Autodesk Perpetual LIcenses suddenly not perpetual anymore


oh… this also affects floating licenses:

If my current network licensing file includes products which are v2010 or earlier, will I be able to get an activation code?
No. Product version is validated during the activation process. Versions 2010 or earlier cannot be activated.


Next comes Adobe…


Adobe already took this step-


AFAIK in that case was just related to Cloud Suscribers, but they did nothing to old CS customers who bought the licenses (perpetual licenses)


For Node-locked licenses, you should keep a copy of your activation code for future migration - because it probably is possible to reuse it on identical hostname and MAC address systems (like a virtual machine).

For floating licenses , this only impacts migrations if you needed to generate a new license file. It’s not like your software will stop working after Aug 31. Your perpetual network floating license file has no expiration date

Floating licenses will be fine as long as you don’t migrate to a new network card or change the computer name. Just transfer your network card and keep using the same hostname - or (better IMO), use/migrate to a virtual machine with an identical MAC address and hostname that you can then run on any hardware you like and backup as a file.

Your license file already has the machine name and MAC address locked into it and AD can’t do anything about it. If you do it right, you only ever need one activation for your network license file.

And besides, come on guys - what part of Autodesk saying “We will stop offering perpetual licenses” for the last several years made you think they’d continue to offer activation codes for perpetual licenses forever into the future? I’m not saying it’s right. I think it’s wrong for the date to come on so quick, but this was still not shocking news in the slightest.

Just start making plans to migrate your current setup to a new one. If your license is running on a system with an onboard ethernet, consider getting a cheap pci-e card, deactivate maya, reactivate it with the new card - keeping the activation code on record for the future. Then when you migrate, to a new machine, move your pci-e ethernet card with you and reuse the same computer name. The problem with this is 5 years from now you might not want to be still using 1-gigabit ethernet. Either do that or just setup a virtual machine. There’s no absolute guarantee old versions of maya will work on Windows 11 or 12 anyway, so virtual machines are probably the best way to time-capsule your setup.

Is it possible to request an activation code and save it for future use?
It is possible, but only within strictly controlled parameters where the configuration does not change from the time the code is generated. We cannot guarantee that previously-generated codes will work as intended. We won’t offer product activation or installation support for products that are not on the eligible previous version list for subscriptions and maintenance plans.

They indirectly are telling us in their answer that what I mentioned would work as long as your network MAC ID and hostname stay identical


That is quite different. In the past Adobe licensed 3rd party technology for a limited time. Those licenses are running out. That does not change the functionality of the old software, but it makes it’s use legaly problematic. However the user initially paid, knowingly or unknowingly, only for what Adobe offered in the deal and Adobe did not retract any of that.


Well the “perpetual” in “perpetual license” .

At least for the forseeable future, and after that provide some alternative means in time to NOT lock me out of my Software in case of a system upgrade or hardware failure.

That would be customer-friendly. Maybe I’m naive.


Part of me wants to say that this just makes a stronger case for end users to move to open source apps. However, truth be told, this issue is one that only applies to individuals. Studios are going to keep paying regardless of what these companies do. The money they earn more than justifies the hassle. As we all know, companies like ADSK make a good show of pretending to care about the lone wolf user or freelancers, but they’re much more focused on that corporate dough.

Going forward, I can only offer one piece of advice. ADSK has changed the rules before. They will change them again. If, out of necessity, you can live with this then fine. If, however, an uncertain future bothers you, consider the alternatives. There are a handful of well engineered apps that can serve as legitimate alternatives to whatever ADSK has to offer. You have time to explore your options now. Don’t wait until your back is to the wall and you have to decide between software and food.

Prediction. 10 years from now, we’ll look at this situation and refer to it as the “good old days.”

It’s only a matter of time before tech aligns and we’re just streaming our apps instead of hosting them locally. Makes sense. They took away our boxed copies. They forced activation on us. They took away perpetual licenses as an option. They forced subscriptions on us. Now, they’re putting pre-existing perpetual license out to pasture. Sure. It’s only a matter of time before our PCs become little more than dumb terminals designed only to connect to the software. Web-based at its worst. That’s the future. Streaming. (We can already see talk of this happening with gaming.)

