General Piracy Questions

What is software piracy?

Software piracy occurs when one or more of the following happen:

  • Software has been modified or hacked.
  • Keys or accounts that are known to have been stolen are copied, sold, or used.
  • Usage is not in line with the licensing Terms of Use.

Software piracy exposes businesses and consumers to security threats including malware, spyware, and viruses, and leads to decreased efficiencies in organizations.

Doesn’t my anti-virus software protect me from the risks of non-genuine or counterfeit software?

Usually, typical anti-virus and security software does not detect the forms of malware commonly found in counterfeit or non-genuine software.

Is it legal to continue using non-genuine or counterfeit software?

No, it is illegal to use non-genuine software, regardless of how it happened.

How can I protect myself against non-genuine or counterfeit versions of Adobe software?

Buying software direct from ensures that you get genuine Adobe software. In addition, checking Terms of Use before using software that a friend, associate, or co-worker may have given you also protects users.

If I believe that I have non-genuine or counterfeit software, what can I do?

There are several options, depending on the situation:

  • If you have received a notification from Adobe indicating your software is not genuine, click the link provided in the notification to learn more. Look for the option to purchase genuine Adobe software, or phone Customer Support for more information. If someone else in your organization is responsible for software purchase, you can check with them first.
  • While installing software, if you receive a notification that you have an invalid serial number, it's probably because Adobe has blocked the serial number due to misuse. Follow the notification to the landing page for options to resolve.
  • If you believe that you have other or additional non-genuine or counterfeit software, you can purchase genuine software directly from Adobe at

What’s the difference between activation and registration?

Users are required to activate their software within a certain number of days for it to function as intended. Registration of your software with Adobe is entirely optional. However, activation and registration do not guarantee that you are using genuine software.

How can I report a reseller who has sold me non-genuine or counterfeit software?

Visit the page and follow the appropriate link and instructions.

How Does Adobe Help Reduce Piracy?

What programs does Adobe offer to protect users from non-genuine and counterfeit software?

Adobe develops programs to ensure that customers are educated, informed, and protected throughout all stages of the purchase and usage cycle. Programs include:

  • Education about the benefits of using genuine Adobe software
  • Working with organizations to prevent software piracy
  • Investigating and bringing legal action against resellers of non-genuine or counterfeit software, including online marketplaces
  • Blocking serial numbers that have been obtained or generated illegally
  • And informing customers that they have non-genuine or counterfeit software, either when reinstalling or during product use

What is genuine Adobe software?

Genuine Adobe software is legally licensed software purchased directly from Adobe. Genuine Adobe software works per the product documentation and the Terms of Use. It is free from the vulnerabilities that may be found in non-genuine or counterfeit software.

What are the benefits of buying genuine Adobe software?

Only genuine Adobe software provides guaranteed access to the latest updates, features, and functionality enabling customers and organizations to maintain optimal productivity with less chance of performance issues. Plus, Adobe only supports and warrants genuine Adobe software. By buying genuine Adobe software, customers gain peace of mind knowing that they are using reliable software.

How do well-intentioned individuals or organizations end up using non-genuine software?

It is common for individuals and organizations to end up unknowingly purchasing and using non-genuine software with unscrupulous resellers and online marketplaces often going to great lengths to make non-genuine software appear genuine. Other users may only realize they are using software that is incorrectly licensed when they receive a notification.

What are the risks of using Adobe software that is non-genuine or counterfeit?

Using non-genuine software poses a risk for individuals and organizations.  Non-genuine software has frequently been modified leading to issues such as:

  • Increased risk of exposure to viruses or spyware that can destroy or compromise data
  • Increased chance of the software not functioning correctly, or failing completely
  • Limited access to customer support, upgrades, and technical documentation

About Adobe Software Notifications – Notifications at Installation

What are invalid or revoked serial numbers?

Invalid and revoked serial numbers are serial numbers that have been blocked by Adobe because they have been obtained or generated illegally by unauthorized resellers. When Adobe discovers this fraudulent behavior, these keys are deactivated to prevent further abuse. Customers may only realize that serial numbers have been blocked when they attempt to install or reinstall the software.

Why did my serial number or software work for installation before and not now?

Software, even non-genuine software, can work normally until Adobe identifies, blocks, or deactivates the fraudulent serial number, often as part of a legal action taken against the seller. Once the serial number is blocked, future attempts to install or reinstall fail.

I have received a notification saying my serial number is revoked or invalid, is there any way I can continue using? How does Adobe help me resolve this issue?

No. If you have received this message, the serial number is not valid, and you will not be able to access the application. Follow the notification prompts for options on how to resolve.

About Adobe Software Notifications – Notifications during Product Use

I have received a notification, what does it mean?

Adobe runs validation tests and notifies individuals and organizations that are using non-genuine software. The service checks for software tampering and invalid licenses. If you or someone else in your organization receives a notification, it indicates that non-genuine software has been found.

How does Adobe know that the software is not genuine?

Adobe uses a set of technologies, services, and capabilities that can identify whether an installed Adobe product is genuine or non-genuine. When non-genuine installations are found (via a validation process), the service can inform users that their software is not genuine through a pop-up notification. It also provides options to resolve the problem. In addition to the pop-up notification, customers can also view the validation process running in their activity monitor or task manager.

How can Adobe tell that my software is not genuine?

Through its validation process, Adobe checks for software that has been modified or hacked, usage of keys or accounts that are known to have been stolen, and usage not in line with the Licensing Terms of Use.

Is it possible the message is incorrect?

If you or someone in your organization has received a notification, it is because software has been found that has failed the validation check, and is not genuine.

What if I keep working and ignore the notification?

Non-genuine software installations are illegal, and Adobe uses various methods to help users understand the issues.  If the user chooses to ignore notices and warnings, Adobe can and will take appropriate action.

Notifications During Product Use: Understanding notification test results

Where can I find my test results?

Currently, software validation test results are only available to users who have received a notification from Adobe indicating that they are using software that is not genuine. If you received a notification, you will be able to see your software validation test results by clicking the notification.

What do the licensing statuses mean for the test results I saw for my machine?

The ‘Licensing Status’ column gives you more information about the serial number(s) for the software that you are using.

  • ‘Pass’ indicates that the serial number has passed the most recent validation test.
  • 'Fail’ indicates that this software has failed validation. It is displayed when the serial number was not issued by Adobe, or the serial number is known to be used in stolen or counterfeit software, and is therefore compromised.
  • ‘Fail – subscription required’ indicates that this a subscription version of the software that is improperly licensed.
  • ‘Fail - Trial Use Only’ indicates this software was meant for trial use only, and is beyond its trial period.

My software validation test results indicate I have tampered software. What does this mean?

Adobe checks for tampered software in addition to the serial number check, and tampered software can be found even if the serial number is valid. Tampered software indicates that the code has been modified or ‘hacked.’

If my Licensing Status says “Pass” but there is a check mark in the “Tampered Software” column, is the software genuine?

This combination indicates that the software has been modified, and is not genuine. 

Privacy and Security

What information is collected and sent to Adobe?

The service checks across different versions of Adobe software, and verifies the integrity of the software and validity of the licenses. More information is available on at

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