Canon Printers Think Genuine Ink is Counterfeit Due to Chip Shortage

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Canon Ink Subject to its own DRM due to chip shortage

Due to the ongoing global chip shortage, Canon is finding it difficult to obtain the chips that are attached to ink cartridges that confirm their legitimacy to its printers. As a result, it has to explain to customers how to bypass its own DRM.

Canon Germany has issued a public statement on its website (which has apparently also been emailed to some customers) that explains that due to the lack of chips, even official Canon ink could be seen as counterfeit across a range of its printers. As part of the statement, the company has also issued instructions on how to bypass its own Digital Rights Management (DRM). The issue may extend beyond Canon Germany into other Canon Europe entities as well.

Below is Canon’s statement, machine translated from German:

We value you as a customer and a constant user of Canon products.

Due to the persistent global shortage of semiconductor components, Canon is currently facing challenges in sourcing certain electronic components that are used in our consumables for our multifunction printers (MFP). These components lead e.g. B. Features such as the detection of the remaining toner level.

In order to ensure a continuous and reliable supply of consumables, we have decided to deliver consumables without semiconductor components until normal supply is restored.

There is no negative impact on print quality when using consumables without electronic components, but certain additional functions, such as e. B. the detection of the toner level may be impaired.

19 total printer lines and multiple models within each are affected by the issue and Canon has listed instructions on how to work around the issue for each on its website, which is basically the official instruction to ignore the warnings in its own printer software.

The situation highlights what some consider to be the absurdity of DRM as Canon, which was recently sued for disabling the scanning functionality of its printers when ink cartridges are empty, now has to explain to customers how to bypass the methods it uses to scare customers to only buy “official” ink and that its error messages to the contrary can be effectively disregarded.

Louis Rossmann, a popular YouTuber, repair technician, and advocate of consumer rights in technology products, says that he actually likes this set of events because it normalizes hitting “OK” on a senseless error message.

“You shouldn’t be scared to use third-party ink in your printer,” Rossmann says. “I’ve been using third-party ink in my printer for 25 years[…] it has always worked. If there is one good thing to come out of the global chip shortage, I think less of these chips that are there to try and prevent you from using something from a third party or to alert you if you are using something from a third party, I like the idea of them being discredited because when you make it normal in the consumer’s mind, when you tell them, ‘by the way, you just bypass this, just ignore this error message,’ you’re kind of low-key telling them that this doesn’t matter.”

Rossmann argues that Canon printers — or really any manufacturer’s printers — are capable of retaining full functionality regardless of if the ink placed in them is first- or third-party, and the warnings the company puts in its software can be ignored with no repercussions to the quality of the printing.

While the notice was found on Canon Germany’s site, PetaPixel reached out to Canon USA for comment, but the company was unavailable to respond ahead of publication.

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