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Render Engines and the Joy of LEGAL obligations – Part 2

Before I have an ‘Occupy After Effects’ movement on my front lawn – I wanted to provide some clarity on the decision we made, and why we made it.  For reference:

First off – this decision was not made while we chomp our cigars with feet on desk counting cash.  It was a legal requirement that came in at the 11th hour of CS 5.5 for which we had no capability to rectify in the timeframe (and still have reliable / stable software).  It’s that simple. No conspiracy.  No cash grab.  Simply making sure we are playing by the rules and not breaking the law.

Did we like it? – hell no.  Are we doing something about it? – hell yes.  Can I tell you what that is? – unfortunately – not at this time. (isn’t this fun?)

We cannot disclose what we are doing about it as we would also be breaking another set of financial and legal rules that every public company in existence MUST follow – not just Adobe.

Again – it is not the answer I would like to give – but it’s the truth.

What I am really happy about through all this though are 2 things:

1. People care enough to let us know when they think we are doing something wrong.

2. The render engine sure gets a LOT of use!

Therefore – please understand the current licensing issue for the render engine is not what we want, and is not some conspiracy to make a few more bucks.  That we are exploring ways to get to a viable solution sometime in the near future that gets back to an easy way to deploy the render engine – while still meeting those pesky legal obligations.


Render Engines and Joy of legal obligations

First – I am definitely not trying to pass the buck here.  This decision rests purely with us, and I want to make it clear as to why.

If you are unknown to the problem, AE CS 5.5 introduced the requirement for adding your serial number if you wish to use the AE render engine that is included with every install of After Effects.  With previous versions, you could install that render engine on as many workstations as you wish, just as long as you had purchased 1 copy of the full version of AE.

Here’s the rub. As of CS 5.5, we are now required to pay a royalty on every install of After Effects – ANY version (that is not a trial) that can render out any of these licensed formats.  Now you can see the dilemma.

As an aside – this is why most other tools must charge for their accompanying render engine.

Therefore, a legal obligation is just that – an obligation.  To correct this, we must restrict the render engine to the license agreement of full AE. This means you can install a single license on 2 workstations – render engine OR full. I know this is not necessarily what you want to hear, yet we will commit to investigating alternative solutions for a future release.


[ Update: Instead of responding to all your comments individually – please check out part 2 of this blog post. -S ]

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