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Printer Hardware Hacking Your Rights Online

Cryptography To Frustrate Printer-Ink Piracy 305

Posted by kdawson
from the so-sorry-ink-spots dept.
Zack Melich writes with news of a new front about to open in the war printer manufacturers wage with cartridge counterfeiters, refillers, and hardware hackers. A San Francisco company, Cryptography Research Inc., is designing a crypto chip to marry cartridges to printers. There's no word so far that any printer manufacturer has committed to using it. Quoting: "The company's chips use cryptography designed to make it harder for printers to use off-brand and counterfeit cartridges. CRI plans to create a secure chip that will allow only certain ink cartridges to communicate with certain printers. CRI also said that the chip will be designed that so large portions of it will have no decipherable structure, a feature that would thwart someone attempting to reverse-engineer the chip by examining it under a microscope to determine how it works. 'You can see 95 percent of the [chip's] grid and you still don't know how it works,' said Kit Rodgers, CRI's vice president of business development. Its chip generates a separate, random code for each ink cartridge, thus requiring a would-be hacker to break every successive cartridge's code to make use of the cartridge."
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Cryptography To Frustrate Printer-Ink Piracy

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  • Piracy? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rix (54095) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @05:13AM (#19705091)
    That's absurd enough when applied to simple copyright infringement, but there's absolutely nothing illegal about after market ink. In fact, these sort of shenanigans should be illegal themselves. Let the printer manufacturers compete fairly.
    • Re:Piracy? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mrbluze (1034940) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @05:21AM (#19705117) Journal

      That's absurd enough when applied to simple copyright infringement, but there's absolutely nothing illegal about after market ink. In fact, these sort of shenanigans should be illegal themselves. Let the printer manufacturers compete fairly.

      I doubt it will really work. The technique itself will be patented and will come at a cost to printer manufacturers to implement, whereas it will make the printers particularly unattractive to anyone on a budget.

      Everybody, even my grandma, knows that the real cost is in the consumables. People can easily make the calculation, eg: "let me see, I spend $30 more for printer Y but I get to refill, which costs me $15 less each time. Hmmm, what a tricky decision - not!"

      • Re:Piracy? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by owlstead (636356) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @05:45AM (#19705221)
        "I doubt it will really work. The technique itself will be patented and will come at a cost to printer manufacturers to implement, whereas it will make the printers particularly unattractive to anyone on a budget."

        That's wishfull thinking. You can easily make chips for a very small fraction of the price of these cartridges. So much so that any "piracy" that is being stamped out will mean more profit for the original manufacturer.

        Chips in mass production have two mayor cost components: design and die-size. Now I don't know how much IP overhead there will be, but rest assured that the variable costs (related to die-size) will be extremely low. Especially since some of these cardridges tend to already contain electronics.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by MindKata (957167)
          I think this secure chip news is "Cryptography Research Inc" way of drumming up business. They want to sell/licence the chip to printer manufacturers.

          But I think the wider issue is, the continuing attempts to prevent 3rd party printer cartridges, shows blatant violation of antitrust laws.
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_antitru st_law/ [wikipedia.org]

          Its about time legal action was taken against these companies.
          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by MindKata (957167)
            Doh, URL was slightly wrong... (it don't work with the last slash symbol).
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_antitru st_law [wikipedia.org]
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            But I think the wider issue is, the continuing attempts to prevent 3rd party printer cartridges, shows blatant violation of antitrust laws. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_antitru [wikipedia.org] st_law/ Its about time legal action was taken against these companies.

            Yup. Controlling the aftermarket ink and toner cartridges is a blatant violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act.

            Also, the standard practice of scaring consumers into thinking that their warranties are going to be voided by even looking at the refilled cartridges is in direct violation of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.

            So, why are things so screwed up? HP, Lexmark, Canon and Epson have much larger legal departments than remanufacturers.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by mrbluze (1034940)

          Chips in mass production have two mayor cost components: design and die-size. Now I don't know how much IP overhead there will be, but rest assured that the variable costs (related to die-size) will be extremely low. Especially since some of these cardridges tend to already contain electronics.

          Still, I can't see how companies will uniformly embrace this (unless forced to - do you see that happening anytime soon?). This is not likely to impact on current technologies, I reckon, but actually it might on new methods of printing which may be protected by patent for a time. Say Kodak had a new way of making ink not bleed once printed .. say an inkjet-based method that was superior to laser. They might claim to protect consumers by forcing them to use kodak cartriges and thereby justify this DRM.

