Freelance videographer Dave Cooper has launched a class action lawsuit against Adobe—the company behind Photoshop and Premiere Pro. According to Cooper, a bug in Adobe’s video editing software Premiere Pro CC 2017 version 11.1.0 deleted videos and photos that Premiere Pro should never have had access to in the first place.
At issue is a feature in Premiere Pro called clean cache. Editing video takes up a lot of hard drive space as video editing software creates various redundancies and backups during the editing process. Programs such as Premiere Pro store those redundancies in a cache and, once a project is finished, users can clear that cache to free up disk space.
According to the lawsuit, Cooper cleared his cache and lost much more than just the redundancies. “The 'Clean Cache' command permanently deleted substantial and numerous Files and Data that were not within the 'Media Cache' folder or any of its subdirectories, including but not limited to Files and Data that had never been associated with
[Premiere Pro,]” the lawsuit said.
“The files that were deleted were both his original video clips as well as files that were a result of his editing,” David Deal, one of the attorneys representing Cooper, told me over the phone. “As a freelance visual artist, all you are and all you have is your work. If you don’t have your work then you might as well not be a visual artist.”
Cooper estimated that he lost around 100,000 digital video clips that cost him around $250,000 to capture and create. Since the incident, he’s lost opportunities to license clips and videos to new clients because he says Premiere Pro deleted the content. “He not only lost files that were run through Premiere Pro, he also lost other files that had never been touched by Premiere Pro before,” Deal said.
The mass deletion isn’t a one off and Cooper likely isn’t the only user effected. Adobe itself acknowledged the bug. “With 11.1.1, only files that are within the Media Cache folder’s subdirectories will be deleted,” a blog post from Adobe said when they fixed the bug. “Files that sit next to it will no longer be affected. However, we still strongly recommend keeping the Media Cache folder separate from your original media.”
There was less than a month between the release of 11.1.0 and the update that fixed its mass deletion problem, but it was enough time for Cooper to lose thousands of hours of work. Cooper and his lawyers attempted to settle with Adobe for an undisclosed amount before filing this lawsuit, but were rejected. The class action lawsuit is seeking a jury trial with the goal of “awarding monetary damages, including but not limited to any compensatory, incidental, or consequential damages in an amount that the Court or jury will determine, in accordance with applicable law.”
Adobe did not respond to request for comment.
What happened to Cooper sucks and, if you’ve ever made a living freelancing, then his story will touch a nerve. Many creative folks trust various bits of software and hardware with irreplaceable photos, videos, and written works. Which is why it’s always important to back everything up constantly. Hell, it pays to have an offsite backup just in case your home explodes. Save often, save again, and move your important data to a secure, off-site location.