Adobe is shutting down service for users in Venezuela in order to comply with a US executive order issued in August that prohibits trade with the country. The company sent out an email to customers in Venezuela today to let them know their accounts would be deactivated, and posted a support document further explaining the decision.
In the document, Adobe explains: “The U.S. Government issued Executive Order 13884, the practical effect of which is to prohibit almost all transactions and services between U.S. companies, entities, and individuals in Venezuela. To remain compliant with this order, Adobe is deactivating all accounts in Venezuela.”
Users will have until October 28th to download any content stored in their accounts, and will lose access the next day. To make matters worse, Adobe had initially said customers wouldn’t be able to receive refunds for any purchases or outstanding subscriptions, as Adobe says that the executive order calls for “the cessation of all activity with the entities including no sales, service, support, refunds, credits, etc.” They later reversed that.
The news is not only disastrous to designers and freelancers who rely on the company’s software like Photoshop and Illustrator, but to NGOs and media outlets that will no longer be able to use software like InDesign, Acrobat, and Reader. Adobe had initially stated the ban would also affect all free services like Behance, Adobe’s portfolio site, but also later reversed this.
It’s an unfortunate situation that highlights a downside of Adobe’s subscription-based model — users lose access to the company’s products immediately as soon as the option to pay for them is removed, no matter how long they’ve been a customer. Adobe says it’ll continue to monitor the US sanctions for more developments, but until then, accounts will remain deactivated.
When reached for comment, an Adobe spokesperson provided this comment to The Verge: “Due to the recent Executive Order (Executive Order 13884) regarding ‘blocking’ select activities with the Government of Venezuela, Adobe is currently evaluating our existing partnerships and agreements with individuals and organizations subject to the rule to ensure we remain compliant. Adobe will continue customer and partner support activities permitted under the Executive Order but will pause all activities which are not permitted. We regret any inconvenience this may cause to customers, as we continue to carefully monitor and assess the situation. We will share more details as to how our operations and customer activities might be impacted, as those details become available.”
Updated October 7th, 11:43PM ET: This article has been updated with a statement from an Adobe spokesperson.
Updated October 9th, 6:22PM ET: In an updated support document, Adobe says it will offer refunds to customers by the end of the month, and users will still be able to access to Behance.