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posted by martyb on Tuesday January 11, @04:39AM   Printer-friendly

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.


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  • (Score: 2) by looorg on Tuesday January 11, @03:42PM (1 child)

    by looorg (578) on Tuesday January 11, @03:42PM (#1211784)

    One does wonder what kind of bleeding edge chips (massive overstatement hopefully) goes into a printer cartridge "DRM" circuit. I guess the upside to this is that they really should just be doing away with that shit all together. It didn't use to be a thing, the cartridge then clearly works without so what the fuck is the point of it? Perhaps it's just better to go back to dot-matrix for the most part, cause you can't fit a DRM chip into a ribbon dipped in ink (that is not a challenge!). I guess you can put on to measure the level of ink in the tray or how moist the band is or something equally stupid.

    That said isn't the chips that goes into this something utterly trivial? There is apparently a shortage on all the chips then from the high tech to the very bottom of the barrel. I guess everyone does indeed do JIT delivery for all the crap. It's what made the world go around. Everyone drank that cool-aid.

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  • (Score: 2) by tekk on Tuesday January 11, @04:39PM

    by tekk (5704) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday January 11, @04:39PM (#1211809)

    > One does wonder what kind of bleeding edge chips (massive overstatement hopefully)

    If the car manufacturers are to be believed, it's the opposite problem. Canon is probably using a tiny $0.02 microcontroller that's been around for decades in there. When the IC manufacturers spun down they cut off supply from the last profitable commodity chips upwards.

    It'd be pretty funny if their solution was to throw some super server-scale 16 core ARM chip with 32gb of ram into every printer cartridge though. Maybe that'd justify the expense.