CorelDRAW: A Look at the New "Membership" Program

Copyright © 2013 by Davis Multimedia, Int'l. All Rights Reserved.
As Printed in December 2013, Volume 39, No. 6 of The Engravers Journal
Figure 1: This is the log in screen that appears when you install the CorelDRAW update.

   In the world of software, one thing that you can be assured of is that when a new software release comes out, there will be a lot of fanfare that goes along with that release. If you think about the celebrations that Microsoft has thrown over the years when a new OS is released, you know what I mean.
   However, one other thing that you can be assured of is that there is very little fanfare with the release of a new “service pack,” which has updates, fixes and/or enhancements for existing software. In fact, you might not even know the service pack exists unless your software notifies you. The same can be said for CorelDRAW. At the time of this writing, CorelDRAW had released four service packs since the initial release of version X6 in 2012.
   For most of us, once we have upgraded, we never take the time to see exactly what was updated in the software. I must admit, I can be guilty of clicking on the update button with little regard for what is being installed on my system. Sometimes I upgrade CorelDRAW or other software updates and never really look at what has been changed or fixed within the service pack. I just assume it is better.
   In the past, I have not spent a lot of time relaying to you what has been upgraded in a new CorelDRAW service pack. Instead, I usually wait for a new software release and then review the new features that have been “officially” added in the new release.
   So why am I breaking with tradition and reviewing what has been updated? Well, there are some new features that have been released with the service packs but there is also one very important change that was released with service pack 1 (X6.1) that we need to talk about. This change relates to the terms of the CorelDRAW end user license agreement (EULA). This change that Corel has introduced and the way you install the program could cost you some extra money if you upgrade to this service pack or future versions of the software.
   In this article, I will review the new TOS (Terms of Service) and how Corel deals with the way it licenses the CorelDRAW suite of applications. This may seem a bit trivial at first, but I believe this is a significant change, especially for shops that typically have more than one computer that has CorelDRAW loaded on it.
   When you purchase a software program, you are generally given a license to use that software. Typically, this license gives you the ability to install the software on one, two or three computers, depending on the terms of the license. When I talk about installing CorelDRAW on a computer or computers, I am talking about using the license of the Corel software.


Figure 2: To sign into your account, click on HELP | SIGN IN.

   If you are like me, the first thing that you do when you purchase a new version of CorelDRAW is you load it on all of your computers. I have a laptop and two demo computers that I install the software on. I have never really worried about how many computers I load the program on because the number of computers you can install the license on has never been an issue.
   If you look at most other programs on the market, once you install the program on one computer successive installs are often restricted because of online activation of the program. This makes it very difficult to install a program on a number of computers without having to buy extra licenses.
   Well, it now looks like the days of unlimited installs of CorelDRAW are over. As of version X6.1, Corel is now requiring you to register each version of the software that you install. Once you have registered with Corel and created an account, that version of CorelDRAW is tied to the e-mail address you signed up with.
   When you launch CorelDRAW, you are now logged into the Corel server using the account you have set up. As a result, only one version of CorelDRAW X6 (a licensed copy) can be running on one computer at one time. For example, if I have the program running on one computer and then I decide to run the same licensed version of CorelDRAW from another computer, I am now forced to log out of the software on the first computer before I can start CorelDRAW on the other computer. (I can shut down CorelDRAW or shut that computer down.)
   If you are a shop that relies on one version of CorelDRAW and it is installed on multiple computers, you may be in for a surprise and added expense if you update to a service pack 6.1 or higher, or if you decide that when a new version of CorelDRAW comes out, you want to upgrade and install one license on a number of computers. For example, if you usually have four people working at the same time on their own computers, then each version on each computer will require its own license. I know that a lot of shops have the same version of CorelDRAW on multiple computers. So, when upgrade time comes you could be in for a significantly higher cost.
   Here is the response from Corel to my question in regards to the customer who has four different computers that are being used by four separate people:
   “Each license should only be used by one person. It can be installed up to three times for the convenience of being able to use it on a laptop vs. desktop vs. tablet. The license can only be open and running on one machine at a time. More information is available in our EULA (www.corel.com/eula). In the scenario you described, the company would need to buy four full licenses of CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X7, or if they have one license of X6 or X5, they could purchase one upgrade and three full licenses. We do validate serial numbers from previous versions when installing a purchased upgrade, so it’s not possible to install an upgrade if you do not own one of the two previous versions of CorelDRAW (i.e. you must own X4 or X5 to purchase an upgrade of X6). That being said, we also offer volume licensing prices for anyone buying two or more copies of CorelDRAW.”


