I don't think that is exactly what is going on. As I understand it, LG provides GWA drives to OEM companies for use as part of entire systems they sell. They then provide firmware updates to these OEM companies themselves. The OEM companies in turn, make the updates available to their customers. LG however, does not make firmware updates for these GWA drives available to customers directly because the drives were never intended to be used outside of the OEM systems. Some people with GWA drives that came shipped with their systems, have been able to get firmware updates from the companies they bought the systems from.
So the question is how those GWA drives ended up on the open market. From my own knowledge of other OEM parts that have turned up on the market, what happens is that OEM manufacturers sometimes end up with surplus parts. I'm not exactly sure why. I am guessing that they order extra in case of defective parts when assembling their systems. Anyway, when they are done if they find themselves with a surplus of certain parts, they just dump the parts on the open market. I myself have bought OEM sound cards and video cards that worked fine. So it is probably not LG's fault at all that these GWA drives are on the market. The problem of course, is that unlike other computer parts, these GWA drives are not the same as the standard GSA ones on the market, so you can't use the standard firmware and drivers.
LG's support for GSA drive firmware is pretty good. I have a GSA-4163B and new version of firmware are available about every two months. You just have to stay away from GWA models. This is one case where buying OEM stuff is NOT a bargain.
What I don't quite understand is why OEM companies can't just buy normal GSA drives from LG. Perhaps they wanted the drives to be extra cheap, so they asked for custom non DVD-RAM versions.