FWIW, I get why they’d stop supporting these servers after a while. It becomes prohibitively expensive. Not enough active users to justify the extra effort. Adobe the same thing. If you remember, they discontinued the CS2 servers and attempted to give licensed users DRM free versions. Unfortunately, the d/l page wasn’t behind a wall or anything and they got leaked. I think that ADSK remembers that Adobe fiasco and isn’t even willing to come up with a solution of their own for fear that it too will backfire.

TBH, I wonder how many of you are still using 10 year old versions anyway. Personally, I held onto my much beloved Cinema4D R11 Studio from 2008 for longer than I probably should have. However, beyond one or two models for print, I don’t think that I used it past 2016. I moved on. Why not? The old app may still work and be reliable, but it’s no longer all that competitive or as robust.

So, yeah. Like I said, explore your options while you’re not yet being rushed to do so.


Many studios are changing, the change is harder as your studio is bigger, but many studios are looking for changes, and M&E cannot live from 3 or 4 super big studios, the majority of clients are small and medium studios, and those are the ones changing their pipelines.

Regarding the use of an old app, for example to convert files from old projects without trouble, and many other situations, 2016 versions are not going to be able to activate in March 2021 it seems, so not that old versions.

I even have an old 2012 versions that is a personal license and I want to be able to activate and use it for whatever is the reason, no one has to judge others if they want to work with old software legally acquired, it’s a matter of personal choice.

In regards of options, for the EU citizens, check this thread:


So…this is essentially a desperation move.

M&E apparently doesn’t make ADSK much money. My suspicion is that the leaders at M&E told the higher ups that there are scores more potential users for subscriptions if they can just force them off their “old” perpetual licenses. It’s not going to work, too many people have moved away from their products either partially or completely and will continue to do so.

The only thing I can say is to prepare for the seismic shift of ADSK breaking the the whole M&E division up and selling it off piece by piece in the next couple of years or selling it together. I just honestly hope it isn’t bought by a Chinese company…the Chinese government is far too involved with their all their country’s companies internal business to want them to potentially extend spying to all the industries CG tools touch.


I don’t think Autodesk would have brought Arnold for 3dsMax alone, but as a semi-serious question as to who would possibly be interested in purchasing Maya outright for a reasonable price, maybe:

Adobe ?- obvious
Foundry? - they’d probably love hold two industry standard software
Microsoft? - integrate with cloud services, Arnold rendering, bundle parts of it into minecraft tools somehow
Unity or Epic?

someone else?


I’m not sure Maya is for sale? I’m guessing the benefits of keeping it under the wings of their empire are still outweighing the costs - If Maya were on the market though, I’m struggling to imagine anyone other than Adobe having sufficient resources and motives to snap it up… but who knows.

Back to the perpetual license issue though, I wonder if the push from Chaos Group over recent years into supporting a wider range of apps (Vray for C4D etc) was partly down to the switch to sas. Either way, unless a solution is proposed (and it won’t be by Autodesk) this latest move to effectively close down perpetuals has answered my questions on whether to continue investing in plugins for Max or leap over to Blender/Houdini.


I’m not sure Maya is for sale?

I can’t imagine that it would be. Given how much emphasis they’ve placed on it over 3dsmax in recent years, ADSK would be giving up a lot in doing so. Nah. I just don’t see that happening.

I’m struggling to imagine anyone other than Adobe having sufficient resources and motives to snap it up

I’m thinking of something else though. Over the past few years, Adobe has made its intentions clear when it comes to 3D. They want in on it… badly. They added some minor 3D functionality into PS. They partnered with MAXON in 2014 to give AE users a “lite” version of C4D. They’ve even recently acquired Allegorithmic and its Substance products.

Smart money is on Adobe making a play for Cinema4D full. Would MAXON be open to a deal? Hard to say. On the one hand, Adobe is worth about $150B and could certainly offer a sweetheart deal. On the other hand, however, MAXON typically doesn’t release sales statistics so it’s hard to say if they’re in a position where they’d want to sell. With a large enough user base, they could turn Adobe down at any price. That said, IF Adobe were to make a move on any 3D suite then it’d definitely be C4D, not Maya.

So…this is essentially a desperation move.

I don’t know. I like a good conspiracy theory as much as the next guy, but I think that this is just more of a practical issue.

