Apple outflanks Psystar in crushing legal victory?

Posted by Aharon Etengoff

Apple has finally managed to outflank Psystar after fighting a bloody and protracted legal battle against the infamous Mac clone manufacturer.

Victory came in the form of a ruling by US (Northern California) District Judge William Alsup, who determined that Psystar had infringed Apple's "exclusive right" to create derivative works of Mac OS X by replacing original files with unauthorized software.

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According to Alsup, Psystar executed three primary unlawful modifications:

  • Replacing the Mac OS X bootloader with an alternative to run unauthorized copies of Mac OS X to run on Psystar's computers.
  • Disabling and removing Apple kernel extension files.
  • Adding non-Apple kernel extensions.

"Psystar contends that this did not amount to creating a derivative work, because Apple's source code, object code, or kernel extensions were not modified. This argument is unavailing. Psystar admittedly replaced entire files within the software while copying other portions," opined Alsup. ??

Apple OS X

"This resulted in a substantial variation from the underlying copyrighted work. In fact, if the bootloader and kernel extensions added by Psystar were removed, then the operating system would not work on Psystar's computers. The inclusion of the copyrighted Mac OS X with the above-described additions and modifications makes Psystar's product an infringing, derivative work."

Unsurprisingly, Alsup's ruling against Psystar was termed a "total massacre" by Internet legal site Groklaw.

"Psystar just got what's coming to them in the California case. It's a total massacre. Psystar's first-sale defense went down in flames. Apple's motion for summary judgment on copyright infringement and DMCA violation is granted. Apple prevailed also on its motion to seal, [while] Psystar's motion for summary judgment on trademark infringement and trade dress is denied.

"So that means damages ahead for Psystar on the copyright issues just decided on summary judgment, at a minimum. In short, Psystar is toast, [their] only hope now is [the] Florida [legal system] and frankly I wouldn't bet the house on that one. 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."
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