased an Adobe Student & Teacher Edition product, and don't know how to activate it...simply go to www.adobe.com/go/edu-validate and enter your Product Code there to verify your educational product eligibility. With a school edu email address, the process is simple and painless.