Forced by shortages to sell chipless ink cartridges, Canon tells customers how to bypass DRM warnings

I have a Canon Pixma. I forget when I got it. I use 3rd party ink cartridges all the time and never have trouble.


Maybe they’re secretly environmental radicals, and the DRM is a plot to get everyone to go paperless.


If only we had some kind of government that wasn’t corrupted, they could enact regulation that prevented lock-in.

It would be almost like encouraging the holy free market thing corporate stooges keep raving about.


I got nailed by this once. Had 3rd-party ink working fine, then applied the “firmware update” and the carts were locked out. My printer is now the only thing that never gets updated, ever.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, can’t get fooled again.


I work on the Westcoast and after 3pm Pacific Fridays I can rely on my applications glitching. It’s 6 pm where my servers are “back East”. So I suppose they are just glitshn into the Sabbath.

I honestly can’t tell if this is true or a joke.

True story. The test software was hard-coded to cease working on the sabbath. We didn’t find the problem until we had to bring someone in to work the weekend and the station wouldn’t launch the test program. Resetting the date was the workaround until we fixed it. The test station manufacturer confirmed it was sabbath related.

About five years later we received a software update to allow us to test a new system. Found the same problem on the weekend shift.


They not only block non-DRM ink, but the ink is region locked and they expect you to pay for and maintain a subscription to it.

At a previous job, I had to write code to block “non-genuine” ink and region-lock it. This was for a printer whose manufacturing cost exceeded its retail price; they literally lost money on every sale and had to make it up with ink sales. That’s what it took to compete.

But it’s not true that you have to maintain an HP ink subscription. You do this only if you subscribe to the instant-ink program. You can buy regular cartridges instead.

1 Like

It’s the latter. China is really good at reverse-engineering the chemistry and chips required to make functional ink cartridges.

1 Like

I’ve got a Pixma Pro 100 that will print 13x19 photos. A set of 8 of they tiny ink cartridges (CYMK and 4 more for subtle transitions in colors and greys) costs $124. A 3d party ink seller estimates the cost per 13x19 print at $2.70 worth of ink.

The problem with even the high quality substitute ink (which you have to inject into old, original ink cartridges and use a chip resetter to reset the ink levels) is that its not nearly as color fast. I don’t really see any point in taking the trouble to print fine prints that are going to fade and/or color shift in months or years - much, much sooner than the OEM inks do.

My next printer of this size is likely to be the large version of the Epson eccotank printers, the EcoTank Photo ET-8550 All-in-One

The printer, which, inexplicably, comes with a scanner like its smaller brother, doesn’t come with a larger scanner!!! If I’m printing 13x19s Epson, don’t you think, maybe just a little, that I might also want to scan images that are the same size??? Grrrrr.


They do make scanners and OCR software…

If you know of an affordable 11x17 scanner, let me know. I do have the scanning part of this beast

but the 600 dpi spec is wishful thinking.

1 Like

If it makes anyone feel better, I use a Canon ink jet printer at work which takes ink in 5 litre jugs that cost $5000 a pop. There is one jug for each color. No matter what you have ever paid for expensive home ink jet ink, I promise you the universe folds space in front of your eyes the first time a truck rolls up with a quarter million dollars worth of Canon ink on a pallet. I am surprised they don’t ship it via armored car.

Yes these jugs of ink also use a chip, but just a plain RFID tag mainly to keep someone from putting the wrong color in the wrong place. There is no risk of using offbrand ink. Nobody makes any for this printer. It IS a superb printer. You get what you pay for.


Does this affect laser printers? I hope not because I love using my laser printer since I don’t have to waste half the toner in it the way ink jet printers do.


So, what printer brands don’t force you to use their own ink?

I don’t have a direct answer to your question, but I picked up a Brother laser printer and rarely have to replace the toner—it’s common advice. The rare times I need a color image I have it printed at Staples. Inkjets are too fickle even without DRM. The inks will dry if not used and other issues like a clogged head (or wasting ink running a cleaning cycle). This may change with a school aged kid. Even then I don’t think I’d buy something I’d want to print photographs on.


Please, whatever you do, don’t stop printing! We want you to print! So, with that said, we’re gonna show you just what assholes we’ve really been all this time. Cheerio!


When you put it that way, it makes religious rituals seem more like analog rights management tools designed to restrict believers’ behavior.


Color me impressed then (and you could do it with non-oem ink, it’s cheap enough), because the faux cartridges are pretty much an exact match except for the color of the plastic.

Normally, I’d be a bit anti Chinese counterfeiting someone’s hard work or design, but when the company being screwed is as onerous as Canon, and has such an anti-customer business model, it’s “anything goes”…

One time, I bought a computer at a major retailer and they told me that they’d throw in a printer/scanner/copier for an extra 1,000 yen (about 8 dollars at the time). I have never once used it to print or copy anything; I just use it as a scanner. Best 1,000 yen I ever spent.