HP printers and currency anti-copying measures

HP printers and currency anti-copying measures

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From: "Richard M. Smith" <rms@computerbytesman.com>
Subject: HP printers and currency anti-copying measures
Date: Sat, 17 Jan 2004 12:10:23 -0500
X-Mailer: Microsoft Office Outlook, Build 11.0.5510


Last week, the Associated Press reported that Adobe has incorporated
anti-copying technology in their Photoshop CS software which prevents users
from opening image files of U.S. and European currency. Here's the article:

Adobe admits to currency blocker


I did some investigating on my own computer and discovered that HP has also
been shipping currency anti-copying software in their printer drives since
at least the summer of 2002. I have an HP 130 photo printer and found the
string "http://www.rulesforuse.org" embedded in the driver.

According to a few newsgroup messages posted in 2002 and 2003, folks are
seeing this URL printed out when they attempt to print images of certain
types of bills. An HP printer with this anti-copying technology only prints
out an inch of a currency image before aborting the print job.

Here is a list of HP printers which appear to have this anti-copy technology
embedded in their Windows printer drivers:

HP 130
HP 230
HP 7150
HP 7345
HP 7350
HP 7550

I suspect the list of affected HP printers is much longer.

I located these printer drivers simply by searching all files in my Windows
and Program Files directories for the string "rulesforuse". If other folks
run this same experiment, please let me know of other programs which appear
to contain currency anti-copy technology.

There are some unanswered questions raised by this quiet effort by U.S. and
European governments to turn home computers into anti-counterfeiting "cops":

1. Besides graphic programs and printer drivers, what
other kinds of software is this currency anti-copy
technology being embedded in?

2. Are companies being required to include currency
anti-copying technology in their products? If not,
what incentives are being offered to companies to
include the technology on a voluntary basis?

3. Will future versions of this technology, "phone home"
to the rulesforuse.org Web site with details about
a violation of the currency copying rules? It would
be very easy to include an email address, name of the
image file, software version number, etc. embedded in
a URL to the rulesforuse.org when a violation has been

Richard M. Smith

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