      • by suv4x4 (956391)
        I doubt it will really work. The technique itself will be patented and will come at a cost to printer manufacturers to implement, whereas it will make the printers particularly unattractive to anyone on a budget.

        Are you kidding. They'll up the price and even increase their margin as a result of this. "But why is the ink so expensive ?!" -> "Because people pirate the ink and we had to take protective measures".
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        Most of the time, the calculation usually goes more along the lines of: "I'll buy this printer on sale for $40 and instead of buying the $50 replacement refills (because usually the black and colour cartridges cost about $25 each), I'll just toss it and buy this month's $40 printer."
        And actually, I can usually pack the thing back in the box and take it down to the pawn shop and get $15-20 for it thus further offsetting the cost of replacing the printer every month.
        • by zecg (521666)
          First, that's a lot of work. Secondly, most printers come with cartridges half or third full OOTB.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by InvalidError (771317)
            For my usage pattern, inkjet printers are one-time-use devices: since it may be weeks between print jobs, the printheads are often hopelessly clogged by the time I try to use the printer again. With disposable inkjets being a $50-a-pop proposition, my last replacement was one of those $200 (after $350 instant rebate) color laser printers I saw on liquidation last year. By now, it has certainly paid for itself a few times over and I am only about half-way through the OEM toners.

            Right now, I am wondering if I
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Tunfisch (938605)
      Since dreaming costs no money... what about having HP, Epson, Canon and name-another join together to deliver an open standard on Ink cartdriges?

      Or have the prices sunken so badly that there is no point of return anymore to selling hardware at its price?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Splab (574204)
        The lose money on the printer and earn it all on cartridges. How big do you think the chances are for them to make an open standard and thus lower their income?
        • by click2005 (921437)
          Also, to increase their income, I'm sure they'll find a way to make old cartridges 'expire' after a short time. It will be done for consumers of course. Inks fade & change colour so to always get maximum quality from your printer, only use fresh cartridges.

    • Good catch. Nobody is selling multiple copies of what they only purchased once. This is like Ford suing Chevy for "pirating" the 64.5 Mustang into the Camaro.
  • Anti trust? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mrjb (547783) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @05:16AM (#19705105)
    Is this even legal?
    • Re:Anti trust? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Yvanhoe (564877) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @07:09AM (#19705607) Journal
      Anyway, reverse engineering for compatibility purpose is protected by law in several European countries but you know, when we try to make a law to force compatibility between devices, this is dubbed a "anti-iPod, anti-Apple" law...
    • by hey! (33014)
      It's as good as legal if the DOJ doesn't care.
    • Yes its legal, its no different than Gillette selling razors cheaply and then making it up with the razor blades that only work for your specific model razor. Its amazing how riled up everyone here gets and apparently the sky is falling, when this type of business model has been around for over 70 years.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 01, 2007 @05:18AM (#19705109)
    Decided to buy a different printer.
  • by saibot834 (1061528) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @05:20AM (#19705115) Homepage
    It is Defective by Design [defectivebydesign.org]. Don't buy this stuff
    • by flynns (639641)
      How in the heck is this off topic? It's true...
    • He hit the damned nail on the head, you idiot anonymous mod. How is this NOT "digital rights management"?

      This firm has designed hardware/firmware that would let printer manufacturers digitally restrict your use of their product, i.e. the printer, by preventing OEMs from making alternative cartridges and you from having choices. Isn't that rights management? If a competitor actually succeeded in creating a knockoff, you'd see a repeat of the stunt Lexmark pulled with toner cartridges: they'd sue in court under the provisions of the DMCA. In this case, this sleazebag Cryptography Research would no doubt jump in with a patent infringement suit, as well.

      It's bad enough that average people are such a complete disappointment; when I see people here mod like that, even Slashdot disappoints me.
      • I thought that Digital Rights Management has a remote authentication system, where a company's remote server and a device exchanges keys and can revoke them. This system appears to be self-contained between printer and cartridge, so it's just a copy protection system.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ScrewMaster (602015)
          Digital Rights Management does not intrinsically require remote authentication: DRM is simply a technological measure intended to limit the customer's use of a product. Copy protection is just one form of DRM, and it's been around for a long time. Interestingly, HP printer drivers have already been caught phoning home (for what purpose I don't know) so it's not hard to imagine printer vendors eventually requiring remote "activation" of cartridges. Maybe they already do, for all I know. My own printer predat
  • thus requiring a would-be hacker to break every successive cartridge's code to make use of the cartridge

    Or they go out and buy a laser and give the finger to printer manufacturers.
    • Or they go out and buy a laser and give the finger to printer manufacturers.

