Adobe says you will not Photoshop images

April 23, 2007

On Adobe’s website you will find a list of appropriate and inappropriate uses of the words Adobe and Photoshop. I think we are all agreed even now that Adobe is being ridiculously insane and overprotective of their trademark. Just take a look how Adobe used the word “photoshopped” right on their own site.

I guess they might be afraid someone doesn’t know what photoshop is and will think said person won’t know it is associated with the Adobe company. Heaven forbid you see “Photoshop” without being preceded by “Adobe” that’s a big “no-no.” The mean Adobe men will come and grab you in your sleep if you don’t do it, they might even reprogram you.

An example from their website reads:

“Trademarks are not verbs.

CORRECT: The image was enhanced using Adobe® Photoshop® software.

INCORRECT: The image was photoshopped.”

Sure, Adobe, I’ll get right on correcting my grammar usage regarding your software. See that image at the beginning of the article, I photoshopped it, I photoshop images all the time, I enjoy photoshoping, it is very fun. Okay, maybe I’m not going to get right on it.

Google had the same kind of problem last year when they wanted people to stop using Google as a verb. See how well that went over. Remember Hormel and how they wanted junk emails to be called something else, SPAM emails are irritating but the Spam product is just nasty so I guess you could say I don’t like either. But it’s appropriate, annoying and pointless emails “named” after a nasty product I would never eat (unless I was starving for two weeks).

Google failed, Hormel failed and Adobe… well… history just has a tendency to repeat itself. Everyone from planet Earth® knows what Photoshop is, as the verb, the noun and the product. Who cares if it’s copyrighted, does Adobe think it can stop millions of graphic professionals from saying “this image needs more photoshopping,” if it does then someone is on the wrong drug.

Go forth and photoshop to your heart’s content. No Adobe, I don’t care and I’m not going to listen to you because it’s just too hard to add the copyright symbol in a post, it takes almost 10 seconds for each one so if I have to do it more than once, imagine the time I waste!

Photoshop (v.) – shopping/shopped – the act of editing a digital image on an electronic device, usually a Personal Computer

Photoshop (n.) – A software suite produced by the Adobe Corporation for the purpose of editing digital images on a Personal Computer

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to call Websters and get those words added to the dictionary.

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7 Responses to “Adobe says you will not Photoshop images”

  1. John Nack:

    Hi Jonathan,

    You can of course use whatever term you’d like. My understanding from the legal folks is that according to copyright law, they’re obligated to mount a defense of the trademark. That is, if we don’t want to see “Microsoft Photoshop” down the line, the company has to make an effort to dissuade the “genericizing” of the name. Weird, maybe, but them’s the rules.


  2. Jonathan Schlaffer:

    Thanks for clearing that up, John. I agree, Adobe has a right to defend it’s rights and trademarks and their company logos. But, even just suggesting the fact that you can’t use the noun and verb variations of Photoshop seems silly. I mean, no corporation could stop it, Google and in a different cirumstance Hormel with Spam.

    I realize it may have just been legal positioning but if you ask me, it is kind of funny (though a somewhat serious matter).

  3. Phosphor:

    >>>”it’s just too hard to add the copyright symbol in a post, it takes almost 10 seconds for each one so if I have to do it more than once, imagine the time I waste!”

    Hmm… Start stopwatch:

    I’m a hunt-n-pecker. I just typed “Photoshop™” 12 times in ten seconds. I even left in the typos for extra authenticity! ;•)

    That’s a Mac for ya. Just mere toys. Some of us have great fun playing on our toys, and are pretty danged efficient with them.

    Seriously, though…I’d be willing to bet a 21″ Cintiq that there’s some not-unsignificant faction of Adobe Corporate & Marketing that absolutely loves the fact that Photoshop has entered the international lexicon.
    The public gerericization ofbrand names sure didn’t seem to cause the bottom to drop out of business done by Bayer (aspirin™), Kimberley-Clark (Kleenex™), Otis Elevator (Escalator™), Johnson&Johnson (Band-Aid™) or many other now-common, but trademark identities.

    I understand Adobe’s position as well, but trying to chastise and threaten casual users really is a whole lotta negative hoo-hah over what is probably a good thing for the brand’s mindset saturation in the long term.

  4. Phosphor:

    Oops…I lied.

    I typed “Photoshop™” 12 times in 20 seconds.

    My point stands, though.

  5. Jonathan Schlaffer:


  6. William:

    Nice article, do you mind if I xerox a few copies for my friends?

  7. Cursus Photoshop:

    A lot has happened since then….

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