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Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Saturday, December 09, 2023

The ability to change features, prices, and availability of things you've already paid for is a powerful temptation to corporations. Inkjet printers were always a sleazy business, but once these printers got directly connected to the internet, companies like HP started pushing out "security updates" that modified your printer to make it reject the third-party ink you'd paid for.

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This has been the manufacturers wet dream. The ability to lock up repair, using only their facilities to do the work. When cars first came out with computers in them, the diagnostic codes were claimed to be trademarked secrets, essentially blocking out the shade tree mechanic as well as private mechanic shops. It took congress making a law that they were not to be secret in order for private mechanic shops to continue to be in business.

The DRM digital lock, made it a crime to break the code. This was granted to the music labels to supposedly protect their products on the internet. No one dreamed it would be taken further at the time. Songs have a limited time they are property of the label. After that they become public property, with anyone being able to use them. In this the music labels and Disney got extensions on the time it was owned property to the point that nothing you hear in your lifetime will ever become public. Disney was concerned with loosing the ownership of Mickey Mouse, it became known as the Mickey Mouse law. None of these locks have an ending encoded in them. By the time they are public property the masters are usually lost. That's not an oversight.

Before the DRM was put in ink jet printers, I used to fill my own cartridges. For $20 worth of ink, I could print as much as I wanted for near 6 months, without worry about the cost of ink. Once it was locked down with DRM, the price of ink went through the roof. I got tired of the gouging and went to laser printers that the heads don't plug up on. You don't have to continually use ink to keep the heads clear, wasting yet more of it.

Keurig, the maker of the single cup coffee maker was doing good till a 3rd party came in offering coffee pods at a much cheaper price. Having their inflated coffee pod income stream threatened they went to DRM, trying to maintain their lock on the inflated prices.

Apple has done this with their products, requiring authorized service people and centers, refusing to repair any item that was serviced by unauthorized personnel. John Deere, has driven farmers bananas with the locked up DRM combines and tractors, requiring farmers to get their local service center to send a repair man to the field. The costs were absurd and any part not authorized would not work no matter who put it in without the computer authorization of a qualified service center. Often leaving farmers with fields of produce going bad because there were so few traveling service repair people. This has driven the latest 'right to repair' laws in many states that have been passed or are attempting to be passed.

#1 | Posted by BBQ at 2023-12-09 12:34 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

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