      Yeah! Let's zap those evil printer manufacturers and zap them with laserbeams!
  • misquoted (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BiggerIsBetter (682164) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @05:29AM (#19705153)

    The company's chips use cryptography designed to make it harder for customers to use off-brand and counterfeit cartridges.

    Fixed that for you.

  • by jombeewoof (1107009) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @05:29AM (#19705155) Homepage
    Sounds like business as usual here in the Corporate States of Amerika.
    That's like saying I can only use Dodge Brand gas in my car, and my wife could only use Toyota.

  • by haakondahl (893488) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @05:36AM (#19705179)
    I hope any printer manufacturer engaging in this sort of anti-competitive skullduggery is punished HARD in the marketplace. I do not want the manufacturer of anything I buy encrypting it so that I cannot use MY possession as I wish. With all due respect to the special problem of digitized Intellectual Property and other reproducibles, I do not want my car-maker to lock me into only using their strangely constructed non-interchangeable tires and wheels UNLESS as in the case of say, a Corvette or other exotic, there is a compelling QUALITY interest.

    I bought an EPSON CX 5200 and it turned out to be a lemon. There was no fix, no refund, it just sucked after about a year. It was a hundred-dollar Jackson Pollock(sp?) machine, and the reason was that the experimental ink cartridge design was crap. My printer would work just fine if the business model were not to use cheap printers to lock you into expensive ink cartridges. My printer would print, if that were the goal of the printer-makers.

    I will never buy another EPSON, and I'm glad to say so to so many people. Unless, of course, they were to come out against this encryption nonsense.
    • Trouble is you quite soon run out of things to buy - I personally will never buy another HP, because of their crap software, so I'm currently using Epson ... but if I give up on Epson what's left?
      • I personally will never buy another HP, because of their crap software, so I'm currently using Epson ... but if I give up on Epson what's left?

        Cannon, Xerox, IBM, Kodak,...

        I personally will never buy another HP, because of their crap software

        Don't use their software. I use Gimp and Ghostscript. Check the hardware compatibility list. All in one units and many scanners are doorstops as in the days of Winmodems.

      • My next printer will be a laser. Switch on, print, switch off.

        Right now my Epson is more: "Print test page to see if it's going to work, spend twenty minutes wasting paper and squirting expensive ink into a sponge just to get it flowing, finally get to print a page."

        I don't need the hassle. I don't need the expense.

        A color laser printer costs about $300 and will print thousands of pages with the included toner. If I need to print photos the print shop 50 yards from here will do a better job then my inkjet f
  • I'd like to know how this would square up with the EU electronic waste directive which imposes on manufacturers the cost of disposing of waste electronics. Surely such a chip would increase the cost to the manufacturer thus making it less economically attractive?

    It's also possible that putting chips in disposable consumables such as printer cartridges is illegal in the EU - I recall some discussion about this during the Lexmark fiasco a few years ago.
    • by pipatron (966506)
      Don't worry, they can call RIAA and ask them to buy some more EU laws. RIAA get the bulk/wholesale price.
      • by Winckle (870180)
        The Recording Industry Association Of America have no cause to purchase EU laws.
        Perhaps the BPI, or its international counterpart might.
        • by pipatron (966506)

          They have a lot of cause to purchase laws all over the world, since a copy made in EU is as much "damage" to them as a copy made in the US. The raid on The Pirate Bay would not have happened unless MPAA would have pushed, which is well documented and something that MPAA even boasts about.

          Here is their problem. Their business idea relies on the rest of the world to do exactly as they are being told.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by steve86-ed (469774)
      You should be mailing your old cartridges back to the manufacturer. It's free, easy and they recycle them. Printer cartridges disposal isn't regulated in the US because the manufactures here have been responsible so far by providing this service.

      You could also just reuse them, using off the shelf refill kits, but it's not going to be the same ink your printer prefers, so it's not going to have the same drying speed, and possible not the exact color, but in most cases, this is more than adequate.

      Btw, I see
    • I'm afraid not: many manufacturers already put electronics in the cartridges, to report on remaining ink levels, type of ink, etc. I can't see how expanding the capabilities of that chip a bit would lead to additional physical wastee. It's likely to be only a fiscal cost of manufacturing, not of disposal.
  • i'll stick to my dot matrix thanks. lets seen them DRM that shit.
  • There are plenty of printers and manufacturers out there. All you've got to do is check out the cost per page.