  1. As I said, keeping these older activation servers and services active costs money. Spending resources on a decade old product seems wasteful, especially given that there can’t be a huge number of clients still hanging onto these legacy products.
  2. Even if there are lots of users hanging onto 10 year old software, one has to wonder why that is. Do they not earn enough money to have upgraded since? Are they trapped by equally old plugins? Is their staff reluctant to move on, only trusting what they know? IF the user base for this decade old software is still large, I find it hard to believe that shutting down old servers will convince them to move to subscriptions. There are still people out there who have found “creative” ways of keeping legacy apps like Mirai alive. I doubt that hardcore legacy Maya users will be deterred by a server shutdown.
  3. Look at it another way. IF ADSK is keen on converting these legacy users into subscribers, you have to ask yourself how much money is actually in that move. Given the likelihood that such a user base is relatively small, compared to the whole, it’d be like robbing somebody of their change purse instead of their wallet. ADSK is chasing big money and these few remaining users likely just represent chump change.

Again, I’m all for conspiracy theories even when there’s no basis in reason. However, a move like this seems to be more about streamlining and less about capturing all of the pieces on the board.

Then again, maybe you’re right. Maybe ADSK is desperate and/or as greedy as you say. They’ve certainly shown the latter to be true in the past. The “desperate” part is what doesn’t ring true (enough) for me. They’re so deeply entrenched in a multitude of industries that they hardly seem cash strapped. Their current net worth is a good $38B+ and their evaluation has seen consistent growth over the past 4 or 5 years.


As I understand it, their evaluation is partly based on the promised success of subscription, though, and the NASDAQ has moved up in general. I’ve seen charts showing they are still in the red or barely out of it (can’t remember where, though, and I don’t know much about the topic) so this might be a decisive time.

"As I said, keeping these older activation servers and services active costs money. "
True, but very little, relatively speaking. It’s not like you need whole server farms or even an (outgoing) server at all. Manual activation with a bit of a wait time handled by certain support staff on the side (there hardly will be a flood of requests) would suffice and this system is already in place.

Even lack of support buy prior vendors could be worked around relatively easily in several ways and that excuse falls apart as soon as you realize they will be limiting the previous versions support to around 4 years in the near future (for now).

Obviously it would be more cost effective for them to support as few versions back as possible, so that might easily be the driving factor, it’s just that this doesn’t seem to gel well with their responsibilities and activation support is minimal support. Generally they aren’t asked for bug fixes for ten year old versions, most people would agree that’s not reasonable. Activation support is a reasonable demand that requires reasonable effort.

How many people/studios are still using ten year old versions I don’t know and they are probably not the kind of people who take part in polls, but I do know several studios that still use 3ds max 2011 in particular which will be cutoff shortly. I do appreciate the additions to 3ds max and wouldn’t want to miss them, but they’ve come slowly and at a steep price and for many there was/is simply not that much of a difference in regards to how they use the software.

I’d agree, though, that these are not necessarily the kind of people who will buy into subscription and maybe Autodesk figured they’d rather be rid of them altogether and have a small chance of converting some.

Another thing I read was that they’re forcing people on subscription (which probably would include people with previous version support rights beyond 3 versions back inherited from a maintenance transfer) off of relatively recent versions like 2016 for security reasons:

So it seems like there is some underlying decision to not find solutions to these kind of problems any longer (and perhaps even to go look for these kind of things that can be used as an excuse to get people on subscription).


Guys, I have started gathering people on discord so that we can start towards the end of the week to exchange legal info, lawyers info etc. towards our perpetual licenses rights . If someone wants to join in, send me a private message so that I can friend add you.

After speaking for 2 weeks with Autodesk and even getting a answer from their corporate council im determined to do what I can to protect my investment.Here is what the corporate councils message was by the way…


Our policy has been consistent with the terms of our license agreements, although we have only loosely upheld the product activation policy in the past. What’s new is our intent to align our practices with our stated policies and Terms and consistently uphold them. Autodesk is not restricting users from perpetual rights of the use of our software, and at the same time, we are no longer agreeing to continue to offer product activation for legacy versions when the environment in which the software had been used has changed by events outside of our control.

