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posted by hubie on Saturday September 17 2022, @04:08AM   Printer-friendly

Settlement sees HP compensating some customers in Europe with $1.35 million fund:

HP continues to pay for abruptly blocking third-party ink from its printers. The company has agreed to pay compensation to additional customers impacted by HPs use of DRM to prevent third-party ink and toner from working in its printers. The settlement pertaining to customers in Belgium, Italy, Spain, and Portugal comes after the company already agreed to a settlement in the US and was fined in Italy.

HP printer owners were annoyed, to say the least, in 2016 when HP introduced Dynamic Security, a firmware update that prevented ink and toner cartridges lacking an HP chip from working in HP printers. Customers who already owned these printers suddenly faced error messages preventing them from printing with cartridges that were fully functioning before. At the time, HP claimed that the move was about helping customers avoid counterfeit and subpar ink and protecting HP's IP. However, it largely felt like a business tactic aimed at protecting one of HP's biggest profit drivers at the time, which was tied to a declining industry.

[...] Euroconsumers noted that while it alleged that "consumers were not properly informed that Dynamic Security would cause printers to reject certain non-HP replacement ink cartridges," the settlement isn't "an acknowledgment of any fault or wrongdoing by HP nor as an acknowledgment by Euroconsumers of the groundlessness of its claims."

[...] Sadly, though, this may be all HP has to pay, as using DRM to thwart third-party ink and toner sales has become common practice in the print industry. When HP faced initial backlash for introducing Dynamic Security, it backtracked via firmware updates that removed Dynamic Security from some printers, as noted by Bleeping Computer. But new printers still have the feature. HP just makes sure to bold the Dynamic Security fine print and place it near the top of the printers' product pages. The vendor also has a dedicated page explaining Dynamic Security.

Related: Canon Can't Get Enough Toner Chips, So It's Telling Customers How to Defeat its DRM

Original Submission

Related Stories

Canon Can’t Get Enough Toner Chips, So It’s Telling Customers How to Defeat its DRM 19 comments

Canon can't get enough toner chips, so it's telling customers how to defeat its DRM:

For years, printers have been encumbered with digital rights management systems that prevent users from buying third-party ink and toner cartridges. Printer companies have claimed that their chip-enabled cartridges can "enhance the quality and performance" of their equipment, provide the "best consumer experience," and "protect [the printers] from counterfeit and third-party ink cartridges."

[...] Lexmark, HP, Canon, Brother, and others all effectively require users to purchase first-party ink and toner.

[...] "Due to the worldwide continuing shortage of semiconductor components, Canon is currently facing challenges in procuring certain electronic components that are used in our consumables for our multifunction printers (MFP)," a Canon support website says in German. "In order to ensure a continuous and reliable supply of consumables, we have decided to supply consumables without a semiconductor component until the normal supply takes place again."

[...] But Canon has been having a hard time getting chips amid the shortage, so the company is telling owners of its imageRUNNER large-office printers how to defeat its own protections against cartridges that don't have chips.

The software on these printers comes with a relatively simple way to defeat the chip checks. Depending on the model, when an error message occurs after inserting toner, users can press either "I Agree," "Close," or "OK." When users press that button, the world does not end. Rather, Canon says users may find that their toner cartridge doesn't give them a low-toner warning before running empty.

Original Submission

HP Wants You to Pay Up to $36/Month to Rent a Printer That It Monitors 56 comments

HP launched a subscription service today that rents people a printer, allots them a specific amount of printed pages, and sends them ink for a monthly fee. HP is framing its service as a way to simplify printing for families and small businesses, but the deal also comes with monitoring and a years-long commitment.

Prices range from $6.99 per month for a plan that includes an HP Envy printer (the current model is the 6020e) and 20 printed pages. The priciest plan includes an HP OfficeJet Pro rental and 700 printed pages for $35.99 per month.
HP calls this an All-In-Plan; if you subscribe, the tech company will be all in on your printing activities.

One of the most perturbing aspects of the subscription plan is that it requires subscribers to keep their printers connected to the Internet. In general, some users avoid connecting their printer to the Internet because it's the type of device that functions fine without web access.

A web connection can also concern users about security or HP-issued firmware updates that make printers stop functioning with non-HP ink.

But HP enforces an Internet connection by having its TOS also state that HP may disrupt the service—and continue to charge you for it—if your printer's not online.
The All-In-Plan privacy policy also says that HP may "transfer information about you to advertising partners" so that they can "recognize your devices," perform targeted advertising, and, potentially, "combine information about you with information from other companies in data sharing cooperatives" that HP participates in. The policy says that users can opt out of sharing personal data.

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  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 17 2022, @04:28AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 17 2022, @04:28AM (#1272064)

    A serious and well earned punishment would be revocation of HP patents and copyrights on its cartridges.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 17 2022, @05:58AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 17 2022, @05:58AM (#1272076)

      If it's cheaper than complying, there really is no (moral) incentive to comply. I put moral in brackets because it does amount to a fundamental life choice - whether you are here to try to screw other people or do right by them.

