What's is the point in buying graphic design programs like Adobe Photoshop, when I (using a cracked Photoshop) can tell people I work with Gimp?

Nobody is going to check my PC.

What is the danger? Besides the viruses, can I go to prison for that?

  • 1
    Why should a contractor use tools they bought at Home Depot when they can just steal it form the worksite down the street?
    – DA01
    Aug 19, 2014 at 4:29
  • 2
    It seems constructive to me. Analogies are a fine way of making a point.
    – JohnB
    Aug 19, 2014 at 4:39
  • 2
    @JohnB except your analogy does not work. If you pirate something you do not steal, as defined by the law, and even analogiously. The person you stole from retains the goods. Id be fine with somebody copying my power tools. Im all for analogies though.
    – joojaa
    Aug 19, 2014 at 5:32
  • 4
    In the end, this question isn't really about graphic design. It's about personal and professional ethics.
    – DA01
    Aug 19, 2014 at 5:35
  • 1
    This question was closed because it appears to be off-topic. As DA01 mentions, this is really about ethics rather than graphic design. The simple answer would be: Because it is illegal to use a pirated version of any Adobe program. Regarding what the professional consequences of doing it are, I imagine the main one is that you won't be able to share the original assets if required, because you will be stating you created them in Gimp when in reality you are working on PSD files. I think this question can be reopened if re-focused to the technical issues related, rather than the ethical ones.
    – Yisela
    Aug 19, 2014 at 12:46

4 Answers 4


After you incorporate, your more open for regulation, then you can usually be investigated, in most western countries. As a private person outside US and France not much chance getting caught, even in these countries its slim pickings. In anycase you might leave telltale signs that you did indeed use photoshop, in the files you send out, and what files your are ready to use. For example send pdf and the pdf says it was made with PS.

However, consider this: Your business as a graphics designer relys on this same goodwill. So by using pirated software you loose the moral high ground when claiming whats yours.

Anyway piracy is not a simple issue. Adobe being a big beneficiary of the neetwork effect and all. But, in light of new CC services it makes sense to subscribe if you need the features. Besides the software are quite cheap compared to many other professional software.

Anyway you should pay for it because thats the law. And because its the right thing to do.

  • your answer is good, but can you share any experience?
    – Rosenthal
    Aug 19, 2014 at 4:56
  • In the US there is nothing about the process of incorporation and checking one's computers.
    – DA01
    Aug 19, 2014 at 5:31
  • @DA01 BSA makes raids on businesses only its the only practical deterent checking this stuff it works the same in the us as most of europe and is even efficient in US (BSA originates form the USA). You can refuse to let BSA get in but the effect is another thing. Lets just say they have their ways. Amuwauy the risk of BSA to mom and pop shop is a not big, its only theoretical mostly.
    – joojaa
    Aug 19, 2014 at 7:44
  • @Joojaa BSA is an industry group. It doesn't have anything directly to do with the legal concept of incorporation. (meaning just because you incorporate under the law, it doesn't mean the BSA can walk in the front door.)
    – DA01
    Aug 19, 2014 at 8:35
  • @DA01 Ahh your hooked up on the wording. No it has nothing to do with incorporation. Incorporation changes your status, the stuff that is companies stuff is more open to regulation (in exhange of different tax laws). And BSA does get acces somehow trough this or the license agreement of the software, they can not walk in as i sad but they will react very badly if you do not let them do a audit. Changed body text to sparate the concepts a bit. PS your free to edit the text its a community wiki. Mainly because i dont want points form this topic.
    – joojaa
    Aug 19, 2014 at 9:29

WHAT IS THE DANGER? Besides the viruses, can I go to prison for that?

If you're asking purely about legal ramifications, then this probably isn't the right site to ask. It's a legal question. And legal questions are heavily dependent on where in the world you reside (and where in the world the entity you are infringing on resides).

Legally speaking, using unlicensed software would fall into the realms of intellectual property rights and contract law. These would typically be civil cases rather than criminal, so jail time isn't the typical outcome.

In the US, if caught, and the owner of said intellectual property wanted to pursue, the danger is likely that you and your company will be sued out of business.

There have been publicized cases of this in the past. Examples:

  • +1 Its mostly a theoretical threat. Anyway the way it worked for a software comppany I woked for. Was mostly nothing for catching unlicensed software in China and India. But one got caught in US. The way it worked was that we quite forcibly sold a retroactive license for 10 seats whereas they had one seat probably in use. In most of europe theres no way you could get sued out of existence.
    – joojaa
    Aug 19, 2014 at 7:55

This is exactly like why should you work when you can steal money from people or somewhere else.

Cracked versions are often not cleaned ones and sometimes comes with Trojan and Backdoors. They can not guaranty the safety of your data and computer and you can not claim the loss from no one. If you require the paid version of a software then it's good to pay and value someone's hard-work but there are always open source alternative for almost all the licensed softwares. You can go with open source alternatives if that suits your need.

EDIT: Yes, these softwares comes with international copyrights and laws, which can take you to prison or can make you to pay with a huge compensation amount or even worse then that, costing you money, your data and privacy (in case of Trojan and Backdoors) and prison.

  • 1
    Piracy in most countries leads to fines not prison.
    – joojaa
    Aug 19, 2014 at 4:54
  • @joojaa thanks for the correction buddy, but I have seen people going to prison for piracy in western countries. I am sorry that I am not able to recall the name at the moment.
    – Encrypter
    Aug 19, 2014 at 5:04

Try to think of it this way:

If someone copies your design verbatim and sells it claiming to be the owner, how would you feel? What would you do? Now think about the people who created the software with their sweat and tears. What do you think they feel? What do you think they'll do to you?

Live a clean life! After all, Creative Cloud is just pocket change for any serious designer...

  • India (for example, and not being racist) is full of designers that work with cracked software without caring about the effort of companies. Thats is why I made my question. There are many people that work with cracked software and nothing happens to them.
    – Rosenthal
    Aug 19, 2014 at 5:11
  • @syrux lots of people break the law and nothing happens to them. What you do is up to you.
    – DA01
    Aug 19, 2014 at 5:33
  • @syrux stealing will always be wrong. It is just plain immoral. Maybe that should be a marketing campaign - to avoid ordering services from designers using cracked software. I know the technology exists to do it. Aug 19, 2014 at 5:38

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