back to article Premiere Pro bug ate my videos! Bloke sues Adobe after greedy 'clean cache' wipes files

Adobe is being sued after Premiere Pro unexpectedly deleted a snapper's valuable media files. David Keith Cooper on Wednesday sued Adobe in San Jose, USA, on behalf of himself and anyone who purchased Premiere Pro 11.1.0, and, as a result, had their personal media files nuked by the video-editing suite. The sueball claims a …


  1. Michael Hoffmann

    Premiere Pro bug ate my video files...

    ... works with that Buggles song - and now I can't get it out of my head!

    Thanks, El Reg! :(

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. R 11

      Re: Premiere Pro bug ate my video files...

      This should be interesting, particularly when you read the terms he agreed to upon installing the software:

      9. Disclaimers of Warranties.

      9.1 Unless stated in the Additional Terms, the Services and Software are provided “AS-IS.” To the maximum extent permitted by law, we disclaim all warranties, express or implied, including the implied warranties of non-infringement, merchantability, and fitness for a particular purpose. We make no commitments about the content within the Services. We further disclaim any warranty that (a) the Services or Software will meet your requirements or will be constantly available, uninterrupted, timely, secure, or error-free; (b) the results obtained from the use of the Services or Software will be effective, accurate, or reliable; (c) the quality of the Services or Software will meet your expectations; or (d) any errors or defects in the Services or Software will be corrected.

      9.2 We specifically disclaim all liability for any actions resulting from your use of any Services or Software. You may use and access the Services or Software at your own discretion and risk, and you are solely responsible for any damage to your computer system or loss of data that results from the use of and access to any Service or Software.

      9.3 If you post your Content on our servers to publicly Share through the Services, we are not responsible for: (a) any loss, corruption, or damage to your Content; (b) the deletion of Content by anyone other than Adobe; or (c) the inclusion of your Content by third parties on other websites or other media.

      10. Limitation of Liability.

      10.1 Unless stated in the Additional Terms, we are not liable to you or anyone else for any loss of use, data, goodwill, or profits, whatsoever, and any special, incidental, indirect, consequential, or punitive damages whatsoever, regardless of cause (even if we have been advised of the possibility of the loss or damages), including losses and damages (a) resulting from loss of use, data, or profits, whether or not foreseeable; (b) based on any theory of liability, including breach of contract or warranty, negligence or other tortious action; or (c) arising from any other claim arising out of or in connection with your use of or access to the Services or Software. Nothing in the Terms limits or excludes our liability for gross negligence, for our, or our employees’, intentional misconduct, or for death or personal injury.

      10.2 Our total liability in any matter arising out of or related to the Terms is limited to US $100 or the aggregate amount that you paid for access to the Service and Software during the three-month period preceding the event giving rise to the liability, whichever is larger. This limitation will apply regardless of the form or source of claim or loss, whether the claim or loss was foreseeable, and whether a party has been advised of the possibility of the claim or loss.

      10.3 The limitations and exclusions in this section 10 apply to the maximum extent permitted by law.

      15. Dispute Resolution.

      15.1 Process. If you have any concern or dispute, you agree to first try to resolve the dispute informally by contacting us. If a dispute is not resolved within 30 days of submission, any resulting legal actions must be resolved through final and binding arbitration, except that you may assert claims in small claims court if your claims qualify.

      1. Headley_Grange Silver badge

        Re: Premiere Pro bug ate my video files...

        R11 - good job it's freeware. You wouldn't want to pay for something that, legally, doesn't really have to work.

  2. cirby


    A quarter-million in video footage, and he didn't have daily local backups?

    That's like driving a Rolls-Royce blindfolded, with no insurance.

    1. FozzyBear Silver badge

      Re: Man...

      and yet millions do it online everyday. They say experience is the best teacher. I wonder if now, Mt Cooper, will seriously think about a proper backup solution to protect himself and his business.

      Unfortunately, the sueball suggests that Mr Cooper believes Adobe is the only one that needs to learn a lesson here.

      1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

        Re: Man...

