news apple scores major win in psystar case

Apple scores major win in Psystar case

Things just got ugly for Psystar. As MacWorld reports, District Judge William Alsup has ruled that the Miami-based start-up "violated Apple’s exclusive reproduction right, distribution right, and right to create derivative works" by selling unauthorized Mac clones.

Not only that, but Alsup also granted both Apple’s motion for summary judgment and Apple’s claim that Psystar "violated the anti-circumvention and anti-trafficking provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act." In the words of Groklaw, "It’s a total massacre. . . . Psystar is toast." Groklaw has posted the full text of the order here in PDF format, as well, if you want to see the carnage first-hand.

That said, MacWorld notes that Psystar filed a lawsuit against Apple in a Florida court three months ago, accusing the Mac maker of illegally tying its operating system to its hardware. Judge Alsup threw out a similar countersuit a year ago, though, and Groklaw says his latest decision doesn’t bode well for the Florida suit.

0 responses to “Apple scores major win in Psystar case

  1. Apple was founded to SELL the Apple I. They are clearly embracing their roots.

    There is nothing to stop you from running Darwin if you want to get your Apple supplied open source operating system fix.

  2. This is a real dick move by Apple. Considering Apple was founded as a “home brew” computer and the current OS is based off of an open sourced OS.

    They are clearly shunning their roots for profit.

  3. Almost all of those technologies weren’t created by Apple but Apple uses them in their systems.

  4. Grand Central Dispatch (GCD)

    “The source code for the library that provides the implementation of GCD’s services, libdispatch, was released by Apple under the Apache License on September 10, 2009. It has subsequently been ported to at least one other operating system, namely FreeBSD, and will subsequently be installed by default in FreeBSD 8.1-RELEASE.”

    Taken from:


  5. It would be even less problematic from a legal standpoint to ship the computer plus whatever installer is needed and let the customer buy OS X on their own although that would be less convenient. I’m pretty sure anyone buying a Hackintosh has a reasonable ability to follow some simple instructions. Legality under the DMCA (I think, haven’t delved in to this too much) also depends upon how the Hackintosh installer works as far as selling it commercially.

  6. here’s a solution: assemble a computer with the necessary BIOS/EFI hacks and such to install OSX. set it up with a blank hard drive, and to boot via DVDROM.

    ship the computer with OSX not installed, in full retail packaging. let the consumer do what he will with his “combo purchase.”

  7. Thank God I’m Canadian 🙂 Here in Canada, all blank recording media (CD-Rs, DVD-Rs, even cassette tapes) are subject to a “surcharge” (also known as a “tax”) that compensates artists for “illegal copying”. Since they’re being compensated for it anyway, and thus not being harmed, that means I can go ahead and copy away to my renegade little heart’s content. In which case, it’s no longer illegal, is it?

    Very curious legal system….

  8. I’ve built my own Hackintosh, but it’s not a real Mac. Especially because I built it on a AMD CPU.

    Biggest problem is drivers, and that’s where the community prevails. Even still, the drivers are very buggy.

    Had if Apple made OS X for PCs, we’d have access to better drivers I’m sure. It’s also worth to mention that, what they do Apple could stop them at any moment. It’s only under Apples good grace that nobody has stopped it.

    If Hackintosh really catches on, I’m sure Apple will put a stop to it. They’re already trying to prevent OS X from being installed on ATOM computers. Why would they do this, if they weren’t already concerned about Hackintosh?

  9. meant to be a reply to #6.

    You do realize that before Microsoft, all OSes were tied directly to specific hardware? Even MS-DOS 3.x had versions that were tied to specific hardware manufacturers. For example, MS-DOS 3.1 for Compaq would not install on an IBM PC.

    What Apple does by tying it’s OS directly to it’s hardware is not new and had been the industry standard for years.

  10. Yes, that’s what I meant–Apple loves standards because (1) they’re fairly cheap to integrate, and (2) integrating them helps them to sell more Macs at higher profits…;)

  11. Interesting suggestion. I would think that must be technically feasible, but probably more expensive than would be worthwhile.

  12. l[<]§ §[<<]§ Pretty much the only thing concrete you could say about this is that "the courts are all over the place on this issue." Even so, this was a decently high-profile case about first sale doctrine. I'd have thought you'd be up on that if you're writing about law and intellectual property rights in general. To be clear: I'm not disagreeing with your sentiment but you seem to have gotten some of your facts in your opening paragraph incorrect.

  13. Check out some of the articles about Light Peak. Basically, Apple was aware that Intel was developing that standard and Apple contributed/steered it in a certain direction for what they want to use in the future. Apple helped popularize Intel’s USB standard back in the day so Intel probably doesn’t mind working with Apple to get their newest standard out in the field at some point.

