Bravo, Burbank Elementary School!

Posted by Emily Simas, Adobe & ConnectED (originally on the Adobe Education blog)

Take a bow, Burbank. You deserve a big round of applause.

Beginning in fall 2014, the students and teachers at Burbank Elementary School in Hayward, CA, embarked on a new and ambitious program to integrate arts across the curriculum. It’s a natural fit for a school community whose mission includes cultivating and cherishing “an environment that supports the academic, social-emotional, creative and civic learning” of all students.

After studying the artwork of Pop artist Andy Warhol, fifth and sixth grade students made artwork inspired by his creations. Students were prompted to find images that represent contemporary pop culture, and then to use Adobe Photoshop Elements to create their own Warhol-inspired work. They learned how to manipulate various Photoshop Elements tools to crop, select, paint and fill select areas of their work with contrast colors.


by Chloe, Grade 6

In another project, students used Photoshop Elements to create typographical portraits of people and characters they researched in class. Each student learned how to create brushes from words related to their subject matter. They found images of their subject matter and applied filters to convert the images to black-and-white. Then they isolated the black areas and replaced them with the new typographic brushes they’d created. The finished pieces are portraits constructed from typography.

by Maylin, Grade 5

by Maylin, Grade 5

These innovative art programs are the brainchild of Robert Hoang, who joined the Burbank team last year to teach visual arts to K–6 students, and to work with his colleagues to plan arts integration lessons. Hoang co-leads Burbank’s partnership with Turnaround Arts: California, a signature program of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities that seeks to advance education in a select group of elementary and middle schools in the state. To support this work, Hoang secured a software donation from Adobe & ConnectED to help increase technological literacy for Burbank’s students by integrating digital media into the art curriculum.

Sixth grader shows actor Tim Robbins his project on Photoshop Elements as classmate works next to them during their visual arts class at Burbank Elementary School in Hayward, Calif., on Friday, Feb. 20, 2015.  (Laura A. Oda/Bay Area News Group)Sixth graders show actor Tim Robbins their projects in Photoshop Elements during their visual arts class. (Laura A. Oda/Bay Area News Group via San Jose Mercury News)

Adobe is a big fan of Burbank Elementary and Turnaround Arts, but we’re certainly not alone. Turnaround Arts matches each of its partner schools with a celebrity mentor. Earlier this year the students at Burbank enjoyed a visit from their mentor, the actor Tim Robbins.

The Burbank fan club also includes U.S. Representative Eric Swalwell, California Assemblymember Bill Quirk, Hayward Mayor Barbara Halliday and several members of the Hayward Unified School Board. The group visited the school last week to gain a better understanding of Adobe’s public/private partnerships and get a first-hand look at the impact of the arts in the classroom. “The students and dedicated faculty at Burbank Elementary School have demonstrated the value of incorporating both the arts and technology into the classroom,” said Representative Swalwell. “Burbank Elementary students are developing creativity and technological skills that will empower them throughout their lives.”

“We are grateful to all the leaders who came out to support the teachers and students at Burbank, and we are honored to have the opportunity to partner with the dedicated professionals at Burbank and Turnaround Arts,” said Tacy Trowbridge, Adobe’s Worldwide Education Programs Group Manager. “Through partnerships like this, we can continue to support and encourage students to become confident digital creators and creative thinkers.”


U.S. Representative Eric Swalwell talks with students about their projects

Building on the success at Burbank, Adobe is expanding the ConnectED program in the Hayward Unified with the goal of getting free creativity and eLearning software and teacher training to all of the district’s Title I schools. If you know of a Title I school that could benefit from Adobe & ConnectED, please direct them to our website for more information.

Learn more about Burbank Elementary School, Adobe & ConnectED and Turnaround Arts.


As part of President Obama’s ConnectED Initiative, Adobe is donating over $300 million in software and professional development services to schools across the United States. 

