HP’s Ink Subscription Has DRM That Disables Your Printer Cartridges
If you’re using an HP printer with their ink subscription service, you may encounter a frustrating issue. The service includes “dynamic security,” a form of DRM, that can disable your printer cartridges if they’re not part of HP’s program. This means you won’t be able to use third-party ink cartridges or refill your own cartridges.
Dynamic security, a form of digital rights management, aims to prevent counterfeit and unauthorized printing supplies from being used. HP’s system uses an electronic chip on their cartridges to ensure they’re genuine HP ink. When the manufacturer detects a non-HP cartridge, it triggers the “dynamic security” feature, which disables the cartridge.
This feature was initially introduced in 2016, and it caused widespread backlash from users. Many complained that it was a tactic to force customers to buy HP-branded ink exclusively, which is significantly more expensive than third-party alternatives.
Furthermore, some users have claimed that HP’s system doesn’t accurately detect counterfeit cartridges and legit third-party ones, leading to cartridges being disabled when they shouldn’t be. In these cases, users have had to contact HP customer support to re-enable their cartridges, which can be a time-consuming and frustrating experience.
In response to the backlash, HP released an optional firmware update in 2019 that disabled the “dynamic security” feature. However, the update was only available to users who opted for it, and the system remained in place for new HP printers sold after the update.
HP defends its system by saying it aims to protect its customers from counterfeit cartridges, which could damage their printers and provide lower-quality printing. In a statement regarding the DRM feature, the company said: “HP does not use dynamic security to prevent the use of refilled cartridges or cartridges manufactured by another company. In fact, many manufacturers and resellers of compatible cartridges provide their own security features.” However, the company’s implementation of “dynamic security” has caused frustration and raised concerns about the company’s control over its users’ printers. As more and more manufacturers incorporate digital rights management in their products, users will have to navigate the limitations and potential pitfalls of these systems.