  • (Score: 5, Informative) by Opportunist on Saturday September 17 2022, @07:07AM (3 children)

    by Opportunist (5545) on Saturday September 17 2022, @07:07AM (#1272082)

    Very obviously the fine isn't high enough to correct the behaviour. In other words, the gain is still higher than that fine.

    It reminds me of the old joke where some rich guy speeds past a cop, when he gets pulled over he holds his hand out the window, snaps his fingers and goes "check, please!"

    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by RS3 on Saturday September 17 2022, @01:10PM (2 children)

      by RS3 (6367) on Saturday September 17 2022, @01:10PM (#1272106)

      ... which reminds me of towns near me where people were parking illegally (not feeding parking meters) because the $5 fine was much cheaper than $25 / day parking fees. After years of this the local govt. figured it out and raised the fines to be higher than typical parking fees.

      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Opportunist on Saturday September 17 2022, @02:09PM (1 child)

        by Opportunist (5545) on Saturday September 17 2022, @02:09PM (#1272111)

        Ain't it amazing that they can figure that out with parking fines but not with corporate fines? One has to wonder why.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 18 2022, @06:58AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 18 2022, @06:58AM (#1272246)
          Corporate fines are just the governments getting their share of the profits while performing a show to satisfy the masses.

          You don't need high corporate fines to change corporate behavior. You just have to imprison the people involved[1].

          Going to prison for 5 years is a bigger deal to a CEO than fining his company millions or even billions. If the company goes bust often the CEO has a golden parachute to save him. Most of the employees won't.

          The CEO might have a lifespan that's 5-10 years longer than his average employee, so 5 years in prison is still going to cost him a fair bit.

          Furthermore 5 years in prison hurts a rich CEO more than it hurts a homeless hobo living in a cardboard box. The CEO can't enjoy his yacht, go see his daughter's recital in person, show off his personal chef's molecular gastronomy creations to his friends, etc. The hobo gets shelter, clothing and food.

          [1] A lot of times people will say but just the small fish will go to prison. However once you start trying to put the small fish in prison, don't be surprised if in the future or even the present the smaller fish start providing enough evidence to imprison the bigger fish and so on. If I'm a grunt working for HP, and HP pays the fine, there's no need for me to show my stash of emails to the authorities - why bother? However if they start trying to pin the decision on me, I'm definitely going to dig those emails and documents out, then my boss better dig his stash so his boss does the jail time instead of him and so on.
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Rosco P. Coltrane on Saturday September 17 2022, @08:02AM

    by Rosco P. Coltrane (4757) on Saturday September 17 2022, @08:02AM (#1272086)

    the settlement isn't "an acknowledgment of any fault or wrongdoing by HP nor as an acknowledgment by Euroconsumers of the groundlessness of its claims."

    I keep reading variants of this disclaimer whenever a settlement is paid. Yes Michael Jackson paid a young boy $20M but it was just for shits and giggles, not because he's was a raging paedophile buying the boy's silence. HP agrees to settle but didn't do nothing wrong: they're settling because today is national settlement appreciation day or something...

    What a fucking joke: if you settle, unless the circumstances are very special, you're as guilty as a puppy sitting next to a pile of poo, and you just want to cut your losses. That's the only thing people see. The above statement just makes you look even more unrepentent and devoid of decency.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Nuke on Saturday September 17 2022, @09:29AM (6 children)

    by Nuke (3162) on Saturday September 17 2022, @09:29AM (#1272093)

    This is why, if have something working satisfactorily, I block updates. I am more worried about the malware that manufacturers can put in their updates than I am about other malware. I have good defences against the latter, but official updates with their supposed security patches can get under the radar.

    I have an HP printer which would not use cartridges that were older than their "expiry" date, even though the cartridges were working fine until then. I defeated that ploy by removing the button battery from within the printer.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by looorg on Saturday September 17 2022, @11:54AM (4 children)

      by looorg (578) on Saturday September 17 2022, @11:54AM (#1272102)

      This is true for so many products. In some regard I fear the company updates more then I fear being hacked by other more nefarious entities. After all those are updates you do cause you somehow believe the company, but you shouldn't. HP and all the other scummy INK-printers are just the tip of that iceberg. I'm still not sure why people actually bother with buying INK-jet printers. They are the worst. I guess it's cause they are cheap, even tho they become very expensive with the ink and per copy compared to the lasers. In some sense I'm almost thinking about going back to matrix printers again, it's mostly the sound that make them annoying. Perhaps great improvements have been made in that area over the last couple of decades.

