Canon is forced to supply ‘knockoff’ cartridges with ink due to lack of a chip

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Printer manufacturers have long used chips to prevent the sale of third-party ink cartridges and lead you to their own products, but now they feel the sting of those restrictions. Register and USA Today note Canon has had to ship toner cartridges without chips to protect against copying due to constant shortages. This in turn has led to some ImageRunner multifunction printers not being accurate flagging official cartridges as replacements – Canon even told printer owners how to bypass warnings and deal with detecting faulty toner levels.

We asked Canon for comment. Some users said they had similar problems with HP printers, but the company did not want to directly confirm or deny the problems in a statement to Register. Instead, HP said it is using a “globally diversified” supply network to stay “agile and adaptable” amid the chip shortage.

The printer problem illustrates one of the common complaints about digital rights management (DRM) and other copy protection systems: they create problems at a time when their designers cannot offer full support. Just ask the people who bought the music related to Microsoft’s PlaysForSure, for example. It is suspected that Canon, HP or others will soon give up their DRM chips, but this incident will not really help their case.

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