Written by: Emma Jean, Staff Writer

Adobe Creative Cloud Suite programs can no longer be downloaded for free as of September 29 due to an end in licensing. While the latest versions of Adobe Creative Cloud programs are not accessible, students can remotely use an older version of the Creative Cloud Suite programs, like Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign, through SFU Library’s remote online computer lab services. 

If students wish to access the current models of Creative Cloud Suite, they can either commute to any of SFU’s campuses to use in-person computer labs or pay a student fee of $26 a month for remote access. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Adobe had granted “temporary free student licensing” for remote students and faculty in March. SFU IT Communications Officer Courtney Pederson explained, “Originally Adobe wanted these temporary licenses to expire on May 31, 2020 but extended the date to July 6, 2020, due to popular global demand. 

“At this point, SFU negotiated with Adobe to extend the deadline to match the end of our summer semester, so classes would have time to conclude. Adobe agreed, and our licenses remained for August.” 

Pederson notes that SFU Library had hoped to offer students the 2020 Adobe Creative Cloud Suite through the online computer lab program, but due to the Adobe licensing contract, they were only allowed to grant students remote access to the 2018 version. 

Some students are finding it difficult to work within the new Adobe set-up. Communication and psychology student Hilary Tsui, who uses Creative Cloud Suite for co-op, found the compromise unsatisfactory. 

“While the remote access is an option, everything that is done via remote access isn’t even saved on the computer, and sending large files to yourself via email takes up a lot [of storage] in the Google Drive,” she noted. 

Tsui explained a dichotomy of choosing between her health and work, as the access cut forced her to stop halfway through: “I need to finish [my video] but I can’t really do that unless I go to campus and finish it there. I would rather limit my time on SFU as [ . . . ] I don’t want to expose myself [to COVID-19] too much.” While she was frustrated with the lack of notice she received about the access rescinding, she said she puts the blame on Adobe, not SFU. 

School of Interactive Arts & Technology student Pooria Arab said on Facebook that the change disrupted his course work. “I was about to miss deadlines and, even when I bought the subscription, it still didn’t work because of some bug that prevents me from using Photoshop,” he stated in a comment.

In regards to the future of remote Adobe licensing, it is unclear whether Adobe will be making changes. The Peak reached out to Adobe Canada, but they did not respond for comment. 

SFU IT has compiled a list of options for students, as well as non-Adobe software alternatives for students, on their website.