        Yeah.. I do think it's a bad cock up on adobe's part, but using the line "my files are worth $250,000" and not having any backups makes you look stupid.

        And also, he seems to have scrambled ineptly with a recovery tool rather than get in a professional.

        And back to the legal issue. How can he prove what was deleted, or how much it was worth? And who made the evaluation? Legally, does he have to prove the files were there, or do adobe have to prove they weren't?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Man...

        and yet millions do it online everyday

        I have yet to meet an end user who bought an external USB drive to store their data to realise they need to back that up too.

        While I'm at it, any case designer who came up with the idea of putting those external drives in a case on edge instead of flat, ought to be made to have that design inserted where the sun doesn't shine. When such a drive tips over in a powered state, a head crash + associated data loss is pretty much guaranteed. It can't fall when it's already lying down.

        1. rmason Silver badge

          Re: Man...

          Yep. came here to say that.

          I'll bet this months salary that the thing he/it wiped between them was what he called his "backup".

          I.E the only copy of the data anywhere but on an external USB thing = BACKUP!

        2. gotes

          Re: Man...

          head crash

          Where do you get your drives from, the 1980s?

          I'm not saying there's no risk, and that people should be blasé about it, but modern hard drives can take a few knocks with no ill effect.

          1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

            Re: Man...

            Well, I actually do back up all my photos and videos on an external back-up drive, and back that up on a different drive as well, and have them in lower resolution in the cloud as well, should all my drives fail. Having said that, I do feel I will add some more back-up storage, just to be safe.

            You can't have too many back-ups, and Lu Tse would say (doffs hat to Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter)

            1. Kane Silver badge

              Re: Man...

              "You can't have too many back-ups, and Lu Tse would say"


          2. This post has been deleted by its author

          3. dansbar

            Re: Man...

            No. They can't. They're as fragile and as suseptable to head crash now as they were in the 80s.


            [1] Bitter experience

            [2] The delicate tears of users after I break the news to them

            Slightly more on topic though...

            One drive? External? No backups? Data with the value actually quantified? No backups?? Yeah he learnt the lesson hard.

          4. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Man...

            Where do you get your drives from, the 1980s?

            No, fresh and new, I'm really done with MFM and having to look up cylinders and heads :).

            What has changed is that the tolerance for drops when OFF is now very high due (several G) due to things like auto-parking of heads, but things haven't changed that much for drives that are live.

            When the rust is spinning, most drives are still very sensitive - enough for your average end user to be in trouble when they (or their pets/kids, but I repeat myself) knock the thing over. Worst case you don't just end up with a data deleting scratch but also with roving debris. If that doesn't get quickly caught by the drive's filters you end up with rapidly expanding degradation.

            For the average end user, that translates as total data loss, just from knocking over something that should not have been standing on edge to start with.

          5. Gene Cash Silver badge

            Re: Man...

            > modern hard drives can take a few knocks with no ill effect.

            Bullshit. I've had a WD MyPassport drive instantly fail because my glasses fell on it.

        3. Tim Jenkins

          Re: Man...

          Ah, you've had Western Digital users too ; )

          Notice how the drives are always positioned on desks within mouse-arm range?

          Clunk, and the data is gone...

          1. Teiwaz Silver badge

            Re: Man...

            Ah, you've had Western Digital users too

            It's a shame - the old design from 8 years ago was good hefty durable plastic horizontally oriented - I've a couple of 2TB drives from that era still going strong while comparable seagate drives came in cheap plastic tat with poor cable housing and drives that mostly died just at the edge of warranty.

            1. Dave 126 Silver badge

              Re: Man...

              I was reading about a film crew's work flow (sports videos) and it involved the raw footage going straight to two drives from the RED camera, and then being copied to more Thunderbolt drives on site. The team would always make sure that they took at least two hotel rooms, with at least one copy of the footage in each.

        4. JohnG Silver badge

          Re: Man...

          "While I'm at it, any case designer who came up with the idea of putting those external drives in a case on edge instead of flat, ought to be made to have that design inserted where the sun doesn't shine."