A Beautiful Day

Posted by Dana Rao, Vice President of Intellectual Property and Litigation

Today, the Senate introduced the Protecting American Talent and Entrepreneurship (PATENT) Act of 2015. Everyone following this process understands that the PATENT Act isn’t just another patent reform bill. It is much more than that. It is a patent reform bill that stands a real chance of passing the Senate, it is bipartisan, and it contains very important provisions that should fundamentally improve the U.S. patent system. The original sponsor and cosponsors of this bill should be applauded for their efforts.

Nevertheless, there’s been a lot of talk about whether or not patent reform is still needed, whether the system is fixing itself, or whether bills like these will end society as we know it. Maybe too much talk. A quick review of the data: 2014 had the third highest number of patent lawsuits filed in history, and December 2014, January 2015, and February 2015 saw a year-over-year increase in patent litigation of 4%, 26%, and 10% respectively, with patent trolls comprising over half of the new suits filed.

And fee shifting, while occurring slightly more often than it used to, still isn’t happening enough. A few weeks ago, we had a case dismissed against us by a large patent troll. The troll had sued us, we believed we were licensed to the patent, the troll refused to turn over the critical documents that would prove it, and prolonged the litigation with us hoping we would give up and settle. On the eve of the hearing where the license defense would be heard, the troll dropped the case and walked away. After we spent over $1M dollars defending ourselves. We moved for fees, and the court said that since she didn’t get to hear the merits of the license defense, she could not award us fees. So the patent troll got away clean. This is just one example, our latest example, of a problem that has been plaguing our industry for years. It is time to take action.

The Senate bill will introduce much needed reforms to our system. And they are balanced reforms, reflecting over a year’s worth of multi-lateral stakeholder negotiation representing all types of users of the patent system. There is fee shifting to deter both plaintiffs and defendants from engaging in bad conduct or taking unreasonable positions, there is a recovery provision to ensure accountability from the investors who are profiting from abusive litigation, there is an enhanced pleading requirement to ensure due diligence is done before embarking on a multi-million dollar lawsuit, and there is a customer stay provision to ensure that the most appropriate parties are able to defend a case in the most economical way.   All of these provisions together will help to rehabilitate a creaky old patent system not designed for 21st century technologies and industries, and restore the good name of patents in our society.

Today’s introduction, on the back of the recent re-introduction of the Innovation Act in the House, may only be a first step on the path to a law. But it is a very important, long awaited, and long needed step. That’s why it’s worth taking a moment to celebrate. My thanks to all of those involved in this process, especially Senators Grassley, Leahy, Schumer, Cornyn, Hatch, Lee, and Klobuchar on the Senate side, and Chairman Goodlatte and Representatives Lofgren and Jeffries on the House side, for coming together in a bipartisan manner to move us forward on this important issue.

Achieving Accountability in Internet Governance

Posted by J. Scott Evans, Director, Trademark

Almost two decades ago, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) was founded in the nascent days of the Internet to manage domain name registrations. Created in partnership with the U.S. Department of Commerce, ICANN has evolved into a private sector entity, working with private sector stakeholders in the US and around the world to manage an otherwise unwieldy domain name process.

In March 2014, the Obama Administration announced its intention to transition some of ICANN’s Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) responsibilities by exploring the adoption of a new, private and global multi-stakeholder model for Internet governance and oversight.

This monumental change would have a direct effect on the long term preservation and successful growth of the Internet because IANA functions include the assignment of technical Internet protocol parameters which allow devices to properly connect and communicate with each other to perform various online activities such as website browsing, email and content storage. In February 2015, ICANN President and CEO Fadi Chehadé testified before the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee to discuss ICANN’s latest IANA transition plans. In his opening remarks, Chehadé stated that ICANN was built on “the values of the American system” and provided “unequivocal assurance that whatever we do here must and will retain the values with which we started this endeavor.”

Though an exact proposal has yet to surface, critics of the general IANA transition plan cite growing fears about ensuring security and stability of the Internet under a new model where nations that may not embrace similar values could gain larger influence and control without proper checks and balances.

