My plugins for Adobe Lightroom are “donationware”. I develop, release, and maintain them for free, and you can use them for free forever, but I hope you find them worthy of a gift of thanks or encouragement. They are fully functional for a long initial trial period, after which functionality is reduced until they are registered. You don't need to register, but if you want to, it generally costs one cent (a PayPal fee).
If you'd care to read about why I have chosen this path, see my blog posts “What To Do When a Hobby Becomes Work?” and “Lightroom Plugin Development: Now With Added Encouragement”.
After the initial trial period ends, I don't want to shut them down completely and leave someone in the lurch, but I do want to encourage registration (and potential gifts), so they become somewhat restricted until registered, usually to processing no more than 10 images at a time. If you don't mind the restriction, there's no need to register.
Creative Cloud Warning: Adobe sprung Lightroom's inclusion in their Creative Cloud on me without notice. (Personally, I think they should vet all business decisions by me first ). The way they did it seems to pose some serious technical hurdles for me, and if/when I can solve them, registrations on a Creative Cloud install may disappear (and may need to be registered again if registration is desired.) At this point I just don't know.
How it Works
Registration involves making a payment of at least $0.01 to me using PayPal. Your 17-character PayPal “Unique Transaction ID” becomes the registration code that you enter into the plugin. Some users are given a “Receipt Number” by PayPal instead, which is also valid as a registration code.
You do not need a PayPal account: if you don't have one, you can pay through PayPal using a credit card.
If you choose to make a payment of $0.01 (or whatever minimum PayPal allows for your currency), PayPal takes that as a fee and I receive nothing, and that's perfectly acceptable. If you choose to make a larger payment, PayPal takes its fees off the top – at least the first fifty cents or so – and what remains, if anything, is a gift for which I (and more importantly, my wife) am most appreciative.
In either case, your PayPal transaction ID is a fully valid registration code.
( PayPal gives some users a “Receipt Number” instead, which is also accepted as a registration code )
I'm trying to be really laid back and reasonable... no one wants to give a gift to a jerk... but I've got to set some limits, so here they are...
The Fine Print
I've developed plugins for years (here's why), pushing out hundreds of upgrades, and it is my intention to continue to push out new features and bug fixes from time to time. But I must be clear that while it's my intention, it is not a guarantee. I am not a business and I don't want to be a business — this is just a hobby, after all — and you are not purchasing anything when you register the plugin. Officially, there are no guarantees other than the registration code will work to remove the trial-period-ended limitation of the copy of the plugin you have, for the version of Lightroom you have.
In Lightroom 3 and later, your registration ties one plugin to one Lightroom serial number, and you can use the same registration code (PayPal transaction ID) to register that plugin with that same Lightroom serial number on multiple machines, such as if you use Lightroom on the two machines Adobe's license allows, or you later have to do a full system reinstall.
(The registration system is different in Lightroom 2: it is not tied to the Lightroom serial number, but instead is limited to four installs, and the ability to register new installs expires six months after the first install; the registration itself doesn't expire, just the ability to register another install of the plugin.)
If you don't have a PayPal account and don't have a credit card, you won't be able to register plugins in the normal way. Send me a note and I'll take care of you. I will request (but not require) that you send me some good karma by doing something nice for someone locally.
Similarly, if you administer Lightroom on a bunch of computers (e.g. at a school or large business) and you don't have a single bulk-install serial number from Adobe, send me a note and I'll get you a less restricted registration code so that you don't have to hassle with PayPal a zillion times.
Due to the nature of the system I've built, you cannot register a plugin during Lightroom's “free trial” phase, because it doesn't yet have a serial number. Also, I do not permit the use of my plugins on pirated copies of Lightroom.
Major Lightroom Upgrades
A byproduct of the registration system is that plugins are de-registered by a major Lightroom upgrade, such as when moving from Lr3 to Lr4, because, it turns out, your Lightroom serial number changes with such an upgrade. I didn't realize that when I developed my system. Sorry.
This does not impact dot releases (e.g. Lr4.2 → Lr4.3), but it creates a hassle for you every other year or so at each Lightroom major release because you have to re-register all the plugins that you want to be registered. I'm sorry.
You can, of course, as always, avail yourself of the ability to create a new registration code with a 1-cent transaction (a total of about $0.30 if you use all my plugins), so I hope it's not too burdensome a hassle, especially since it's just every other year or so.
Sharing with the ExifTool Author
My Metadata Wrangler plugin is built around Phil Harvey's most-excellent exiftool library. Phil works tirelessly on this library, but although he has a donate button, he garners little support because the library is used mostly just by a small world of developers like me.
My plugins have more exposure to the general public, and since some of them use his work, I've decided to help support Phil's work on exiftool by passing along some of the gifts I receive. I'm passing along fully half of the gifts I receive related to the Metadata Wrangler (that plugin couldn't exist without exiftool), and a smaller portion of those I receive for Lr2/Lr3 versions of my Geoencoding-support plugin (since the exiftool library plays a smaller part in that plugin).
So, when you use a registration code to register one of those plugins, my system will automatically “credit Phil's account” (so to speak) with a portion of the gift, if any, associated with the registration code. So “thanks!” from Phil, too.
To generate a registration code, follow the button below to make a payment through PayPal.
Worldwide except Japan:
It depends on the plugin, but the average gift seems to be about $15 to $20 for the “Export To ..” plugins, but whether to even send a gift (and if so, how much) is completely up to you. The only requirement to register is the minimum PayPal fee, which I do not receive.
You can use the button to the left, or manually generate a transaction with the recipient set to “firstname.lastname@example.org”. (This manual method must be used if PayPal in your country does not allow the sending of gifts.)
How To Use Your Registration Code
After you generate a transaction at PayPal and pull the “Unique Transaction ID” (or, for some users, the “Receipt Number”) from the confirmation page, confirmation email, or PayPal history screen, visit the plugin in Lightroom's Plugin Manager, and in the upper-right section you should find a “Register Here” button, as illustrated here:
That'll bring up a dialog in which you can paste your registration code. (It's case sensitive, so best to cut-and-paste so that there are no typos.)
If You Need to Re-Register but Have Forgotten Your Registration Code, or It Doesn't Seem To Work
If your Lightroom serial number has not changed, press the “Forgot Your Code?” button in the registration dialog (the one that pops up when you press the “Register Here” button illustrated above). If you have previously registered the plugin with that install of Lightroom, your code will automatically fill in and you can reregister.
If it doesn't come up, or if you enter it yourself but it's rejected, the following possible reasons come to mind:
You had created a registration code before, but didn't actually use it to register a plugin. Check your PayPal history.
You'd registered a different plugin.
Your Lightroom serial number has changed (because, for example, you performed a major upgrade, such as from Lr3 to Lr4).
Remember, you can always generate a fresh code right away with a new 1-cent transaction, so that's often the easiest thing to do to resolve a mystery, but you can also always just send me a note with whatever information you have and I'll see what I can come up with.
*Officially, all my hobby stuff (publishing, photography, and software) are conducted through my company, DialRight Software Inc.