          It is a ruse to sell more hard disks: when the user knocks a drive over and subsequently gets a bunch of errors from the head crash, they will ultimately buy a new hard disk.

    2. Stork Bronze badge

      Re: Man...

      Yeah, I was also thinking "but at least you have your backups "

      Bit daft of Adobe, though.

      1. Flywheel Silver badge

        Re: Man...

        Beta testers don't come cheap (enough) these days, obviously...

    3. JoJ

      Re: Man...

      Bruce Woolley And The Camera Club I think you should find... but now it's in my head!

      Another Video Killed the Radio Star (all rights hereby assigned to Bruce Wolley. (ask Guy re Pixelation definition if you need anything))

      I heard you on the internet back in ninety two

      Lying awake intent downloading all of you

      If I was young it didn't stop you installing Yahoo!

      Oh a oh

      They took the credit for your videography

      SD written, when tape was the technology

      pixelating black boxes were what clients got for skimping on your fee

      And now I understand the problems that brought HDTV

      you can see

      Oh a oh

      no more Max Headroom

      Oh a oh

      What did you sell them?

      Poor I/O killed the radio star

      Poor I/O killed the radio star

      Picture cameras came and broke your heart

      Oh, a, a, a, oh

      And now we meet in an abandoned studio

      We hear the playback and it seems so long ago

      And you remember the dongles used to go

      Oh-a oh

      You were the first one

      Oh-a oh

      You lost the last one

      Video killed the radio star

      Video killed the radio star

      In my mind and in my car, we still can't find

      that last archive rar

      Oh-a-aho oh

      Oh-a-aho oh


      Copyright hereby assigned to Bruce and Guy Woolley.

      1. DailyLlama

        Re: Man...

        You win the internet today. Good effort!

    4. MJI Silver badge

      Re: Man...


      I have a lot of video material and I have multi staged backups.

      The originals on Beta, Mini DV, or HDV, and recently borrowed Video 8 and Hi8.*

      Raw captures on an internal drive.

      MPEG2 encoded on DVD.

      Raw copies on BluRay (Mini DV is AFAIR 14GB).

      Raw copies on another drive.

      About 10 minutes on Amazon Prime.

      * Got a Sony portable VCR on the computer desk and a couple of DV based cameras, just borrowed a Hi8 deck to sort some other tapes out.

      1. overunder

        Re: Man...

        Backups is one thing, but putting your cache on the same physical drive as working material or archives is just day zero stupid.

        For the cache, I take the poor man approach and use mklink /d on a 32GB ram disk created with imdisk (I map %temp% and %tmp% to it also).

        mklink /?

        1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

          Re: Man...

          Backups is one thing, but putting your cache on the same physical drive as working material or archives is just day zero stupid.

          No it isn't at all. Especially if you only have one disk, and even more especially if you're Jo(e) Public.

          Even using the same directory isn't stupid - just because it is to us.

          When Jo(e) is told that "cache is where the system creates temporary files which it needs to do when it's working - they get deleted automatically afterwards", there is nothing silly in then thinking "they may as well be put in with my other movie files.. keeps all the movie stuff away from my documents."

    5. Sil

      Re: Man...

      Still, no excuse for Adobe.

      The lawsuit seems reasonable to me.

  3. Sampler

    What an idiot

    An external drive used in production for a start with the bottleneck that brings.

    An external drive not backed up.

    An external drive he couldn't recover the files from when they got wiped from the file allocation table (or similar, depending on the drives format). I mean, on the few occasions I've lost partition information or accidentally deleted a file I didn't want to, I've been able to recover, I've been able to recover co-workers files too, it's fairly trivial with the right tool.

    All with such expensive work that he hadn't delivered, even though it hadn't been modified in 90 days..

    I mean, bad form from Adobe as that's a stupid fuck up, but, he's also a stupid fuck up.

    1. eldakka Silver badge

      Re: What an idiot

      I generally agree with you, however on a technical point, if that external drive was an SSD of some sort, then deleting a file from it can be unrecoverable due to the way SSDs store data and possibly any TRIM functionality also.

