Autodesk compulsary subscriptions


Well, if that’s true then it is horrible horrible business practice and abysmal support from Autodesk. I wouldn’t expect anything less from them.


If this turns out to be true than this thread should be plugged! I really hope Autodesk will feel some repercussions from the way its treating its customers. As for not supporting Autodesk products… If only it were possible.


Yep, I got stung with this last year as well.
I had two Autodesk subscriptions for different products that fell within a couple weeks of each other. It was a bit of a buden to get hit with both at once, so I let the MAX subscription slip. Eight months later I had another MAX job come up, so I enquired about reniewing my subscription, no problem said my reseller, so I signed back up. Two months later I got an e-mail, “Your MAX subscription is about to expire”. Thinking that there must have been a mistake I got back in touch with the reseller. No mistake, that’s our standard practice. He really couldn’t understand why I was so anoyed.
No where on the reniewal form did it give any hint that it was going to be backdated, in fact the impression I got was that it was going to start afresh. If it had been made clear to me, I might still have signed up, but at least I would have known where I stood. But instead I ended up really anoyed and didn’t reniew (again).

The thing that really gets me though is that there is a good chance I might need to upgrade MAX again, at which point I will need to either pay for a single upgrade at a third of the total price, or even buy an upgrade for missing two main upgrades at two thirds of the total software cost, and THEN add on another few hundred £’s to get back on the subscription treadmill :curious:

It really makes you appreciate those companies which opperate a one upgrade price fits all policy.


I don’t think there’s any question about the validity of this particular scenario. At least not for SoftImage users. It’s been confirmed by AD support staff and it’s actually documented in Autodesk’s official installation support PDF.

Once you’ve upgraded to 7.5 (and thus have switched from Avid’s old licensing system to AD’s licensing) you lose the right to use any versions older than v7.5 UNLESS you’ve paid for and are under maintenance. (Or subscription is they choose to call it). It’s highly annoying and shockingly inconsiderate. They are certainly living up to their reputation as an uncaring corporate profit machine.


Actually, “maintenance agreements” (as they are most-generally called) are quite common in the software industry … and, some would argue, quite necessary. Your license to use the product unconditionally includes an obligation to periodically pay some amount on an ongoing basis. This has been done for many years in many market-segments.

The conundrum for any software manufacturer is that their costs are both considerable and ongoing… but, without proper licensing, the revenue is not. And this is rather like having a well-fed race horse that starts to win on the track … but then, having structured your life on the requirement that the horse must continue to do well at the track, you stop feeding the horse.

Given that you intend to be able to fashion a revenue stream from a particular product, you have a mighty big vested-interest in making sure that the producer of that product has a dependable revenue stream as well. They need to be able to go to their financiers with a “future earnings projection,” because that’s how salaries get paid.

If you’re hitting a cash-crunch because of it … talk to them. Work something out.


what Segments ?

I was a 3D freelancer for 9 years and before that in the design industry, for the past 2 years I’ve moved to Inhouse work as director. At the office Yes we have all the Autodesk products and afew more ( Zbrush Modo, C4D, Lightwave Etc ) the boss is paying so it’s not painful.

but when i was a freelancer I owned everything ( at the Time Autodesk was just bring in the maintenance of this type) and MY fav app was XSI

Today … I have XSI 7.0 and I refuse to give Autodesk any money for my personal 3D.
Blender 2.5 is where i will be once it’s out, Modo and anything other then Autodesk will be where i focus.

now work/office with be Softimage and Maya for afew more years, but in time I’m sure the office will be replacing AD software with more human Software when ever I can help it.

And I’m sure I’m not alone.


Paying money, whether through upgrade fees or a recurring subscription isnt a problem. Im sure everyone here realises they need to pay money for the software to get developed. The problem seems from reading here, the AD emails and browsing the licence agreements;

Lets say you buy max for £3000. You can now use this software until the end of time, youve bought an unlimited use licence. But a new version comes out youd like, and the AD rep or reseller talks you into getting a subscription, saying its the cheapest method to get everything. Ok great. but then a couple of years pass, maybe you think the new features arent worth it and youd just like to stop upgrading and stick with what you have.

The problem is that the subscription terms state that as soon as you apply for it, that the subscription terms then overwrite and wipe out your original licence. The user has effectively just paid £1000 to destroy their own software licence.

This is whats pissing people off, that AD have seemingly made their £3000 licence of max vanish into thin air after paying them more for the privilege

Reading through the original email, though I believe the OP is mis-reading it. The email says that by stopping his subscription he is no longer entitled to use previous versions of the software. By ‘previous’ I do believe theyre referring to any version older than the latest release he was entitled to when he had the subscription. Ie. he is allowed to use forever the last version he legally obtained, but none of the older ones.


i think the big issues is people have a “purchase” idea when they hand over money

if you pay $XXXX for a hammer and then told if you pay $XXX you get a new hammer each year … COOL if your working and use the hammer every day the hammer is making you money LIFE is COOL =)

BUT to then hear since you did not pay the yearly $XXX fee you have lost your right to use ANY Hammer ?? is 2009 changing the logic of Buying something ??

seems to be VERY odd and unfair logic

YES this is Software,… but a product is a product and buying something is … getting something isn’t it ?

if we are not Purchasing why isn’t Autodesk saying upfront " LEASING " or renting on the Sales and marketing that Autodesk do ?


