The European Commission has been called on to investigate what many photographers claim is the ?rip-off? pricing of Adobe CS3 software in Europe compared to the United States.

Adobe has refused to lower the UK cost of its Creative Suite (CS3) software despite angering many photographers with its launch price – understood to be up to 70% more in the UK and nearly double the US price on some combinations of CS3 products.

Photographers upgrading from CS2 to CS3, for example, pay £163 in the UK but $199 in the US.

At today?s exchange rates the US price equates to the sterling equivalent of around £100 – that?s £63 less than it is here.

Adobe blames the higher pricing on factors such as ?economies of scale?, adding that its costs also reflect factors such as organising seminars, training and events that accompany its product launches.

The controversy has sparked a fevered petition on the internet urging photographers across Europe to boycott the purchase of the Adobe CS3 software upgrade. So far the petition has gained nearly 9,000 signatures.

Among those campaigning for ?fair pricing for European software? is Danielle Libine who wrote: ?On 23 April 2007, I sent this petition to the European Commission asking them to investigate and where possible act upon this situation.?

Writing in the May issue of The Photographer magazine, editor Steve Hynes said: ?European users of Photoshop and Creative Suite are being asked to pay nearly twice as much as their counterparts in the US. We are well accustomed to a substantial difference between the US prices and those in other parts of the world? But this time Adobe seems to have pushed tolerance beyond the limit.?

Adobe declined to comment beyond a statement it released in a bid to explain the price differential: ?Pricing is higher in Europe on many goods, not just software, so it?s important to understand why. Adobe sets pricing in each market based on customer research, local market conditions and the cost of doing business.?

The statement adds: ?Adobe evaluates pricing with each release? Unlike the economies of scale achieved in the large homogenous US market, the EU has ten major languages, four major currencies and diverse regional markets. The costs of doing business in European markets are significantly higher per unit of revenue than in the United States.?

? Are UK prices fair? Is Adobe?s pricing justified? You can air your views on the AP forum via