Sen. John Thune (R-SD), chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee shares this sentiment and opened the hearing by stating that without “U.S. involvement in the IANA functions, ICANN may be subject to capture by authoritarian regimes and these are valid concerns.” In addition, Sen. Thune raised the issue of accountability. “I will be interested to see whether the stakeholder community can deliver a proposal that allows Internet users to continue to have faith the IANA functions are carried out effectively and seamlessly, and I’ll focus on the adequacy of the accountability reforms in any proposal.”

There are also critical implications for business and brand reputation challenges that must be addressed. For example, a recent Wall Street Journal article, “Cybercriminals Are Misappropriating Businesses’ Web Addresses,” reported that domains of U.S. businesses have been targeted, hijacked and transferred to “such places as China, Eastern Europe and Russia in what appears to be ‘organized criminal activity.’”

Some look to ICANN to do more in an effort to monitor and prevent the illegal transfer of stolen domain names to registry holders abroad. According to Mr. Phillip Corwin of the Internet Commerce Association, “If they find there are bad registrars working with bad folks to facilitate domain hijacking,” taking steps to “put them out of business would send a very strong message.”

If ICANN is unable to step up to enforce laws and safeguard business from illicit international activity under the current model, how can they guarantee protections under a new, more complex one?

Regarding the critical nature of these proposals, Sen. Thune added, “The multi-stakeholder community has one opportunity to get this right because the Internet is too important for democracy, for world culture and the interconnected global economy to allow poor governance to jeopardize its future.”

Though Adobe understands that the creation of a new private sector led, multi-stakeholder institution to manage IANA functions is likely the best approach — there are still many questions that must be resolved. We look forward to reviewing the ICANN proposal as it becomes available in the coming months in anticipation of the September 2015 deadline.

Despite many differences among the stakeholders, we can all fundamentally agree that it is imperative for both the U.S. and world that we “get this right.”

Adobe and the Digital Due Process Coalition Urge House and Senate Majority Leaders to Bring ECPA Reform Bills to the Floor

Posted by Mary Catherine Wirth, Associate General Counsel, Cloud Services

In April 2013, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to send the bipartisan bill sponsored by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) and Michael Lee (R-Utah) and known as the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) Amendments Act of 2013 (S. 607) to the full Senate. At that time, we applauded this important milestone towards protecting the privacy of information stored “in the cloud.” Unfortunately, despite widespread bipartisan and tech industry support, seventeen months later, S. 607 has not yet been brought to the Senate floor.

An identical bipartisan bill in the House sponsored by Representatives Kevin Yoder (R-Kansas) and Jared Polis (D-Colorado) and known as the “Email Privacy Act” (H.R. 1852) likewise remains stalled — even though it is co-sponsored by over 260 members of the House (and a majority of the house majority).

This is why Adobe and other members of the Digital Due Process Coalition this week sent letters to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, urging them to bring S. 607 and HR. 1852 to the Senate and House floors. You can read those letters here and here.

Both bills share a common and very important goal: amending ECPA so that the government may only access communications stored online when a search warrant has been issued by a judge upon a showing of probable cause.  The current version of ECPA was drafted in 1986, long before people stored so much of their personal information online, and gives Fourth Amendment protections only to some communications stored online and not to others.  Right now, communications stored online for more than 180 days become available to law enforcement and civil investigative agencies with only a court order or a subpoena (which are much easier to obtain than a search warrant) on the theory that they have been “abandoned.”  This may have made sense in 1986, but it does not make sense in 2014, when most of us store many years’ worth of private emails, photos and documents “in the cloud.”

At Adobe, we continue to believe that all of our customers’ private communications should receive full constitutional protections, regardless of whether they are stored at home, at work or in our cloud. This is why we hope to see the House and Senate take action on ECPA reform this year. We believe these bills would pass overwhelmingly, proving to Americans and the rest of the world that that the U.S. legal system values online privacy.  ECPA reform is critical to consumer and business confidence in adopting cloud services, and we will continue to work to help ensure these bills are signed into law.  More information, along with ways to show support for amending ECPA, is available on the Center for Democracy and Technology website.