Figure 3: If you are already a member, you can sign into your account on this screen.

      Now I know this is a big change for Corel. Traditionally, they have been opposed to policing how many times you installed the program on x number of computers. They seemed to be more concerned with the number of users than how many paid licenses they had. I can remember that for years you could buy the upgrade version and install it as a full version without ever needing to show a previous version as your proof of ownership. In all my years of buying software, I had never seen this before CorelDRAW. Well I guess Corel, like everyone else, is trying to clamp down and control who is using the program. Because of this, I am sure there are a number of users out there who will now probably take a closer look at whether or not they will upgrade.
Terms of Service (TOS) or End User License Agreement (EULA)
      Ok, I am no lawyer and do not want to be one. So pardon me if I miss a translation of a point with the TOS or EULA. I am not going to get into this in detail. If you are really concerned, then I suggest you type Terms of Service or EULA and CorelDRAW into Google. There are enough discussions on the web that relate to this topic to keep you going and to breed fire and brimstone in a few of you.
      There is nothing more igniting to create a firestorm of debate than those issues that surround a TOS or EULA. If I only had a dollar for every time I listened to a podcast or read an article that related to the constant debate on this TOS and that TOS. I can tell you that people just hate it when a company or government even comes close to taking away or even treading close to their rights.
      Do you use iTunes? If so, have you ever noticed that every time you do an update you have to agree again to a new TOS? Very maddening. So, not to be left out, Corel has decided to join the fray by changing its TOS or EULA with the release of service pack X6. 1.
      What does this mean to you and me? Well, as I mentioned earlier, it could cost you more money to buy additional licenses. Also, unless you register and sign into Corel’s new membership program, you will not be able to receive updates to the program. It is this membership program that Corel is using to entice everyone to sign up. In terms of what has changed in Corel with the new TOS or EULA, here are the highlights.
      1. As of version 6.1 you have the ability to sign up for either the standard or premium membership. The standard membership is free. The premium membership involves a $99 charge per year.
      2. You now will be monitored in the sense that each version of CorelDRAW that is running will be checking in with a server at Corel. You will only be able to have the program installed on three computers with only one computer being active at one time. In terms of installations, here is a response from a Corel employee, “What this three devices rule means is that you can install it (CorelDRAW) on your workstation, your laptop plus one extra computer without having to purchase additional licenses (most other software vendors limit this to one or two devices), with the condition that CorelDRAW is used by only you and that you never start the desktop software on two computers simultaneously. In other words, it is not OK to buy one box, install it on three computers and have three co-workers use CorelDRAW simultaneously (you need three licenses in that case). The EULA hasn’t changed between X6 and X6.1. This should be clear and is quite standard in terms of software. When you are logged into one of the standard accounts then Corel can verify this.”
      3. To receive software updates, you will need to be logged into either the standard or premium membership account. Both accounts are cloud-based and each has different levels of service and content.
      For future installs and if you have updated with service packs, you now fall under the new terms of service and you need to get registered. Everything you do from now on is controlled by your new membership. This membership is created and locked to the e-mail account you use. So when you do register, make sure you use an e-mail address that you intend to keep and that you regularly receive e-mails with. Do not select a fake one or one you never use.


Figure 4: This green icon indicates that you are now logged in. applications, such as this nameplate for a seat back in a stadium.

How the New Process Works
      When you install the update or service pack, you are prompted to log in or create an account. Figure 1 shows the log in screen that you are presented with when you install CorelDRAW or a new update. You do not have to create an account but if you don’t, you will not receive updates to your software. For this reason, you really do need to create an account. To create an account, click on the blue “Create an Account” button.
      When you create an account, you are asked to choose one of the two memberships: standard or premium. As a default, you are assigned a standard subscription. This allows you to access some online products along with some fonts. You will be informed of any updates that are available to be downloaded and those downloads will be applied if you choose.
      As mentioned, you must have an account to get any updates now with version X6, which is different from earlier versions of CorelDRAW. In older versions, updating CorelDRAW with a service pack involved going to the Corel website and downloading the service pack. In more recent versions, the update could be done automatically via the Update command in the Help menu in the software. With Version 6.1, updates can only be done after you create an account with Corel and then log into the account via CorelDRAW.
      You can check to see if you are signed into your account by clicking on HELP | SIGN IN as shown in Figure 2. The fact that this menu says “Sign in” means that you are not signed into your account. Until you sign in, you cannot install any updates to the software.
      After selecting “Sign in,” you are presented with the screen shown in Figure 3. If you have an account, you can sign in at this point using the e-mail address and password that you created the account with. If you do not have an account, then you will need to create one.
      If you are using X6 and upgraded to X6.1 or higher, you also have the ability to see if you are signed in by looking at the bottom right of your screen where you will see a small green man icon. Figure 4 shows a red arrow pointing to this icon. If you are not logged in, the icon will be red. If you click on the black arrow beside the icon, it will display your membership type. Figure 5 shows I have a standard membership and Figure 6 shows that I have a premium membership.
      As I mentioned, the standard membership is free and if you choose to not pay, this will be the group you are kept in. If you choose to upgrade your membership and spend $99 per year to do so, you will be moved to the premium group. Figure 7 shows how Corel advertises the two memberships. Here are the highlights:

Figure 5: Clicking on the black arrow next to the icon reveals my membership status. Here I have a standard membership. Figure 6: This screen indicates that I have a premium membership.

Standard Membership
• Cloud-based connectivity to all existing digital content
• Product updates, previously known as service packs
Premium Membership
• All standard membership features
• Exclusive content including clip art, photos, fonts and more
• Early access to new product features
• Future access to online services
• Major version upgrades
      Here is what Corel has to say about the Premium service: “Premium membership is an optional benefit that only X6 users can elect to purchase annually on top of their perpetual license (it’s automatically included for current subscribers). We offer our premium members early access to new features, exclusive content and upgrades to the next major version of CorelDRAW. In the past year, we have added over 20 new features that only premium members have access to.”
      To add some value to the premium membership, Corel has added in some new features that are not available in X6 or with the standard membership. These new features include: QR Codes; Validate Barcodes; Guideline Setups Docker; Alignment Setup Docker; The Camera Filter; Font Playground; and Color Styles. For more information about the subscription memberships visit this link: http://www.corel.com/static/product_content/cdgs/membership/CDGS_Membership_FAQs.pdf.
      So essentially you now have the option to pay $99 per year and always have the latest version of the software for the term of your premium membership. For example, if you pay the $99 membership fee, you will automatically receive version X7 when it is released. Or you can just buy the latest version of the software and keep the standard account. You will miss out on the so-called extra online content which, hopefully, will evolve and provide more reasons to choose the premium service.
      So what does the new TOS and EULA mean for you? For most users, it means nothing. All you really need to do now is to create an account and either keep the standard membership or pay the $99 for the premium membership. Where this new membership program will create some issues is for those CorelDRAW users who typically buy one version and install it on four or five computers. Once you create an account, you are locked into using that license on only one active computer at one time.


Figure 7: According to Corel, these are the differences between the standard and premium memberships.


      It looks to me as though Corel, like most other software producers, is making strides to control the number of times a particular license is installed. Is it wrong? Based on other programs, no. Based on what Corel has done in the past, well, that is a bigger question. Admittedly, in the days of dwindling revenues and soaring costs, everyone is looking for ways to create additional cash flow from their operations and Corel is no different. I have always been an advocate of updating the programs and machinery that you make your money with. Let us hope that Corel makes it worth our while to do so. I do not mind updating as long as I find tools that I can use. If Corel continues to shy away from giving us reasons to upgrade (and by “us” I mean those of us in the engraving and awards industry), then maybe it is time to look elsewhere for a software solution.
      Well, there you have it. CorelDRAW has finally chosen to fall in with the rest of the software world and force users to be legal. This may seem a little harsh in tone, but this is really what they are doing. For some of you out there, the time has come for you to “pay the piper” if you choose to upgrade to a new version of CorelDRAW. To its credit, Corel will now be allowing multi-user discounts for those installs where there are a number of users. Is it right? Sorry, but yes it is. Most other software programs already have the same ELUA and TOS. Corel really is finally putting their proverbial foot down and saying, “We are going to control this in terms of each user having their own license.” If you are one of those people who buys one copy and installs it on ten computers in your office, then you will not be allowed to do this once you have upgraded to X6.1 or higher.
      Again, as I have mentioned in numerous articles about CorelDRAW, the bottom line is: Is it worth the upgrade? Is it worth it to pay significantly more money to get the latest version? I think some of you will definitely need to think harder about that. As some of you are aware, I am not a big fan of how the recognition and identification industry has to take a back seat in terms of features that Corel makes available. Maybe this will change with the new policy but then again, maybe not. If everyone has to pay, then maybe they will finally bring some specific features to our industry that we need to make our workflow a lot easier and more efficient.
      Only time will tell. I will take a look at some of the new features that Corel has added in these service packs and with the premium service in a future article. Until then keep practicing.

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