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The Courts Apple

Psystar Crushed In Court 640

Posted by kdawson
from the no-surprises dept.
We've been following the case of Mac cloner Psystar for some time now. Apple was just handed a summary judgement over Psystar, and as usual Groklaw has the scoop. Here is the order (PDF), though PJ supplies it in text form at the link above. "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. Psystar's motion for summary judgment on trademark infringement and trade dress is denied. So is its illusory motion for copyright misuse. ... So 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." Reader UnknowingFool adds, "There are still issues to be decided but they are only Apple's allegations: breach of contract, induced breach of contract, trademark infringement, trademark dilution; trade dress infringement, state unfair competition, and common law unfair competition. Even if Psystar wins all of them, it is unlikely to help them very much."
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Psystar Crushed In Court

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  • by seanadams.com (463190) * on Saturday November 14, 2009 @04:26PM (#30100914) Homepage

    I know. They'll say, but, but, but ... what if they hadn't used the master and just used each copy, then would it work? Sons, why do you think Psystar used the master copy? Because it's a business, and in a business, efficiency is money. That's why businesses set themselves up, to make money. The whole world is not with you on a holy war to destroy EULAs and the GPL. Even this rinkydink business wanted to make money. Theoreticals belong on message boards, not in business and definitely not in courtrooms, and even on message boards, everyone told you for years that this wouldn't work out if someone tried it. It's been tried. It didn't work out. ... coming from Pamela, who revealed that Microsoft played no small role funding the SCO debacle though bogus license purchase.

    If you follow patent troll cases for example, you would know that shell business are often set up by litigants for the sole purpose of facilitating a lawsuit. Once you've acquired your defunct IP, you set up a web site to demonstrate intent to sell a product. Sure it's not strictly necessary to test the patent but it can help when it come times to assess damages, and it garners judge and jury sympathies (especially if you can get it tried in the Texas east district).

    So, who was behind Psystar? Dell perhaps? There's no chance in hell a startup box builder would go to these lengths to test a legal theory. Their vested interest in the supposed business was a pittance compared to the cost to fight this, so where'd they get the money?

    Obviously, Psystar was staged for the exclusive purpose of being sued .

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Are they going to shoot up in value in the history of computers market?
    • by causality (777677) on Saturday November 14, 2009 @04:33PM (#30100958)

      I know. They'll say, but, but, but ... what if they hadn't used the master and just used each copy, then would it work? Sons, why do you think Psystar used the master copy? Because it's a business, and in a business, efficiency is money. That's why businesses set themselves up, to make money. The whole world is not with you on a holy war to destroy EULAs and the GPL. Even this rinkydink business wanted to make money. Theoreticals belong on message boards, not in business and definitely not in courtrooms, and even on message boards, everyone told you for years that this wouldn't work out if someone tried it. It's been tried. It didn't work out. ... coming from Pamela, who revealed that Microsoft played no small role funding the SCO debacle though bogus license purchase.

      If you follow patent troll cases for example, you would know that shell business are often set up by litigants for the sole purpose of facilitating a lawsuit. Once you've acquired your defunct IP, you set up a web site to demonstrate intent to sell a product. Sure it's not strictly necessary to test the patent but it can help when it come times to assess damages, and it garners judge and jury sympathies (especially if you can get it tried in the Texas east district).

      So, who was behind Psystar? Dell perhaps? There's no chance in hell a startup box builder would go to these lengths to test a legal theory. Their vested interest in the supposed business was a pittance compared to the cost to fight this, so where'd they get the money?

      Obviously, Psystar was staged for the exclusive purpose of being sued .

      It makes you wonder. Incidentally, it's amazing how often "you're a conspiracy nut" comes from people who have no grasp of long-term strategy and really don't know the first thing about it. The person or group who works towards a goal in incremental steps (each of which has an excuse or plausible deniability) over longer periods of time is much more likely to get what they want than the person or group who goes for a short-term, win-or-lose, once-and-for-all type of showdown. That's particularly true when what they want to get is illegal, immoral, or goes against things like tradition, social convention, or public opinion. Recognizing this reality is the first step towards truly understanding business and politics.

      • by Rix (54095) on Saturday November 14, 2009 @04:44PM (#30101056)

        Psystar isn't a front for anyone. That doesn't mean they haven't been used by real players.