Congressman Chris Stewart Visits Adobe Lehi

Posted by Brad Rencher, SVP and General Manager of Digital Marketing

On Wednesday, August 6, Adobe welcomed the newest member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Utah, Congressman Chris Stewart, to our Lehi building in Utah. Congressman Stewart represents a large number of Adobe’s employees living along the eastern half of the state. Congressman Stewart was accompanied by two of his congressional aides and his son during the visit. As Jonathan Francom and I showed the congressman around the beautiful Lehi facility, they talked about all kinds of issues and met with several employees at the site.

Blown away by what he saw at the Lehi campus, it is no surprise the Congressman asked about Adobe’s plans to grow even more jobs in the region and when he can expect to see the next building in the Adobe campus.

Some interesting facts about the congressman came out during his visit. Here are just a few. He authored a New York Times best-selling book; he graduated at the top of his class in officer and pilot training in the Air Force; and he holds three world speed records, including the world’s record for the fastest non-stop flight around the world. Impressive!

As part of Adobe’s ongoing efforts to interact with government officials around the world, we regularly host government officials from all levels of government at our facilities. We do so on a non-partisan and non-political basis with the hopes of fostering a healthy dialogue on issues which impact our employees, customers, and products in the global marketplace.

Congressman Stewart and his staff meet with Adobe employees

Congressman Stewart and his staff meet with Adobe employees

Making the Jump to Electronic Signatures

Posted by Dan Puterbaugh, Director, Associate General Counsel

Electronic signatures have been legal and enforceable in the United States since the passage of the ESIGN Act in 2000.  Yet despite the tremendous improvements in speed, efficiency, and reliability, many still feel wary of electronic signatures.

In fact, the paradox of e-signatures in 2014 is that many people know that they are legal and enforceable in the United States, yet some unease appears to prevent really robust adoption.  This unease seems to hinge on the belief that written signatures are trustworthy and reliable and the fear that electronic signatures are new and untested.  Neither of these beliefs is entirely accurate.

First, let’s explain our terms.  Written signatures are the handwritten signatures we are all familiar with.  Digital signatures, sometimes also call authenticated electronic signatures or (in the EU) advanced electronic signatures, use secure public/private key encryption to authenticate the identity of the signer as well as the integrity of the signed document.  They are highly secure but also quite cumbersome to implement and use since each participant in the process must first obtain a digital certificate or physical token from a certificate issuing authority.

On the other hand, electronic signatures are any electronic symbol reasonably related to a contract created with the intent to sign that contract.  This can range from electronically checking a box that indicates acceptance, typing one’s name into a data field or hitting an “Agree” button to a software license.  Because of their speed and ease-of-use, it is electronic signatures that represent the greatest opportunity to speed contracting processes for the largest number of businesses, governments and individuals.

Often, our reliance on written signatures is not warranted.  A simple examination of a typical written signature process makes this clear.  How does this process usually progress?  An agreement is finalized by phone or email.  The agreement is sent via email, fax or regular mail to a provided address.  Hours pass.  Days.  Weeks.  The seasons flicker by and at last the contract is returned.  Upon opening the envelope one sees a document that appears to be version sent, possibly from the same address, email address or fax number that it was sent to with a scrawl that might be from the person whom you believe has signing authority in what may or may not be his or her actual signature.  Yet, this is the process on which we rely.

If this weren’t reason enough to leave written signatures in the dustbin of history, they are also wasteful, slow and costly.  They delay business while the parties wait for signed documents to be returned.  It is often challenging to get signatures from people who are remote or traveling.  It is difficult to know the status of a document during signing process.  And once the agreement arrives, it inevitably has to be scanned so that it can be archived.  Assuming, of course, that it has not been lost along that way.