     
  • by eebra82 (907996) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @05:55AM (#19705263) Homepage
    Here we go again. "Official" printer ink is more expensive than heroin, but instead of competitive pricing, they go hand in hand with RIAA's marketing folks (read: more competition equals pricier products).

    If they had ink cartridges with aggressive pricing in the first place, people would buy the factory-made ink simply because it would sound like a safe choice. At least I would.
  • When I first saw the summary, my first thought was to post a joke about, "... and after that, they're fixing DRM". But then I RTFA'd (which I for some reason do before I post) and noticed CRI will also soon debut a similar copy-protection feature for Blu-ray video discs. So, other than getting a method of circumventing this printer technology (which presumably has value) posted on the Internet, would this have any effect? Somehow, I cannot get my head around whatever technology they are selling.

    Oh, but

  • by im just cannonfodder (1089055) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @06:17AM (#19705381) Homepage
    http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070628-cryp tography-company-develops-chip-to-lock-out-third-p arty-ink-jet-cartridges.html [arstechnica.com]
    Cryptography Research Inc are also working on blu-ray BD+, the security on new blu-ray discs that will have features like:

    1: expiring discs. so the media you own will need continued licence renewals to enable you to use it.
    2: the ability for studios to remote disable drives permanently if yours or a line is found to be hacked/venerable.
    3. usage reports to the studios of your hardware, including your location and serial number used in the fight against piracy.

    http://yahoo.businessweek.com/technology/content/m ay2006/tc20060526_680075.htm [businessweek.com]
    http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070620-blu- ray-content-protection-agency-certifies-bd.html [arstechnica.com]
  • When printers are practically given away for thirty and forty dollars, yet the ink cartridges cost eighty to a hundred dollars or more, it's blatantly obvious to anyone who cares to look that it's a racket. They're merely trying to regain the stranglehold they once had before others began to manufacture compatible cartridges of comparable quality at a reasonable market price. This is why I have a laser printer. The initial cost is relatively higher but the cost of replacing cartridges, their lifespan, and
  • by what about (730877) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @06:25AM (#19705419) Homepage

    From the customer point of view, it is not silly, can be called wasteful, but it is economic sound

    This is what I did when the four cartridges for my laserjet 2600n did cost more than a new printer

    Really, I did buy a second printer since overall I was saving 50Euros over buying the for cartridges...

    When they run out I will buy something else (more linux compatible)

    What makes me sad is that it is quite difficult for manufactures to actually "convince" a customer that a more expensive printer with a cheaper "refill" is worthwhile.

    Maybe they should have a simple page that says "total costo over a year", where you input how many pages you plan to print and it will compare a printer against the others. This would be good for the environment, and the customers, less for sneaky companies that tends to mess up with advertising

    • by niceone (992278) *
      What makes me sad is that it is quite difficult for manufactures to actually "convince" a customer that a more expensive printer with a cheaper "refill" is worthwhile.

      This is exactly the problem and I think it's human nature to go for the short term cheapest and to hell with the long term cost. There's nothing the printer manufacturers can do unless they form a cartel and agree not to sell their printers below cost.
    • by Technician (215283) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @08:43AM (#19706101)
      Maybe they should have a simple page that says "total costo over a year", where you input how many pages you plan to print and it will compare a printer against the others.

      The manufactures fudge the numbers if they are published at all. Case in point, my old HP 722c printer used a large color cartridge. They came out with a newer 950c printer. You had a choice of the half full cartridge (at the same price point as the old 722 cart) or the high capacity cart for almost double the price. They touted the new cart as a bargain because it printed oh so many more pages and at higher quality.

      I checked online... The first thing I noticed in the fine print is the comparison of apples and oranges.

      The page count for the 722c printer is based on 15% page coverage. The page count for the 950c cart is based on 5% page coverage.

      It's not that hard to adjust the 722c's page count based on using 1/3rd the ink for 5% coverage instead of 15% coverage. If I didn't pay attention to the details, I may have missed it. Needless to say, the newer 950c became a spare printer while I ran the 722c to the point the belt broke. The replacement belt is under the price of one cart for the 950c. My only problem is the color carts for the 722 are getting harder to find.

