EFF: The Worst Timeline: A Printer Company Is Putting DRM in Paper Now. “Dymo’s latest generation of desktop label printers use RFID chips to authenticate the labels that Dymo’s customers put in their printers. This lets Dymo’s products distinguish between Dymo’s official labels and third-party consumables. That way, the printers can force their owners to conduct themselves in the ways that serve the interests of Dymo’s corporate owners – even when that is to the owners’ own detriment.”
KnowTechie: Canon is encouraging printer owners to break DRM so they can use ink cartridges. “Printers that use DRM-locked ink cartridges are the worst. Many of the major brands use them, but things could be changing. Thanks to global chip shortages, Canon Germany is now offering guidance on how to break its own DRM system.”
Techdirt: Home Depot Tech Will Brick Power Tools If They’re Stolen. What Could Possibly Go Wrong? . “Thanks to internet connectivity, hardware you own can be bricked or downgraded to the point where you lose essential features. Or, just as often, obnoxious DRM means you have to jump through all kinds of bizarre hoops to actually use the thing you thought you owned, whether that’s Keurig using DRM to prevent you from using competing coffee pods, to printer manufacturers using DRM to keep you from buying cheaper cartridges. Now Home Depot is experimenting further with DRM at the point of sale.”
Motherboard: In Groundbreaking Decision, Feds Say Hacking DRM to Fix Your Electronics Is Legal. “The Librarian of Congress and US Copyright Office just proposed new rules that will give consumers and independent repair experts wide latitude to legally hack embedded software on their devices in order to repair or maintain them. This exemption to copyright law will apply to smartphones, tractors, cars, smart home appliances, and many other devices.” Yay!
EFF: Portugal Bans Use of DRM to Limit Access to Public Domain Works. “At EFF, we’ve become all too accustomed to bad news on copyright coming out of Europe, so it’s refreshing to hear that Portugal has recently passed a law on copyright that helps to strike a fairer balance between users and copyright holders on DRM. The law doesn’t abolish legal protection for DRM altogether—unfortunately, that wouldn’t be possible for Portugal to do unilaterally, because it would be inconsistent with European Union law and with the WIPO Copyright Treaty to which the EU is a signatory. However, Law No. 36/2017 of June 2, 2017, which entered into force on June 3, 2017, does grant some important new exceptions to the law’s anti-circumvention provisions, which make it easier for users to exercise their rights to access content without being treated as criminals.”
Boing Boing: US Copyright Office recommends sweeping, welcome changes to America’s DRM laws. “A new report from the US Copyright Office on Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act — a controversial law that bans breaking DRM, even for legitimate purposes — calls for sweeping, welcome changes to the DMCA.”
HP is rolling back its horrible ink cartridge firmware patch. “HP has backtracked on a software update that blocked some ink cartridges made by third parties. A controversial firmware change made earlier this month meant HP printer owners using unofficial, usually cheaper, cartridges discovered they would no longer work. A campaign calling on HP to reverse the move was launched, backed by rights group the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).”
Oh my: apparently Google Chrome has a flaw that makes it easy to download movies from places like Netflix. “For years Hollywood has waged a war on piracy, using digital rights management technologies to fight bootleggers who illegally copy movies and distribute them. For just as long, hackers have found ways to bypass these protections. Now two security researchers have found a new way, using a vulnerability in the system Google uses to stream media through its Chrome browser. They say people could exploit the flaw to save illegal copies of movies they stream on Chrome using sites like Netflix or Amazon Prime.”