      But in that case, it is even more important to have a regular (not necessarily daily or even weekly depending on the frequency and amount of change, but certainly more than 'never') backup routine if you have valuable data.

      1. Aitor 1 Silver badge

        Re: What an idiot

        Yo need two backups.

        I have a daily one, onsite, and a continuous one, online.. and I lose nothing.

        My wife only has the online one(she did not want the other one..) and she already had to use it once...

        Just look at backblaze HDD stats.. about a 1% yearly chance of losing a drive.

        My wife lost a drive in her array, and because she continued using it after I fixed the array and did not change all the drives (same model, bought at the same time, all obsolete) she ended up with data corruption the next time she lost a drive.. and she was very lucky that she had a watchdog for data corruption..

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: What an idiot

      Absolutely. HE changed the cache folder to his bloody video folder, then turns around and blames Adobe for emptying the cache ?

      Sorry bud, you put yourself in that position. And no backup after 90 days ? For a so-called "professional" ?

      That should be an actionable crime in itself.

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: What an idiot

        Not quite, he changed it to a folder inside his video folder.

        That's on a par with installing to C:\Program Files\Adobe and having the uninstaller delete C:\Program Files.

      2. Ian Watkinson

        Re: What an idiot

        No, as others have pointed out, it deleted at the parent level, not sub-directories.

        Sure he's glad it wasn't just d: instead of d:\videos...

        I hope he wins, if poor testing means it costs them millions, they are likely to test their software better.

    3. LDS Silver badge

      "An external drive [...] with the bottleneck that brings."

      Using Thunderbolt, eSATA or USB 3.x is not really a bottleneck - especially when you maybe work on a stylish PC which can't really be expanded despite its price...

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: "An external drive [...] with the bottleneck that brings."

        >Using Thunderbolt, eSATA or USB 3.x is not really a bottleneck - especially when you maybe work on a stylish PC which can't really be expanded despite its price...

        Exactly, the entire rationale of the Trashcan Mac Pro was that it doesn't store much data internally but instead supplies a load of Thunderbolt 3 ports so that your work is accessed from external redundant storage. It's 1TB PCIe SSD is just for your current session. With an hourly Time Machine back up you will never lose more than an hour's work even if you were to accidently throw it out the window.

        1. Steve K Silver badge

          Re: "An external drive [...] with the bottleneck that brings."

          accidently throw it out the window

          As long as you unplug the Thunderbolt drives before accidentally throwing it...

    4. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      Re: What an idiot

      "it's fairly trivial with the right tool."

      and whats that? names please

      1. gypsythief

        Re: "it's fairly trivial with the right tool."

        "and whats that? names please"

        In a word, Photorec:

        It's FOSS, works on (pretty much) all platforms, recovers (pretty much) all files from (pretty much) all loss scenarios.

        No association, but it is my go-to recovery tool and has never let me down. Highly recommend it.

      2. Tomato Krill

        Re: What an idiot

        Getdataback has had a 60% success rate for me, and Recuva saved the day (free edition to boot) just this year.

        Answering for a friend.. I totally have backups of everything.

    5. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: What an idiot

      Insurance companies apply a "duty of care" rule to people who own insured items, for example if your new Mercedes is stolen they aren't likely to pay the full cost if it turns out you left it in a back street, unlocked with the keys in the ignition.

      The same should apply here. His lack of a backup suggests that either the data wasn't valuable, or if it was he wasn't taking sufficient care of it. The judge should probably find in his favour, Adobe have admitted to the bug after all, but perhaps just award him a symbolic $5K or so in damages on the basis that he was 95+% responsible for the loss.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: What an idiot

        Insurance company tried that "duty of care" stuff on us after a theft.

