Capture One Demands Physical Access to Your Computer… Accidentally

Photographers raised the alarm this week after it was discovered in Capture One’s licensing agreement that the photo software company has been demanding physical access to customers’ computers. The company says this was the result of a mixup.

In a story shared on Reddit and TechDirt, Twitter user Alvar Freude discovered that the long and detailed user license agreement includes a line that gave Capture One the right to physically check computers in order to use the software.

Those who did not want to agree to this portion of the agreement would be barred from installing or using the software:

if you do not agree to the terms of this license, you may not install or use the software but should promptly return the software to the place where you obtained it for a refund.

That line is not unusual, but it’s the next that raised some red flags:

Capture One or a third-party designated by Capture One in its sole discretion has the right to verify your compliance with this License at any time upon request including without limitation to request information regarding your installation and/or use of the Software and/or to perform on-site investigations of your installation and use of the Software.

This line means that Capture One or its agents have the legal right to physically check your computer or office to verify compliance, provided the company gives seven days prior written notice of the intent to do so. If the request seems a bit heavy-handed, that’s because it is: this kind of physical check is typically reserved for enterprise clients.

According to Capture One, the language is from its enterprise contracts and was mistakenly entered as part of its general user agreement:

“Language from our Enterprise contracts inadvertently slipped into our EULA, and we will remove it in due course,” a Capture One representative tells PetaPixel. “We’re thankful to our community for flagging this.”

Capture One has indicated to PetaPixel that this language will be changed but did not provide a timeline. At the time of publication, the language was still visible on Capture One’s website.

This explanation makes sense when compared to Adobe’s usage agreement, which specifies the same verification methods for businesses who use its software:

If you are a Business, then we may, no more than once every 12 months, upon seven 7 days’ prior notice to you, appoint our personnel or an independent third-party auditor who is obliged to maintain confidentiality to inspect (including manual inspection, electronic methods, or both) your records, systems, and facilities to verify that your installation and use of any and all Services or Software is in conformity with its valid licenses from us.

Of note, Adobe’s particular line doesn’t specify a difference between a large corporate client or a photographer who is a sole proprietor. Based on this language, it appears Adobe is asking for the same level of access for both. The company did not respond to PetaPixel’s request for comment.