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Old 04-29-2016, 02:18 PM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 9,229
Default Brother uses Secure PDF's for User Manuals = very annoying

My sister (next door) has a new laptop (HP ProBook 450 to replace her 4 year old Dell) that I've tweaked and set up for her. We got her data moved over, software she uses installed and installed the drivers for her HP 2200D printer (yes, my old one) and her Brother MFC-J410W AIO (printer/copier/scanner/fax). The other day, she told me that she needed to set the date and time for the fax and didn't know how. I told her to find the documentation for the printer but to let me know if she couldn't find it.

Later that evening, I figured it couldn't be too hard to do that and when looking through Brother's website for their documentation on the MFC-J410W. I found the steps for setting the date/time in the printer's Quick Start manual on page 9 of the PDF. Tried to copy the text by highlighting and ctrl-c'ing and it wouldn't copy. Tried using Reader's "Select" and then ctrl-c'ing and it wouldn't copy. I thought, well, ok, I'll just print page 9 to the PDF printer instance. Not Allowed. I got aggravated and spent a good half hour/45minutes trying to find a way to copy the text or print the page to PDF. Couldn't be done.

Eventually, I printed the damned page to my printer, scanned it and saved the page as a PDF and emailed the PDF to my sister.

I was pissed enough to fired off an email to Brother Customer Support asking why all of their PDF documentation is created using the "secure" option. To their credit, Brother responded in less than 24 hours and actually addressed the issue I raised (a rare thing for many of these companies) telling me that it was for "copyright protection". I was also told that Brother's online FAQ's cover the same material as their documentation and that I could copy/paste/print to pdf to my heart's content.


What, then, is the point of Secure PDF's? Of course, it does take longer to find the info one is looking for via their online FAQ as you've got to know what terms to search for while with the PDF, it's generally just a matter of looking at the PDF's index.

I also received a survey asking me about their customer service and again, to Brother's credit, the survey actually allows the user to write a detailed response to each question asked--each question has a scale from 1-10 (10 being highest) allowing the user to rate Brother's customer service. I took full advantage of those comment boxes to tell Brother in no uncertain terms (politely of course) what a stupid thing it is to create Secure PDF's for something like documentation--particularly when the same info is available unprotected--in their online FAQ's.

Overall, I gave a rating of "4" for Brother products telling them that I would have given a rating of "9" if they'd not used Secure PDF's for their documentation.

I am fully willing to admit that I often look at things in ways that others might consider skewed but...does it strike anyone else that Brother's approach is well...dumb?


Last edited by terrie; 04-30-2016 at 12:28 PM. Reason: fix typo
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