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November 30, 2009

Mac-cloner Psystar loses Apple lawsuit

Posted: 12:02 PM ET

Apple has won its copyright-infringement claim against the Mac cloning company Psystar.

Psystar sold PCs that ran Apple's OS X software. The computers functioned essentially the same as standard Macs, but were sold for less than Apple-built machines. Psystar argued that since the OS X software was legally purchased, the right of first sale allowed them to resell the operating system on custom-built computers.

However, the courts sided with Apple (pdf), and agreed that "customers were contractually precluded from utilizing Mac OS X on any computer hardware system that was not an Apple computer system." In addition, Psystar circumvented "lock-and-key technological measures to prevent Mac OS X from operating on non-Apple computers," which violates the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

Groklaw provides analysis of the court order and concludes:

That means damages ahead for Psystar on the copyright issues just decided on summary judgment, at a minimum. The court asked for briefs on that subject. In short, Psystar is toast.

The court's message is clear: EULAs mean what they say; if you don't want to abide by its license, leave Apple's stuff alone.

Psystar, which is also fighting a second infringement case in Florida, will likely appeal the decision, but for now it looks like you Snow Leopard fans will be forced to stick with Apple-approved computers. Or build your own Hackintosh.

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Filed under: Apple • computers • online news • piracy

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dave   December 9th, 2009 1:07 pm ET

...sticking it to the man.

phil2345   December 9th, 2009 2:54 pm ET

I find it ridiculous and hypocritical that Apple can have Bootcamp load up Microsoft Windows 'legally' and Mac will not sell or allow any other company to sell a psuedo 'BootCamp' for PC to load Mac OS X...Leopard or Snow Kitty...
I am a Mac person and have been for a long time but it seems now that the hardware is non-specific to Mac (except for an EFI module on the board) especially now that Mac is using the INTEL Duo 2 core family of processors and that their Apple hardware is basically midrange PC hardware – nothing Apple about it anymore.
Intel makes their (Apples) boards and Foxxconn/Gigabyte....they make Dells boards as well....Can u say PC cause that is what a Mac has become and not even High Grade PC just mid range.
Dont get me wrong I love Apple to a point but I own PCs as well and I like both –
Apple wake up!!! Sell the Dongle for 250 – 350 dollars and you would consume a lot of the market and people could decide what OS to boot up with....can u say harmony? Software companies would profit, Apple would profit, hardware companies across the board would profit, the consumer would profit from experience and decide what they like, economy would profit.
Stop fighting – I thought the whole Idea for Apple/Mac was 'innovation '
allow us to have a say in the fight ...after all without us you would be broke.

Mike C   December 9th, 2009 3:19 pm ET

To any of the idiots who claim that Apple is making a monopoly by only selling OS X on Mac hardware – are you aware that Microsoft has in the past made countless deals with retailers forcing them to only sell computers with Windows?

On another note, many people here have said that overcharges for their hardware, but that's really not the case. Apple uses very high-end parts.

PC manufacturers tend to gear their specs towards enhancing the ones that people look for and ignoring the ones that people don't understand. For example, people look at how much RAM, but they don't look at the speed or type of the RAM. Macs usually have much faster, more advanced RAM. This include the fact that a lot of Mac RAM is ECC (Error Checking and Correcting) which makes memory more stable, but is more expensive. Macs even have custom-made RAM that is built to special heating specifications so that the fans need to work less

Macs also usually include amenities that cheap PCs don't offer. Firewire ports, back-lit keyboard and dual-touch touchpad for Macbook Pro, etc.

Michael Perata   December 9th, 2009 5:17 pm ET

"Well Psystar screwed up with the copyright infringment, but dang Apple is so self centered if they even have a lock-and-key system."

What; are you a bunch of 12 year olds who feel entitled to rip off anything you think is yours because you think it should be free.

Apple is not a monopoly; it doesn't have enough share of the personal computer market (yes, a Mac is a personal computer) to affect the entire personal computer market. What they do have is a 100% control the Mac market and they want you to pay to play.

Your choice. Buy a Mac on Apple's term or don't. You have not been given the choice by Apple.

ithappens   December 9th, 2009 9:06 pm ET

i do find it hillarious when someone tries to argue apple is more open source.

oh and that guy that suggested microsoft should do a lock and key series of PC, yes please do us all a favor and find a short pier please.

Kevin Cassidy   December 10th, 2009 8:05 am ET

Apple won, as they should have.

Joe U   December 10th, 2009 10:51 am ET

Apple runs Windows on Bootcamp... Thus 'Computers' that are not apple should be able to run Mac OS X

Thomas   December 10th, 2009 6:49 pm ET

As others have stated, Psystar being able to use OSX would be akin to demanding that I be able to use PS3 softward on a box that I created. I am sure I could get a bill of materials for a PS3, rebuild it, and if I could get my hands on a disk of the PS3 operating system, make my own PS3. It really isn't any different.

I would surmise that in the future, Apple OS releases will be only via new computer purchase and software update so that there isn't a physical copy to use in violation of the EULA.

And to anyone who says, "Apples business model is flawed. The would sell so much more of X if they did Y," is making a strange argument. Apple has among the highest market caps of all tech companies and has steadily gained marketshare in the consumer space.

I'd say their strategy has been pretty darn effective, even if I don't disagree with the way they do business.

Bill Gates   December 11th, 2009 8:53 pm ET

Well, I'm glad Apple learned from some of their mistakes.

Mac-Clone… Copyright Infringement? « Audio Technology   October 11th, 2010 2:04 pm ET

[...] the short article found here and leave a comment on whether you think the Psystar company broke copyright [...]

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