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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: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 12, @08:25PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 12, @08:25PM (#1212201)

    Sorry, forgive my lack of clarity. I wasn't bitching about the choice of posting the story here. I am actually a big fan of this site and the people who run it, and I do submit stories myself. I was bitching that it was worth a story for Ars, or at least bitching about the content of the story not matching the more sensationalized headline (hitting the "Ok" button is how to "defeat its DRM"?). If you can close a window and it keeps working, albeit not providing some sort of performance information such as the amount of ink available (which apparently is the whole purpose of having the chip there), that isn't DRM! If the printer refused to work at all, that would be a DRM issue. I was at least unrealistically expecting some sort of cleverness, like using a paperclip as a jumper, or overwriting an install CD with a Sharpie, but it didn't even have that.

    But I will take up the challenge tonight and see if I can find some sort of analysis of the chip shortage.

  • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Wednesday January 12, @09:46PM

    by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday January 12, @09:46PM (#1212222) Journal

    And I wasn't being critical about your desire for such a story. Don't worry, we seem to be on the same page. But if none of the technical sources has written such a report then nobody can submit it as a story. However, if you DO find such a story then by all means push it onto the queue - because, like you, I would love to read it.

    I wonder if that option was clearly explained in the manual for the printer? - it appears to have not been quite so 'obvious' to the owners. It might also be worth looking for the obvious way to circumvent the DRM on other brands of printer too.

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