HP’s ink DRM instructs your printer to ignore the ink in your cartridge when you cancel your subscription

See the original posting on Boing Boing

Inkjet printer manufacturers continue to pioneer imaginative ways to create real-world, desktop dystopias that make Black Mirror look optimistic by comparison: one such nightmare is HP’s “subscription” printers where a small amount of money buys you ink cartridges that continuously communicate with HP’s servers to validate that you’re still paying for your subscription, and if you cancel, the ink stops working.

HP’s argument is that it’s subsidizing the ink and you’re agreeing to this treatment in the bargain, but of course, HP isn’t “subsidizing” the ink, it’s merely charging a couple hundred percent markup, as opposed to its usual practice of charging several million percent markups (and using deceptive and illegal tactics to force you to buy ink from them, and not from their competition).

HP has been running the service since at least 2016; you choose a plan that puts a cap on the number of pages you can print in a month. You pay for that many pages no matter how many you print — and if you run out of available pages, your printer refuses to print anymore, even if you have plenty of ink to print with.

HP also requires subscribers to return their empty cartridges (they call it “recycling” but the fact that this keeps empty carts out of the hands of refillers is surely no accident).

It’s just another way that printer companies are leading the charge to erode property rights for humans by expanding property rights for corporations.

Here’s the kicker: if you cancel, your ink stops working.

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