      Due to the price of ink and the reduced price of photo prints, I no longer print photos at home. The printer manufactures have priced themselves out of the market and left the market wide open for photofnishers to take the market. With all the digital cameras out there, the printer manufactures are leaving lots of ink and photo paper unsold.

      With the high cost of ink, many are very stingy with full color prints.
  • by QuatermassX (808146) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @06:34AM (#19705451) Homepage

    I really don't understand the economics and consumer dynamics around the printer market these days. Surely printer technology has reached a plateau for most normal people? Is that why some corporate madman decided to adopt a blades and razors approach to the consumer printing market? I know it's been a fixture of the corporate colour copier / printer market for a long while now ... but ... why not just charge the correct price for the printer and the consumables?

    A what the hell are people printing so damn much of that the consumables business is sooooo lucrative?

    I've never been all that into generating large reams of paper at home. For my day job, I print documentation, reports, manuscripts, etc at the office and lug it home when I want a hard copy of something I'm editing online.

    For my photography, I send files to a lab and have my images printed. I've considered printing at home - but I would expect archival inks and decent papers to be pricey. I really don't know why I'd want to keep a printer in a corner of my room waiting for those three or four colour 4x5's that I just HAVE to print then and there - and which can't wait for Apple / Kodak / Peak Imaging to deliver to my door in a couple of days. Surely iPhoto or Picasa is a hell of a lot simpler than fiddling with inkjet printers?

    When I was writing more long-form pieces, I had a Brother laser printer. Cost me $100 at the time and I could print books without running out of toner. The cartridges weren't that cheap, but it took a nice long while before I had to change them out.

    Surely it makes sense for most people just to send their photos off to be printed and to keep a cheap laser printer around for text?

    • When I was writing more long-form pieces, I had a Brother laser printer. Cost me $100 at the time and I could print books without running out of toner. The cartridges weren't that cheap, but it took a nice long while before I had to change them out.

      Either a network laser printer or a printserver makes a nice addition to a home LAN. Many printer manufactures are counting on one PC/Printer combo and for the times you need a splash of color (google maps) a color printer becomes mandantory. With network prin
  • I bought a Canon S750 about 3 years ago. It cost me a pretty penny compared to some of the cheaper models but it had the advantage of separate colour cartridges, 3rd party refill cartridges were plentiful and it was easy to refill too. So Canon got their money up front from the sale, and I saved money over the long term on ink. It's not the greatest printer for photos but the quality is just fine for every day printing. I expect I will use it as long as it works.

    I think if I had bought some cheaper printe

  • by bl8n8r (649187) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @06:47AM (#19705517)
    Why, for fucks sakes, does anyone need to print anything these days? Is emailing pictures not enough? Can you not just purchase a scanner? TEACH YOURSELF how to take advantage of technology and at least make it harder for this kind of crap to keep happening.
  • by haraldm (643017) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @06:58AM (#19705563)
    ... for the "pirates". Since this is going to make "official" ink cartridges more expensive, this will firstly raise the "pirates"' revenues, making it more rewarding to produce counterfeit cartridges to begin with. Duh. Each time in history, when something was forbidden or made illegal, the criminals made more money, like during prohibition in the 30s. As soon as the prohibition was cancelled, the alcohol mafia gangs had to look for different businesses. When will people learn.
  • by biduxe (541904)
    Ok there's something I don't get. What is exactly a counterfeit cartridge. I'm in the business for ten years and I never heard of it. What I know is:

    New genuine printer manufacturer cartridge
    Refilled genuine printer manufacturer cartridge
    Other brands compatible cartridge (new or refilled)

    So I guess a counterfeit cartridge is a cartridge manufactured by some company which brand it with the name of another company for the purpose of ripping off the consumer.

    Well that's something I never saw in my career, and
  • The more they push ink lock-in with the excessive pricing and having false-negatives with "real" ink cartridges, the more people are going to get fed up with this. Some bright company will come up with the innovative idea of charging real prices for the printers and real prices for the ink (yes, it would take a while for -that- to catch on). Also, laser printers are starting to get real cheap (compared to the past). Methinks that most people use color printing for either work or for printing pictures; we
  • Pirate = Terrorist (Score:2, Informative)

    by FranTaylor (164577)
    "Pirate" is the new inflammatory word used by tech writers these days to invoke passion and get page clicks.

    Just like "terrorist", it has a fuzzy meaning and can be abused to no end.

