Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Hypocrisy -> Adobe Flash Runtime Restrictions for Player 10.1

Update: Adobe Clears the Air

I am confused. Not a first, I know... or a last for that matter. But follow me on this one and see if this makes sense to you:

1. Adobe leads Open Screen Project initiative to "Enable consumers to engage with rich Internet experiences seamlessly across any device, anywhere". (Sources: OpenScreenProject, Oct. 2009 Press Release)
2. "Adobe Runtime Restrictions. You will not use any Adobe Runtime on any non-PC device or with any embedded or device version of any operating system." They go on to list mobile, digital signage, TV, etc, as examples. (Source: Flash Player 10.1 End user License Agreement)

#1 seems clear enough. Everyone use Flash Everywhere! Yeah Flash!

#2 also seems clear. Flash is only for the PC, otherwise do no pass go, do not collect 200 dollars.

Hmmm. The press release states that Flash 10.1 is going to be geared for desktop AND mobile. The 10.1 EULA states that you need to contact Adobe Licensing for more information on obtaining a license on non-PC devices... including mobile.

After a quick Google search, it seems I am not the only one confused. Even 'Expert Digital Signage Consulting' is confused. AND they are experts! (and consultants!)

In the comments of the post you will notice that Bill Gerba, of WireSpring states:

We have been told -- in no uncertain terms, by Adobe legal themselves -- that if you want to use an Adobe-provided Flash player for digital signage, you HAD to license it from one of their special licensing agents, regardless of operating system, size of screen, or any other factor.


This can't be right. Open Source for all devices yet you need a license for digital signage???

Adobe, hear our plea! Clear this hypocrisy up please!

7 comments:

yanli said...

There is nothing wrong. This is common business model that have been used for years. Linux and vendors invented this model.

Ickydime said...

@yanli
Have you ever heard the phrase, "Just because someone else is doing it does not make it right"?

Whatever Linux 'invented' has nothing to do with whether or not this practice is right or wrong.

Developers (aka The Basement) are wanting to start projects for these Open Screen Devices yet they are worried they are breaking legal documentation and could be sued.

Bottom line: Adobe needs to update their EULA or renege on their Open Screen Project.

John Dowdell said...

Sorry, I don't know enough to meaningfully reply... someone said they heard something from someone in Adobe Legal, and they paraphrased it. Hard to tell what was actually said.

I had seen a similar thread on digital signage the other day... different than your link. He doesn't clearly say what he wants to do, or who he mailed (asking what) at Adobe. Particularly as he's trying to decipher legal talk, it's hard for me to respond.

Anyone can install Adobe Flash Player from adobe.com. But to *redistribute* Player in your own device requires agreements with Adobe -- otherwise anything might get called "Player". The Open Screen Project doesn't require cash licensing, but does require certain capabilities such as the ability to update.

I do know that lots and lots of firms use Flash for digital signage, which lends further credence that this request had some other conditions attached to it.

Hard to tell though, among all those words, what the blogger wanted to do.

I'll forward these two posts to other people in Adobe, however.

jd/adobe

Ickydime said...

@John,
Thanks for taking the time to address this. Much appreciated.

From you recap, it sounds as though you can install the Runtime if the device goes to Adobe.com for the installation AND if the device has the ability to update the player.

That would make sense to me. However, I still don't think that is how the EULA reads:

"You will not use any Adobe Runtime on any non-PC device or with any embedded or device version of any operating system"

That line says nothing about distribution... plain and simple, you can not use the Runtime on a non-PC.

Anonymous said...

Hi,

The EULA and distribution agreement have not been updated yet. We don't have mobile builds posted anywhere since they aren't in beta.

If you check the date, the EULA is from Feb of 2008.

Also, keep in mind that Adobe may not be the ones distributing the player binaries. Through Open Screen Project, partners can license source for porting in which case the EULA does not come from Adobe.

Also note that OSP royalty free terms are for open systems with the goal of providing a consistent runtime for web browsing and applications. Closed systems do not qualify for royalty free licensing. If you have a question about whether your use case qualifies for OSP terms, you can contact OSP here http://www.openscreenproject.org/contact/

Thanks,
Emmy Huang
Group Product Manager, Adobe Flash Player

Dave Haynes said...

I wrote the digital signage industry post that was a bit of a catalyst for this post. I am glad to see Adobe people weighing in but I can't say I feel all that enlightened by this.

Emmy's comment is useful, but plain English, please ...

Thanks

Dave Haynes
www.presetgroup.com

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