So, we find ourselves in an era where document generation, editing, exchange, routing and archiving are all done electronically.  It is only for this single act of signing that we are suddenly transported to the pre-digital age, print out a hard copy, pull out our ink wells, flourish our quills and sign.  Small wonder then that this fundamentally anachronistic process is so slow, clunky and prone to failure.

Compared to written signatures, electronic are much safer and easier to use.  Contracts can be signed from tablets and smart phones, allowing executives to sign documents while traveling or on vacation.  This eliminates the common problem of business grinding to halt while key signatories are tracked down.  Further, e-signatures allow all involved to maintain visibility into the real-time status of where each document is in the signing process.  Digital rights management can be enabled in documents giving all involved peace of mind that no alterations were made in the final versions.  Finally, electronic signatures are good for the environment and the bottom line.  Every time one can avoid a paper signing process, there are tremendous savings in paper, power, and reductions in carbon emissions from the jets and trucks of the express carriers that are so often used in getting paper-based deals done.

Considering the endless licensing agreements, partnership agreements, travel approvals, supplier contracts, business compliance agreements, non-disclosure agreements, offer letters, corporate policy acknowledgements, benefits enrollment forms, insertion orders, creative approvals, and other documents that even a moderately sized organization must execute, these incremental environmental and financial savings quickly add up.

Because of these facts, electronic signatures have become one of the primary mechanisms for executing agreements.  Those who use them not only find them a safe, effective way of doing business but they often remark that they could not imagine returned to paper-based processes.  For those who have not moved to electronic signatures, all that is required is that one swallow hard and make the leap.


Adobe Congratulates the 2014 Congressional Art Competition Winners in DC

Posted by Melissa Jones, WW Education Program Manager

For the second year in a row, Adobe co-sponsored the Congressional Art Competition, an event that allows high school students from across the country to submit artwork ranging from drawings and paintings, to photography and computer generated designs. Each year since the competition’s founding in 1982, these high school student winners have descended on Washington, DC to be honored in a national recognition ceremony. This year, winners from 419 congressional districts attended the event in the U.S. Capitol and had the unique opportunity to see their own artwork displayed in the hallways of our nation’s Capitol building.

Adobe was honored to participate in the recognition program again this year to help celebrate the students’ creative talent and their artistic achievements. As we look to the next generation of leaders, creativity is proven to be an essential quality that will drive innovation and solve many of society’s existing problems. A key emphasis of the Congressional Art Competition is that innovation is a trait not limited to those in STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math – fields such as engineering and programming. On the same note, creativity is not constrained only to those in the art world. Rather, the two concepts are increasingly interconnected: artists and creative professionals provide meaning, communicate ideas, and help us all see new solutions to persisting issues. To succeed, we must invest both in STEM and the arts in order to grow our economy and remain competitive as a nation. Creativity inspires hope, and these students will lead the kind of imaginative innovation that improves our lives and solves the novel problems we will face in the decades to come.

To further inspire self-expression and innovation, Adobe has provided each winner an opportunity to join the broader creative community with a free year-long subscription to Adobe’s Creative Cloud. I want to extend my warmest congratulations to all of the students who participated and shared their art with all of America. We can’t wait to see what you create next!

At the recognition ceremony with Michigan’s 2nd Congressional District Representative Bill Huizenga, Co-Chair of the 2014 Congressional Art Competition






Digital Disruption – Changing the Way Government Agencies Communicate

Posted by Erica Fensom, Head of Government Affairs Asia-Pacific@Erica_Fensom

The expectations of citizens interacting with government agencies have been transformed by private sector experiences. From mobile banking apps to location-based services and personalised retail experiences online, people now expect to be able to transact with organisations anytime, anywhere and on any device. Citizens would like the same service from their government.

Governments are embracing these trends with new policies enabling E-Government such as the eGov2015 programmes in Singapore and the NSW ICT Strategy in Australia. To be successful, changing the way government communicates with citizens across agencies requires change – in policies, process and technology.