    I tried several times in private email to get the author of this piece to define the word "pirate", but she would not or could not.
  • Thankfully, laser printers (even color laser printers) continue to drop in cost -- even to the point where most consumers can realistically afford one if they need it for any non-trivial amount of printing. And at least today, printers and toner cartridges aren't sold with Gillette-style pricing.
  • Am I the only person who buys anouther printer rather than catridges? We have two printers in my house a Canon i865 and whatever cheap printer I can get (usually a HP) The Canon cost something like £120 and refilling the catridges is around £6 a go. The sad thing is if we actually compare the total cost of the cannon over the last three years against my habit of buying a new £30 printer (with free ink catridges) The new printer every 12-15 months is still slightly ahead.



    When you discov
  • by BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @08:08AM (#19705845) Journal
    Printer Companies are getting worse at this. My Canon Laser Printer locked up because the 'toner had exceeded it's lifetime'. Note the weasel words. Quite different from being out of toner! I had been using Toner Saver mode so expected a higher page couut, but nope, after I printed the predetermined number of pages it went into lockdown and refused to print anything more. The cartridge still has toner in it, a fair bit by the sounds of it, but a smartchip detects it being reinserted. Buy a new one. Others report on the web that Canon cartridges typically have 10-20% toner in them when they "reach their lifetime."

    The message claims that continuing to use the printer would damage it. Rubbish. Remember laser printers and photo copies before the DMCA allowed this smart chip chikanery? They'd get faint, and you'd replace the toner, and all would be ok.

    Will your printer do this? It's hard to tell, because reviewers don't print enough pages to find out. This isn't declared anywhere on the advertising material. It's unethical on Canon's part, and should be illegal. But as we saw with the Sony Rootkit, big companies can break the law on a whim and not get prosecuted.
  • by Qbertino (265505) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @08:11AM (#19705861)
    Could we please drop the phrase 'printer-ink piracy' and the concept of whatever the f*ck it's supposed to mean right now! Thank you.
  • As usual when some company makes a crypto press-release.

    CRI also said that the chip will be designed that so large portions of it will have no decipherable structure,

    That happens to be impossible. It is a direct lie.

    'You can see 95 percent of the [chip's] grid and you still don't know how it works,'

    So what? Any competent attacker will see 100%. Seeing 95% is not much easier than seeing 100%. Not a lie, but active misdirection.

    So far for clueless and dishonest marketing. However it is possible to deduce how
  • imagine if... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by e**(i pi)-1 (462311) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @09:53AM (#19706529) Homepage Journal
    Imagine the gasoline type would match only your car brand. Cars would be cheap to buy but you were forced to use the manufactures gas. Thats how ridiculous the situation with the printer ink is.
  • by gelfling (6534) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @10:58AM (#19707103) Homepage Journal
    Epson and Lexmark both lost class action suits brought against them for building technical blocs in thier hardware which would lock out 3rd party ink carts. And if the printer companies think they would survive a concerted effort by Indian and Chinese vendors to replace them in the home/SOHO market they are smoking the same weed that the RIAA uses. So I say let them try. They will see that market dry up.
  • by robpoe (578975) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @11:45AM (#19707527)
    On some of the HP Lasers we have @ the office, they have a little chip affixed to the toner cartridge. If the chip isn't there, the printer won't function. Even though the cartridge is identical to one of the lesser models, you have to have the chip or the printer will NOT function.

    Our re-filler got a bunch of chips from somewhere, but none of them worked. We found that if we pulled the chip off the old toner cartridge and put it on the new one, it worked just dandy..

  • by grapeape (137008) <`moc.rr.ck' `ta' `7epopm'> on Sunday July 01, 2007 @11:46AM (#19707541) Homepage
    Kodak has priced their new printers a bit higher than the competition, but include the print head in the printer so cartridge costs are much lower ($10 black cartridge, $15 5-color cartridge). Yes the ink prices are still higher than they should be but they are much closer in line with reality.
  • by GodWasAnAlien (206300) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @11:53AM (#19707611)
    The title of the article is very wrong. Can "Piracy" be replaced with "Re-use" or Recycling?
  • by Bellum Aeternus (891584) on Sunday July 01, 2007 @05:58PM (#19710455)
    "Have to create a crack for every cartridge" - Yeah, just like crackers needed to to break the encryption on DVDs, HD-DVDs, and BluRay DVDs? You just figure out the master key for all, say..., HP printers and you've "fixed" the problem. Security like this is ridiculous. If they're so worried about it, why don't they raise the price of the printers and say "buy Brand X, we have the cheapest ink around!" and then not bother with all this FUD?

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