In-Plant Representatives Share Concerns Prompted by Adobe/FedEx Kinko’s Brouhaha
August 14, 2007 - (WhatTheyThink exclusive by Cary Sherburne) -- Following Adobe’s much-welcomed announcement that it would be removing the “Print to FedEx Kinko’s” button from Acrobat and Reader, WhatTheyThink spoke with Ray Chambers, CEO of Chambers Management Group and former in-plant executive, who subsequently spearheaded the creation of a press release
outlining the position of The Association of College and University Printers (ACUP), the National Government Publishing Association (NGPA), and the International Printing and Mailing Association (IPMA), as well as in-plant print operations all over the country, specifically with respect to concerns that the Adobe/FedEx Kinko’s deal, and other like solutions Adobe may consider in the future, highlight relative to their operations.
Chambers was an in-plant manager for 30 years in state and local government and higher education, and was also Vice President and Chief Information Officer of a local college. He says, “I am passionate about in-plants and about having them get a fair shake, and at the same time, concerned about what is best for the institutions they serve.”
In-plant printers have a different set of concerns about these types of solutions than a quick or commercial printer. They are interested, of course, in protecting the volumes that are directed into their shops, but they also have grander concerns that affect the health of the overall organization. Chambers says, “There are many business processes within corporate, governmental and educational organizations that are subject to legal and regulatory compliance, requiring an audit trail that can easily be circumvented when an application as pervasive as Acrobat allows a user to simply click on one button and have information sent outside the firewall.”
He cites privacy concerns, pointing out that the financial aide process in the university environment, for example, involves a large number of documents that contain very personal and sensitive information, as do documents associated with alumni contributions and bequests. He says, “Most organizations have strict policies about how this information is handled, and most employees want to follow those policies. Even without a button like the one Adobe negotiated with FedEx Kinko’s, people can, of course, print outside the network. But those types of solutions make it a blatant, in-your-face capability that some employees might not realize violates policy. We just want a say in how these types of solutions are implemented in the future.”
Chambers also sites obligations to protect intellectual property and copyrights, saying, “Professors often use journal articles in classrooms, and because college and universities are typically ISPs for their institutions, they are covered by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. If they have put in place standards and guidelines to protect the integrity of files, including audit trails, processes for handling complaints and that kind of thing, they have safe harbor protection from liability. With solutions such as the proposed FedEx Kinko’s button, anyone can easily send a file to an outside vendor, circumventing the entire process.”
Finally, Chambers points out some states, including Kentucky and Iowa, require all public institutions to use environmentally friendly printing solutions that reduce their carbon footprint, including soy-based inks and recycled papers, and unauthorized use of outside printers can make it difficult to ensure those laws are complied with.
Chambers, along with representatives from the rest of the printing industry, applauds Adobe’s quick response to concerns their action raised. Through conversations with Adobe and the press release, he is looking for a more influential seat for representatives of the in-plant printing industry at the negotiating table with Adobe as the company works to outline future strategies for embedded printing solutions.