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HP "timebomb" prevents HP inkjet printers from using non-HP ink cartridges.

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Related discussion: What's your experience with 3rd party color inkjet ink replacement?

There are lots of reports about this, for example the excellent one from techdirt:
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
HP Launched Delayed DRM Time Bomb To Disable Competing Printer Cartridges
from the innovation! dept

For decades now, consumers have been lured into a sour deal: pay for a relatively inexpensive printer, then spend a lifetime paying an arm and a leg for viciously overpriced printer cartridges. As most have learned first-hand, any attempt to disrupt this obnoxious paradigm via third-party printer cartridges has been met with a swift DRM roundhouse kick to the solar plexus. In fact if there's an area where the printer industry actually innovates, it's most frequently in finding new, creative and obnoxious methods of preventing cartridge competition.

Hoping to bring this parade of awfulness to its customers at scale, HP this week unearthed the atomic bomb of printer cartridge shenanigans. HP Printer owners collectively discovered on September 13 that their printers would no longer even accept budget cartridges. Why? A firmware update pushed by the company effectively prevented HP printers from even detecting alternative cartridges, resulting in HP printer owners getting messages about a "cartridge problem," or errors stating "one or more cartridges are missing or damaged," or that the user was using an "older generation cartridge."

As Cory Doctorow over at Boing Boing notes, this behavior is simply par for the course, with Lexmark engaging in similar behavior back in 2003. By embedding an "I am empty" bit in their cartridges, they were similarly able to ensure that users couldn't use third-party cartridges or they'd be told the cartridge lacked ink. Lexmark leaned heavily on Section 1201 of the DMCA to support its behavior, a tactic HP is likely to mirror but evolve:
"Lexmark invoked Section 1201 of the DMCA, which makes it a criminal and civil offense to bypass an "effective means of access control" for a copyrighted work. The DC Circuit court asked Lexmark which copyrighted work was being protected by its access control, and it argued that the checking routine itself was copyrighted, as well as the "Empty" bit. The court found that the DMCA could only be invoked where there was a copyrighted work apart from the access control, and that a single bit didn't qualify as a copyrightable work. Lexmark lost."
In this case, HP's DRM time bomb firmware update was apparently deployed back in March, but HP didn't activate the "improvement" until this month. And as is usually the case in this space, HP isn't saying much outside of a misleading quote proclaiming the company was simply protecting its "innovations" and intellectual property:
"HP said such updates were rolled out "periodically" but did not comment on the timing of the last instalment.

"The purpose of this update is to protect HP's innovations and intellectual property," it said in a statement."
But rejoice! HP claims that users can still refill cartridges, as long as those cartridges contain an HP-approved security chip:
"These printers will continue to work with refilled or remanufactured cartridges with an original HP security chip. Other cartridges may not function."
Well, at least until HP figures out a way to DRM the printer fluid itself, which surely can't be too far along on the horizon.

--- End quote ---

The above report was amusingly referred to in Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt:
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
Next, we've got a small but important anonymous observation about HP disabling third-party ink cartridges with a firmware update:
There is a serious and long-term unintended consequence that MS, HP, et al are not considering here: they are teaching users that *installing security updates is bad.*

--- End quote ---

Which was coincidentally almost exactly my thought when I first read of this disgraceful example of what rather seems to be - whichever way one looks at it - underhand, sneaky, unprofessional, greedy and user-hostile sharp practice. Hewlett and Packard would be spinning in their graves.

I stopped buying (as in "Will never buy again") HP inkjet printers after they made my last superb HP A3 printer obsolete by deliberately NOT updating the drivers to work in Windows 7.
Similarly, I stopped buying HP scanners after they made my last superb HP scanner obsolete by deliberately NOT updating the drivers to work in Windows 7.
I was a loyal HP customer up to that point. No more. The very idea of buying HP peripherals gives my mouth a bad taste.
I subsequently bought a superb and more portable EPSON A4/letter scanner for smaller documents/photos/negatives, and a very good Brother A3 multi-function (scanner-printer-fax) device to cover all bases.
The only problem I have had is with the printer. I do very little printing and the somewhat underused printhead keeps clogging up (which my HP printer also suffered from, and for the same reason).

Whoever dredged up this latest anachronistic and failed approach to "customer retention" for HP and reworked it, and whoever approved it, will probably be quietly taken out and shot for all the good it has probably NOT done for the company.
It is on a par with, and just as moronic as, that brilliant idea that the Volkwagen engineers apparently had for cheating on the diesel fuel emissions tests: "OK, if we can't do it through honest endeavours, let's just cheat! That way, we make more money and no-one will ever find out!"
Yeah, right.

I find the absolute lack of imagination that was probably required to resurrect this sort of moronic idea and to actually employ it and engage in such shoddy/sharp practice, to be mind-boggling in the extreme.
Well, it certainly sends out a big message to HP's current and potential future buyers/customers. It will be interesting to see what damage control is put in place by HP. Either way, there will likely be repercussions.

I guess my aging Deskjet 932C (circa 2000) missed out on that update because it's still happily grinding away using non-HP cartridges on a Win10 machine :P

Stoic Joker:
And to compound the problem - if you're trying to hold out with older firmware - HP's tech support will also always insist that you have the latest firmware installed before addressing any issue(s) you may be having with one of their devices.

Ya know...just in case the fix was addressed in the update...

Yes, clearly self-serving cynicism seems to abound in corporate thinking. Recent examples indicate that to be the case, whether it's in automobile manufacturing or computer/printer manufacture. I reckon that it displays a rent-seeking mentality - the desire to gain revenue/profit without actually doing anything productive (making something or providing a service) to warrant it. Like the banks, I guess - e.g., with financial instruments like (say) subprime mortgages. Then, when it all turns to custard, they apparently expect or may have even planned for the contingency, to get guaranteed or bailed out by the government (taxpayer) because they are "too big to fail", or "it's in the national economic interest", or "to maintain employment", or something. Solyndra Scandal.

(And I never could figure out why apparently all that stock of Solyndra's output had to be destroyed. I mean, why not sell it off or give it away - or maybe was what they had produced no good in the first place?)

I stopped buying (as in "Will never buy again") HP inkjet printers...
-IainB (September 26, 2016, 04:38 AM)
--- End quote ---

I have also stopped buying HP equipment quite a while back.

I've been pretty satisfied with Brother printers since then.  I don't know about refilling, but using 3rd party ink cartridges  hasn't been a problem for me.


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