Liability & Accountability- The Unaltered State
If the preflight fails, return to sender. If there is no supplied proof, advise the advertiser that they will be proceeding at their own risk. If a proof is supplied but does not correspond with the source file, advise the sendee that you must print what is in the file.
If you had received film that did not match your mechanical specifications or perhaps was scratched, you would have sent it back to the agency or the prep house. If you received film but no proof, you would have told the advertiser that although you'd make every effort to match the proof, you could not guarantee output. If you received a proof that was pulled from a master file and not from the film you've received, you would have printed what was in the file and hoped that it matched the proof.
Advice from someone who knows
Industry standards were formulated to maintain control of the web offset printing process. In the days of film, we lived by SWOP. Guess what? We should continue to live by SWOP.
In the end, accountability falls upon numerous shoulders. Agencies must choose their vendors with care, seeking only providers that can demonstrate a seamless workflow and high quality. Publishers must take the initiative to forego accuracy assumptions and implement preflighting. And printers should partner with their clients to make certain that files received won't cause problems during platesetting.
So, what's new with regard to accountability? Nothing, really. Yes, there is lots of talk about liability, because digital technologies are intangible and abstract. My advice to you is to continue to work in the same manner as you always have: Employ the same tools, industry guidelines, measurements, logic and reasoning that you've relied on in the past.
-Linda Manes Goodwin
Linda Manes Goodwin, a digital workflow consultant, is an evangelist for CTP and specializes in optimizing digital workflow for print production.