  14. I’ll note what seems to be Mac or OS X specific below:

    HTML 5
    Grand Central Dispatch – Mac only
    Light Peak

    Everything else works on a PC. You can download a Darwin ISO and install it on your PC. AAC is in iTunes for Windows. The video codec is, well, that’s everywhere that matters. HTML5 only on Mac? Eh? OpenGL, you really think that’s only on Mac? Webkit is on PC as Safari for PC but beyond that Webkit has garnered a large following everywhere; I think it’s rather popular in the mobile space. I don’t know what other “software” you think is Mac only, but it’s only Grand Central Dispatch as far as I can tell. Apple’s had a hand in a ton of open standards. TrueType fonts? Apple created those then abandoned them and MS decided to run with ’em.

    You should look up Mac stuff sometime. They’ve actually done some neat stuff.

  15. No doubt: Apple is always and primarily a hardware company for which its software functions chiefly as a dongle. Support for BootCamp is more of the same (and brilliant, if I might add.) As far as all of the software you mentioned, it’s only employed for a Mac, isn’t it?…;) (By that, I mean to sell a Mac is the only function Apple derives from supporting it.)

  16. The solution for Psystar is as simple as it is complex: develop an OS X-compatible OS from native code and sell it. I imagine that Apple would still sue, but Psystar would be on far more solid ground. Buying copies from Apple, hacking them, and then reselling them just won’t fly.

  17. “Introduction

    Although Light Peak is early in its development, Intel demonstrated a fully functional system at the 2009 Intel Developer Forum (IDF). Their demonstrations were being run on a prototype Mac Pro motherboard, using Light Peak to run two 1080p video streams, LAN networking and storage devices over a single 30 m long cable.[14] At the show, Intel claimed that Light Peak equipped systems will begin to appear in 2010.”

    §[<<]§ Its weird that intel used mac pro to demonstrate it... is the source wrong?

  18. No, the first-sale principle does not apply to software, which is almost universally licensed, not sold. Just like music; the CD you buy is for your personal use only; you do not have the right to re-sell the music itself.

    Of course, that gets us into a whole other area of law that, bluntly, just p!sses me off: if I bought a vinyl LP back in the day, and now want the CD version of the LP, under the legal principle of license, I should be able to get that CD for the cost of the CD+case+distribution (plus a reasonable mark-up) /[

  19. Seconded. People think patent law stifles innovation, but the DMCA is perhaps the most innovation-stifling piece of legislation I’ve seen in modern times.

  20. Apple makes their money on the hardware. Selling standalone copies of OS X would be incredibly stupid.

    I would hardly call Apple “closed minded”:

    HTML 5
    Grand Central Dispatch
    Light Peak

  21. It seems that Psystar screwed up their “first sale doctrine” defense by modifying Apple’s copyright-protected software before reselling it.

  22. A slightly less fundamental principle than the first sale doctrine, assuming your principle is even one. Which I doubt.

  23. Huh .. Hope? Psystar stole this technology from the OSX86 community and they were selling it. With or without them, the osx86 will still be the same and hackintoshes will still prevail. They did not invent Hackintoshes. IMO, It is good that they are out.

  24. And so ends any hope of having Mac OS X on PCs.

    Good news is that Windows 7 stole some ideas from Mac, and it’s actually a decent OS.

  25. I fear someday Wal-Mart will patent a method of feeding oxygen to the body by means of using lungs to breath in and out.

    I know that we feel we need all these copyright and patent laws, but seriously I think it will are far to free in giving them out to companies.

    Read “Against Intellectual Property” by Boldrin and Levine.

  26. Very well put. But does that not disturb you that an item (as that’s what it really is digital, analogue or whatever) you purchased, so therefore you own, is not really yours to own. It is almost like renting for as long as you live. But should you die or decide you want to pass it on, your forbidden.

  27. I saw this coming and I see no problem with it.

    Besides, I doubt apple wants to let people make their own computers. That would mean they would have to support them and supporting every combination of hardware is a lot of work.

  28. The biggest problem is that people buying this can be confused and ending calling apple for support if something goes wrong, which I think is very valid reason to apple not wanting custom hardware running its OS.

  29. You would think for an OS’s creator, people not building computers for it would be a major loss…

    What kind of world do we live in where:
    Apple is inside the box, closed minded
    Micrsoft is outside the box, open minded

    …oh yea, the same world we’ve always lived in, made up of marketing lies rather than the truth of information.

  30. So when you buy an MP3 you should have the right to play it in your club for your audience? There is a fundamental difference between software and toasters and so you simply don’t have the right to do whatever you please with it. The reason most people don’t care about the rights of authors of original works is because most people don’t own any rights to original intellectual works. Apple has the right to do whatever it pleases with it’s software. We don’t.

  31. When you buy a toaster, you have the right to do what ever you want with it, such as heating any brand of bread, or selling it on to whoever you want.

    When Psystar buys a copy of OS X, can they not install it on any PC they want? Or resell it in any condition to buyers? When they sold a copy to a new owner, they lost the right to tell the new owner how to use it.

  32. The judge has simply re-affirmed a fundamental legal principle: that the creator of a work of art has the right to control it’s use. What’s interesting is the apparent cross-over between the world of art and the world of industrial commerce.