My answer:

So, is this a answer from the Corporate council? If so, I don’t see any meaning behind it.From this moment over I demand my legal right to continue this conversation with the Corporate council as things will need to go more deeper and private.Please keep this conversation if i need to speak with you again in the near weeks.

From here below I start my conversation with the Corporate Council and expect them to reply to me directly and on time.And also provide a name with the person I will be speaking to.

In the message i received It says ‘‘Autodesk is not restricting users from perpetual rights of the use of our software’’

Yet, when the date of lets say march 2022 comes and for some reason I need to reinstall my perpetual license due to workstation fail or new equipment I will not be able to.I will be RESTRICTED by Autodesk.This completely CONTRADICTS what you are saying to me and there is no solid background behind.What one thinks and wants (in this case Autodesk) doesn’t mean its still legal to do and achieve by the current law.

In the message i received It says ‘‘we are no longer agreeing to continue to offer product activation for legacy versions when the environment in which the software had been used has changed by events outside of our control’’

I am the owner of the software and NOT my computer and I am in my right to renew my equipment and to reinstall the software that i use and own.

This completely contradicts ‘‘Autodesk is not restricting users from perpetual rights of the use of our software’’

Also, the life of a hardware can not be linked to a software by law.Completely illegal and there is no connection at all between the two.

As so, in my legal rights i continue to demand a offline activation tool if Autodesk decides to not honor my legal contract.

I have said it before and will say it again.As a citizen of the European Union

Here is the legal law document:

Directive 2009/24/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on the legal protection of computer programs

Points 13,14 and 15


The exclusive rights of the author to prevent the unauthorised reproduction of his work should be subject to a limited exception in the case of a computer program to allow the reproduction technically necessary for the use of that program by the lawful acquirer. This means that the acts of loading and running necessary for the use of a copy of a program which has been lawfully acquired, and the act of correction of its errors, may not be prohibited by contract. In the absence of specific contractual provisions, including when a copy of the program has been sold, any other act necessary for the use of the copy of a program may be performed in accordance with its intended purpose by a lawful acquirer of that copy.

What are we going to do from now on? Lets start a meaningful topic.

Thank you.


So Autodesk has decided to show their true face.


Sadly, this has always been their face. You probably didn’t live through the era when Maya cost $16k for a single seat or when its predecessor lived on SGI workstations that no individual user could afford. ADSK talks a good game, but they have always put studio users first and will likely continue to do so in the future. Think about it.

If you’re a matriculating student at an accredited institution then they’ve got your back. You have access to a free, non-commercial EDU license to anything in their toy chest. If you’re a studio user, well, don’t worry about what it may all cost because your boss has you covered. If, however, you’re an indie, a hobbyist, or a low volume freelancer then you just might be out of luck.

As a hobbyist or aspiring artist looking to one day go pro, there’s little way that you can afford the $4k+ for a 3 year license. It’s a lot of money no matter how you slice it; Far worse if you choose to go the monthly route, which is decidedly more expensive.

If you’re a low volume freelancer, the money you stand to make down the line will pay for the subscription cost. That’s true. However, it takes money to make money and that could be a problem early on. Same issue if you’re an indie developer or startup. In fact, anybody earning less than $100k per year might take issue given the sheer number of subscriptions that must be balanced just to fill out a basic artist’s toolbox. Being a pro artist in 2019 just ain’t cheap.

Live in a part of the world where you’re lucky to make $4k a year? Sorry. Try Blender.

If you’re in any of those groups, ADSK doesn’t care about you. Wait. I’m not being mean. Don’t worry. They never cared about you. There’s nothing new about that.

Studios have always been their core audience. That goes as far back as some 25-30 years and the days of them catering to Hollywood films, where the cutting edge CG tech lived. They were never going to cater to individual users or hobbyists back then because there was no money in it. Home users didn’t have the hardware, the financial resources, or technical know how to make any of it worth their while. It’d be a sales failure and support nightmare. Accordingly, they made the smartest possible business decision for the time.

However, it isn’t 1995 anymore. Even with a massive price drop, they haven’t widened their core audience. They still only are about the studios and the students who may soon work in one. Like I said, they make a good show of it. Releasing Maya LT, for example, sounds great on paper. “Hey, indie. Come get Maya. Nice and cheap.” Except, what you get is pretty much the difference between a fully loaded Ferrari and one that’s been stripped by car thieves. It might still technically be a Ferrari, but it sure as hell doesn’t drive like one. You pay more for Maya LT than Blender, yet somehow get far less.