Thats why instead of upgrading to each new version, i have one highly costumized version of max, where i can do whatever i want and i know it works with anything i want to do workflow wise , i will only upgrade if the new version has something groundbreaking , wich never has, and if it has is usually broke.

and that idea of not supporting autodesk because they are cold and impersonal , suck it up , thats how big companies are , and “switching” to another program not to support them is a very funny image actually, having to loose production time and hours learning a new program because you dont want to “support” autodesk ( like they care btw ) , and probably that program would be bought if it gained enough support.



re-read the threads and the quotes Thomas.
You don’t lose the right to use ANY hammer, you’re only allowed to use the older hammers in place of the last one you upgraded to under subscription, but your last legally maintained or purchased version is a life license.
It’s not a compulsory subscription system, it’s a “you don’t get support for older versions because legacy support has annual incidence” clause.

It’s retarded and it comes from contingencies and industries that have no place in our market, but it’s radically different from what a lot of people are making it up to be.

YES this is Software,… but a product is a product and buying something is … getting something isn’t it ?

It depends who you ask. Thank Microsoft and IBM for the purchase to licensing software sales model.
No EULA for commercial software says you BUY something, they all license you the right to use, which is different from buying something tangible.
Again, not that I agree, but if you start from that premise you shouldn’t buy a single piece of software that isn’t OSS.

if we are not Purchasing why isn’t Autodesk saying upfront " LEASING " or renting on the Sales and marketing that Autodesk do ?

Because you aren’t, read above, you retain license to use a version (not all your previous versions though) regardless of your maintenance or not.

This absurdly complicate thread with such a large amount of confused people made me realize one thing though.
The next CGS feature/article shouldn’t be an ILM interview, it should be an AD/SESI/NT/Maxon(or whatever name large cad firm owns them) legal departments interview where they are asked to explain “Exactly WTF were you thinking?!” :slight_smile:


Regarding the previous versions, one of the nice things that Autodesk allows subscription customers to do is to maintain legacy versions of their software while continuing to upgrade year over year. You still have to have the required number of seats, meaning if you had 2 licenses, you could keep one old version and upgrade one. This is great for some situations, as supporting older delivered material may require you to keep an older version of Max on hand.

What this original email is referring to, is that when you end your subscription, this perk goes away. You can no longer maintain a legacy version, and must stay with your current version.

I have not seen any mention of subscription voiding any licenses. I’m not saying one way or the other what the real deal is there. But what the OP received was just a cease and desist on the legacy software. Nothing more. I would need to hear directly from an Autodesk rep before i assumed anything else.


Now this doesn’t seen half as bad if true.


what happens next year when the “next” version come out

?? :curious: whick part did I miss read ? :hmm:

if you have current Subscription you can use any version OK easy
Without Subscription you can only use the latest version ???


Hoepfully this doesn’t unnecessarily complicate this…and I haven’t read my license agreements, but I would think that if you bought the 2008 version of the software (since they’re into years now) and then bought a years subscription too then the subscription wouldn’t remove your right to use the original 2008 regardless of how long you kept the subscription. So if you only subscribed for one year you’d retain the right for 2008 and 2009, but if you subscribed for 2 years and then lapsed you’d only legally be able to use 2008 and 2010 versions. On the surface it may sound a little heavy handed, but it doesn’t seem too bad to me.


If you let your subscription lapse you are stuck with the latest version that was available to you under the subscription.

Having a subscription upgrades your license to the latest version of the software, and entitles you to use previous versions of the software, when you let it lapse you are left with a normal license for the latest version that was available during your subscription.


What annoys me the most is how complicated it is!

A company selling a product can do what they want and sell it in what ever format they want. If people don’t like it they can go elsewhere! “that’s capitalism”

But making a product that’s aimed at artists so legally complicated that a legal department is required to use it, just makes me mad! I understand the whole anti piracy thing but this is just silly. There are loads of business models that work and are simple, is Autodesk deliberately trying to prevent small company’s and Freelancers from using its products? Or is it just a case of “Too Big To Care”

Freelancers are like the Canaries of the CG Industry, If they are leaving then there is something wrong!


I gotta be honest, I am not seeing the big deal? They are allowing you to use the newest version of their software (or at least newest purchased version re their subscription) after you cancel your subscription with them.

What is the issue?

Also, you can not complain about this AFTER you signed/payed for your current contract/subscription. This is why almost every single piece of software has the ‘I Agree’ page, if the user is too lazy to read, how is this the company’s fault?

My confusion lies in why a user, who purchased a subscription agreement, and clearly wants all the latest features, would even WANT to use old versions after their plan runs out (or when they cancel their agreement)?

Am I missing something?


I think my main problem with the email i recieved from autodesk was its initial tone, and the fact that it told me that i had to remove all previous versions from my machine.

Initially i took that as ALL my versions of max which caused alarm. The mail could have been phrased to explain that my latest version of max was still safe to use. It did not.

Thankyou all for posting, things are much clearer now.


It would be alot worse if you were limited to using the version you initially bought. Max 7… eew.



Also this is a big issue, max’s backward compaitability isn’t (as far as i’m aware) one of it’s strong points, so having a few versions for older work is a must.