        Jokingly asked them if we should have the same level of security as the crown jewels - they replied that wasn't quite necessary, we then asked them how many times the crown jewels had been stolen (answer twice)

    6. Disk0

      Re: What an idiot

      To be fair, I've known the likes of Adobe (Et.Al.) to Know Better Than The Host System and instead of just deleting a file's entry in the directory like a normal program, overwrite the file before doing so, presumably in order to erase any possible trace of previous authorisation keys when installing any Adobe product, which seems to be the default operation for any Adobe program that candelete stuff. Just because back then they were too lazy to improve their licesing authorisation system beyond a few hidden files, that could easily be located and copied thus copying the license authorisation. Which was great for pushing Quark out of the market (their dongle-based authorisation system was famously buggy), with world + dog running unlicensed copies of their software. Having no copies of your material is just unprofessional, but does not harm others directly; deleting files that are not "yours" is a capital offense for any programmer, so yeah, sue Adobe.

  4. Phil Kingston Silver badge

    Would be interested to know how he gets on. It can't be easy to prove something was deleted.

    1. Ledswinger Silver badge

      I'm sure the Reg will follow this with interest. Being the US' chaotic justice system, this could go either way. His exposure is normally limited to his own legal costs (unlike English civil law systems where the loser usually pays the winning sides legal costs). That makes it much easier for the small guy to sue the big corporations (can you imagine trying to sue Google in the UK courts?), but equally it combines viciously with no win, no fee arrangements to encourage vexatious and meritless cases, and that's further amplified by the US principle of punitive damages.

  5. Winkypop Silver badge

    Seems he has his back up

    Pity he didn't have his back up

  6. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Biz math

    500 hours of professional HD is, let's say, 15-40 TB. You buy an 8-bay NAS for $1000 USD and $2400 to load it up with 10TB disks. That should give you multi-versioned backups for a total of $3400. My experience is that always-on NAS systems last for at least 6 years, so that's only $560 per year to insure $250,000 of work against accidents. That's 0.26% per year. Now when Adobe erases your files, you sue for a week of lost work while the backup restores. You have a good case that you did everything possible to protect yourself and the only error was Adobe.

    Or save $560/year and hear the judge LOL that Adobe accidentally deleted your career.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Biz math

      My experience is that always-on NAS systems last for at least 6 years

      I'd advise you to buy disks from different sources so you have them from different batches, otherwise all your disks may fail at once which sucks from a recovery perspective..

      I haven't quite decided what to do yet myself. I don't need much storage and I have 3 separate backup processes running (one hourly with versioning which takes places automatically -MacOS time machine-, one rsync of data areas to online storage and one weekly to a separate boot disk), but I'm thinking about a NAS to offload photos, videos and other non-critical data as well as archive. The challenge is that NAS or no NAS, I need to ensure that has a separate backup too so I'll have to look for one that can automatically rsync critical content with online storage (in case you didn't guess, I work from home a lot, so there are work-critical files around).

      Any pointers would be welcome, even if it means building my own box to do so (in which case I have to scout for good software for it, I'm rusty on Linux admin. I'm better at networking :) ).

      1. Edwin

        Re: Biz math

        NAS is primary storage and should be at least RAID 5, so unless your disks all fail truly at once, your primary storage should remain intact. In my experience, disk failures within warranty are handled pretty well by the vendors, so you should be able to restore your redundancy within a week. If you're truly paranoid, add a hot spare. Mixing disk types in a RAID array is something I've always been advised against, though never tried.

        Then - on top of the NAS - you need a backup, preferably off-site in case your home or office catches fire or is burgled. In my case, the backup is the "old" NAS disks repurposed to back up ONLY the truly critical data via a USB/SATA adapter.

        1. DaLo

          Re: Biz math

          "NAS is primary storage and should be at least RAID 5, so unless your disks all fail truly at once, your primary storage should remain intact. "

          Not true unfortunately (if talking about HDD not an all flash array) - having a hot spare wouldn't help either. It used to be okay with smaller disks however the issue with much bigger individual disks is that they can easily fail on the RAID5 rebuild. All disks will have their read/write limits and on average once one goes unless it was a dud then there is a higher risk that the others are in a time period where they will also start to fail. Now a RAID5 rebuild is a very very intensive processes that hammers the disk, making another failure quite likely (actually very probable). If another disk fails during rebuild then you have lost the lot.

          A recovery of data from a failed Raid 5 array would need a very expensive process to do it and for most situations near impossible.


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