Adobe is working with governments across the globe to help navigate this ‘digital disruption.’ New technologies are creating engaging online experiences for citizens using adaptive forms technology, analytics and dynamic social media tools. Mobile collaboration tools are allowing frontline public servants, such as police and social workers, to spend more time in the field with the community and less time on back-end administrative workflows. The opportunities are endless and the challenges to be successful are numerous, but can be overcome.

Next month in Sydney and in Singapore, Adobe is hosting one of Asia-Pacific’s leading marketing events of the year – Digital Marketing Symposium. We are dedicating a special afternoon breakout session to Digital Government. From social media strategy to online portals for citizens, discussions will focus on how government can take advantage of new technologies to enable e-Government policies.

Please join us July 22 in Sydney and July 24 in Singapore or join the conversation via #AdobeSymp.

An Important Milestone for Digital Due Process

Posted by Jace Johnson, Vice President of Global Government Relations and Public Policy

This week, digital due process got one step closer to reality as a majority in the United States House of Representatives now supports reforms to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (EPCA).  The reforms are part of the Email Privacy Act (H.R. 1852), which creates a clear warrant-for-content standard and further protects the privacy of online communications.

Currently, under EPCA, online communications stored more than 180 days can be obtained by law enforcement with a simple court order or subpoena. As we noted last year, we believe our customers’ private communications deserve constitutional protections no matter where they are stored. Communications stored online for more than 180 days should receive the same protection as those stored on your hard drive. This is why we support the reforms to EPCA that will require a search warrant issued upon probable cause to obtain any communications of our customers stored online.

Adobe applauds the bipartisan coalition of 218 House members co-sponsoring the Email Privacy Act and urges the House Judiciary Committee to pass this bill without delay.


The Last Days of Patent Reform

Last Thursday marked the end of the patent reform effort. The Senate Judiciary Committee decided to pull the patent reform bill off of its agenda. Without a vote in committee, the bill will not move forward.

This marks a devastating and sudden end to a bipartisan and helpful attempt to rebalance the patent system and reduce the abuses in our current system. Patent trolls, as we have clearly documented, – are costing our economy billions of dollars and thousands of jobs. They are impacting every industry in America, large and small. Look at the businesses, advocacy groups, and innovators who came together on this effort: restaurants, hotels, casinos, grocers, travel agents, developers, the largest and smallest technology companies, retailers… the list goes on. A broad coalition of American businesses needed Congress to act, as only Congress can, to stop the abuse.

Instead, patent trolls have once again succeeded in protecting their multi-billion dollar assault on American businesses and workers.

It’s truly sad too, as patent reform is not a partisan issue. The White House supported reform. The House passed patent reform with enormous bi-partisan support, led by the efforts of Chairman Goodlatte and Congresswoman Lofgren and a large group of Representatives willing to act with integrity and fortitude. On the Senate side, Chairman Leahy courageously led the Senate Judiciary Committee to take on the trolls with hearings and the creation of a useful customer stay provision with the support and help of Senator Lee. Senators Cornyn and Schumer forged a compromise on important aspects of the reform like pleading and discovery. Senator Hatch led an effort to create a critical recovery of fees provision. Ranking Member Grassley also provided tremendous leadership on the committee in driving the reform effort forward. Consensus was building around a balanced and targeted reform that would have restored integrity to our honorable patent system.

But it all ended up being for naught. Patent trolls proved too powerful, once again, in American politics. A few special interests defeated the will and needs of the many. And that’s how this reform effort died.

Adobe will continue the battle against patent trolls, standing up for our customers, and refusing to settle meritless patent lawsuits. We applaud the Supreme Court’s recent decision on fee shifting, as at least one branch of our government has recognized the problem and seen fit to act, within its powers. And, we hope to continue this fight another day. In the interim, investors and hedge funds will continue to pour money into this lucrative business model, and job producing businesses and workers will suffer. And perhaps we will one day reach a tipping point where enough courageous lawmakers are willing to stand up for what is right, and end this abuse of the patent system.