      • (Score: 5, Interesting) by RS3 on Saturday September 17 2022, @01:30PM (1 child)

        by RS3 (6367) on Saturday September 17 2022, @01:30PM (#1272107)

        I mostly use laser printers. My best one I sort of trash-picked more than ten years ago- an HP (ugh) 2200 (iirc). It was with a huge pile of stuff that didn't belong in front of clothing donation bins, so I was doing someone a favor I figure. Point is, I'm still using it and the same toner / drum cartridge. Used color laser printers are fairly inexpensive if you really need color.

        The thing I dislike the most about inkjet printers: a good friend who has bought several high-end ($2-3K price range) inkjet printers, some with large refillable ink reservoirs, has had to throw them away due to the ink drying up and clogging the printheads. He disassembled them as much as possible, soaked them in various cleaners and solvents including in ultrasonic cleaners, and could never get them to work again. Point is: you have to use them often or they're done. If the printhead is part of the ink cartridge, as many are, you're back in business with a new ink cartridge. But that's part of the problem- you're paying for a new printhead when you might not need one. Kind of like a car- if you had to buy a tire and expensive rim together.

        • (Score: 3, Informative) by Reziac on Sunday September 18 2022, @02:24AM

          by Reziac (2489) on Sunday September 18 2022, @02:24AM (#1272218) Homepage

          Or why I gave up on inkjets many years ago, and bought a laser printer. First one was an Epson, and since then an assortment of random HPLJ discards, salvage, and used-cheap. I think the newest one dates to 2012, and the oldest to around 1995. The little 1020 on my desk is still on its original toner cart some 6000 pages later.

          Only reason I have the Epson is it was $300 refurbed when the cheapest HPLJ was still in the low four figures, and used didn't exist. But turns out for the Epson there's no toner cart available, it's the whole imaging unit -- which cost more than a whole new monkey. Some year maybe I'll try refilling the old cart, but no reason to pay $150 to replace it when better HPLJs fall on my head, and take a $15 to $40 toner cart.

          When I had an inkjet (a back-when Canon Bubblejet), I found the way to clean the print head was to run a little straight alcohol through the cart. Did that whenever the cart got cranky, and typically got 8 refills before it got too worn out. But the damned printer failed twice under warranty, and the second time I chucked it out. I have a couple freebie HP inkjets on the shelf but the wide-carriage I can't find a driver for and the other whines about an outdated cart. I may try someone's idea up above, and jerk the battery, if I can get to it.

          And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.
      • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Sunday September 18 2022, @02:11AM

        by Reziac (2489) on Sunday September 18 2022, @02:11AM (#1272217) Homepage

        The better 27-pin impact printers are reasonably quiet. Does Pelikan (I think?) still make ribbons?

        And yeah, that's another reason I don't do firmware and driver updates if I can avoid it. Random malware can be defeated easier than a malicious corporate policy.

        And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 19 2022, @01:53PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 19 2022, @01:53PM (#1272364)
        Yeah, with my first android phone I was naive enough to update the firmware and promptly lost features. Similar thing for apps - the app could be good then after that it becomes unusably ad infested...

        After that I stopped doing phone updates and even app updates (and not allow them network access - note that some apps will still show ads without network access) just update browsers and messaging app (which are the main ways into my phone).

        Even then, I've been losing useful features for every new Android phone I get. Used to be I could run apps on sdcard without root, even those that weren't "designed" for it. Now? Nope. Used to be that Tasker could turn off mobile data. Now? Nope.
    • (Score: 4, Informative) by MIRV888 on Saturday September 17 2022, @05:28PM

      by MIRV888 (11376) on Saturday September 17 2022, @05:28PM (#1272156)

      Espon 1430 photo has a 'break me' firmware update.
      It does the same thing, locks out all 3rd party ink.
      I have the updater blocked, but it's a sh1tty move by Epson.
      Everyone knows ink cartridges are the scam of home printing.

  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by wArlOrd on Saturday September 17 2022, @02:43PM (1 child)

    by wArlOrd (2142) on Saturday September 17 2022, @02:43PM (#1272114)

    If I use my printer to prepare my federal income tax return, wouldn't that make it a Federal Interest Computer (FIC)?
    If someone hacked my FIC so I couldn't prepare my income tax return, I would expect criminal consequences for the hacker, i.e. jail time.
    If HP hacked my FIC so I couldn't prepare my tax return, they OBVIOUSLY exceeded their lawful access to my FIC.
    Unless, I suppose, they had a notarized authorization from me to access my FIC to disable it; and no, click-throughs and adhesion contracts do no authorize such behavior.

    Sorry, I just woke up from my dream/nightmare

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 19 2022, @01:59PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 19 2022, @01:59PM (#1272365)

      Microsoft sneakily downgraded to Windows 10 lots of Windows 7 computers that didn't belong to them.

      Microsoft got sued by some lady, but as far as I know nobody went to prison for that.

      I bet I'd be doing prison time if I publicly went around "upgrading/downgrading" people's PCs without their permission. Or I had some badware that installed itself even if the owner of the computer clicked the X button to close the installer ( [] ).