Beyond price, if there were any doubts about who their real audience is and how they want to continue to suck them dry in perpetuity, just look at their history and this thread. Look at the progression of DRM and licensing.

  1. We have this great app. Let’s sell some copies and make bazillions!
  2. D’oh! The software is getting pirated. Let’s add serial numbers.
  3. Hmm. The serial number got copied. Let’s hard lock it.
  4. They found away around that? Okay. Let’s also force them to activate and check in with remote servers.
  5. They hacked that too? Let’s go to subscriptions. That’ll show them.
  6. They’re sticking with the old perpetual versions? We can’t have that. Let’s change the rules and somehow invalidate those old copies.

Next stop? Crystal ball says…

  1. Great. Computers and internet connections are now super fast. Let’s force them to stream the app. No copy will ever be stored on the client side.

If you’re a studio, you’re probably going to (maybe) give in and do what they ask. You’re making millions (or more) on your end product. Who cares if the DCC app is costing “x” or changing its license in “y” way. The risk is FAR outweighed by the reward. ADSK will keep on pushing the limits because they know (or think) that they’ve got the market cornered.

If you’re in a desert and I’ve got the only bottle of water, I can charge whatever the heck I want. I can even charge you per sip if I know that you’ve got deep pockets. If you’re pockets are (to me) bottomless, I’ll keep on charging you per sip instead of chasing the guy who only has $2 and might never come back. I’m following the money and making the rules, which you’ll follow because you need me and are rich/dumb enough to do what I say.

Like I said, ADSK isn’t showing their true face. We’ve always known what it looked like. We just like it less now than ever before. That’s the risk that ADSK is taking. Companies like Ubisoft and Epic Games are, imo, testing the waters with their investments in Blender. If they invest enough money and can nudge development in the direction that they want, they’ll effectively get the tool they want for a fraction of the cost in dealing with ADSK long term.

ADSK isn’t the only one looking to make the most profit with the least effort. Game companies are going to want to maximize their bottom line too - even more so than they currently do. If Epic & Ubisoft’s investments pay off, expect other developers to chip in to the Blender fund. Their money will silently buy them say in how it gets developed and, ultimately, the community will have a tool that is $0 for everybody (forever) and does more than what ADSK has been gouging them for, also in perpetuity.

To put a slightly political spin on it, ADSK is chasing the big state voters and ignoring the little guys in the middle of hillbilly nowhere. It’s dangerous to ignore any vote. To put it back in art terms, ADSK cannot afford to think solely of the studios. It’s a gamble that may just bite them in the ass. Like I said above, they need to change their licensing and pricing structure going forward. Otherwise, they’re either going to encourage piracy and abuse of the EDU system or outright alienate a large swath of the art community, forcing them into the waiting arms of 3rd party apps.

Will ADSK do that? No. As I outlined above, they only care about studios. They just haven’t considered what would happen if and when the studios stop caring about them.

We see ADSK’s true face. We’ve always seen it. They’ve always shown it. Now, the danger comes in individuals AND studios possibly (one day) turning their collective backs on it.


Well, I was advised by a autodesk employee to start a topic, so here it is.If anyone wants to join in or just hit that like button it will be a greatly appreciated contribution to the others there

Thank you guys


Not much has happened in the past weeks apart from autodesk employees mysteriously being offline for some time.Out of curiosity ,some of you are in the big companies and have perpetuals all over the place.Any insider of a upcoming lawsuit decisions?

Are companies even aware of this?If they are, and no one is saying anything, it only makes me think that the bigger guys got a under the table deal, because if not we loud have heard of them by now …


Repeat of how Autodesk handled perpetual Softimage licenses after the hostile takeover years ago.

They could certainly, and easily have made patches removing the activation need (and thus save some $ on security software) for aging software versions with perpetual licences.

There really is no large risk for AD’s business, as the main users of “historic” versions (in AD’s lingo any sw > 2 years) will be hobbyists, students etc.

Would have reflected positively back on AD instead of this rather negative way of low respect for customer’s earlier purchases and expectations.