Chip shortage forces Canon to sell DRM-free ink

The global semiconductor shortage is has caused a major impact on Canon’s operations, keeping the company from producing more proprietary ink cartridges. In response to this, the camera and optical products manufacturer recently announced that it would now sell DRM-free ink.

Canon’s ink cartridges use a DRM (digital rights management) chip to prevent users from using third-party ink for copy protection purposes. In addition to relaying important information such as ink level, they also confirm whether a toner cartridge is a legitimate Canon product.

According to a blog on Canon’s Australian website, the company is set to produce DRM-free ink cartridges while the shortage is still ongoing. However, there will be some minor changes to the printing process, particularly in the ancillary functions. (Read: Intel says chip shortage to last until 2023)

To ensure you enjoy a continuous and reliable supply of consumables, we have chosen to supply consumable products without the semiconductor component until normal supply resumes,” Canon stated in the blog. While there is no negative impact on print quality when using consumables without electronic components, certain ancillary functions, such as the ability to detect toner levels, may be affected.”

Such warning issues Canon might be referring to are an improper display of toner levels. In some cases, if the cartridge is full, it might show a sudden change in ink level from 100 to 0 percent and vice versa. Other issues include the printer not being able to detect the new cartridge and one of the cart colors malfunctioning. This will affect Canon’s models from the imageRunner and the imageRunner Advance range.

In order to help its customers continue using its products through the new changes, the camera maker has released step-by-step instructions on how to bypass the warnings mentioned. These include how to install the new chipless cartridges and how to replace the toner display message. In the instructions, the company suggested users should just close any warnings about the use of third-party components and follow the steps as-is.

The Canon’s Australia and New Zealand division estimates that the DRM-free toner cartridges will be available in the two countries from February 2022. Whether or not Canon’s Philippine division will do the same is as of yet unknown. However, users should take note that once the global chip supply normalizes, Canon will likely revert to its policy of disallowing third-party ink cartridges to operate on its printers.

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