        The truly powerful don't need to do anything so unsubtle as conspiracy nuts like to believe. They can take existing bit players, and give them the right nudge for the same effect.

        • by causality (777677) on Saturday November 14, 2009 @05:01PM (#30101190)

          Psystar isn't a front for anyone. That doesn't mean they haven't been used by real players.

          The truly powerful don't need to do anything so unsubtle as conspiracy nuts like to believe. They can take existing bit players, and give them the right nudge for the same effect.

          That scenario would make Paystar a "useful idiot" as some call it, which provides added deniability for the people who pull the strings. That still falls under long-term strategy and plausible deniability. My observation was deliberately worded in a simple way because understanding of this topic is sorely missing in the general public. When the audience you intend to reach is unfamiliar with a topic, you don't usually start with the most advanced material.

          Things like strategy, plausible deniability, propaganda techniques, and argumentation fallacies are either not taught in the public schools or are given only the most superficial treatment. Therefore, most people either don't know about them or have no real mastery of the concepts. When they see a politician talking about an issue, they don't immediately see patterns of influence and don't ask questions like "qui bono?" That the public schools don't cover these topics is no excuse for the widespread ignorance. People generally spend far more time educating themselves about things that have much less of an impact on their lives.

          This means that the general population is easy prey for what is effectively a ruling class that does have this knowledge and is in the profession of using it. This population understands the actual realities of politics about as well as the average Roman citizen understood the intent of "bread and circus".

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by Culture20 (968837)

            "cui bono?"

            His name is Chaz now. Chaz.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Old97 (1341297)

            If it were taught in public schools then it would make such tactics a bit less effective. So, since most of the skilled practitioners of these dark arts are in power and since the "public schools" are administered by their minions, I'm not surprised that the schools are not spilling their secrets. If I knew some tricks that I could use to rip you off and/or control you and these tricks depended in part on you not knowing what they were, why would I teach them to you or even admit their existence?

            And no,

    • by jcr (53032) <jcr.mac@com> on Saturday November 14, 2009 @05:02PM (#30101196) Journal

      So, who was behind Psystar?

      If Apple prevails on the remaining issues, we might find out. If Psystar is forced into bankruptcy, their records would be among the property transferred to the receivers.

      -jcr

    • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Saturday November 14, 2009 @05:11PM (#30101270)

      Well, legally the court said in the ruling there are cases where using a master copy in the name of efficiency is acceptable. For enterprises, the use of an image to install an OS to a large numbers of computers for the sake of efficiency is fine. For example, a large company may install a volume Windows license from MS onto a bunch of computers or they may use a disc image to do an install and then replace the generic license key with a specific one after the install is over.

      Psystar's use however was not because typically enterprises have agreements with the original copyright owner to do this when they buy enterprises licenses. Apple did not sell Psystar such a license and did not grant them the authority to do so.

      Psystar bought from Apple a single OS X copy, installed it onto a Mac Mini, loaded it onto an X86 computer ("master copy"), made modifications to it, then used the master copy to install to other computers. Psystar said since they included a retail copy of an OS X DVD, this was all legal. The court however found that Psystar did not always include a copy and that even if it did, the computer copy was not always the same version of OS X as the DVD. (I think this meant the DVD was Leopard whereas the computer had Snow Leopard installed, etc).

      Even if it was the same version, fair use does not allow for anyone to make multiple, unauthorized copies as Psystar had done. Likewise if a person made a copy (even several copies) of your software, music, etc, that might be fair use. If a person made 500 copies of each, that might not be covered.

      Lastly since Psystar modified OS X to run on X86 computers, it is guilty of creating a derivative work without Apple's permission.

    • I've been through the links and it just looks like a company wanted to sell a cheap Mac clone. I don't get what one or a firm would get in setting up a clone company just to get sued by Apple.
    • How about Lawyers? If I was a corporate lawyer in need of a quick buck(or million) who wanted to invent some work for myself, I'd have a friend incorporate a startup and do something that would obviously get a huge legal force to come down on us, and collect the fruits of that labor. And who could actually pierce our corporate veil and claim that spending millions in legal defense against Apple was contrived? Quite necessary at that point. Plus, the lamest thing is even a loss in a complex case like that co
  • by javacowboy (222023) on Saturday November 14, 2009 @05:03PM (#30101208)

    All this goes to show is that, contrary to the statements of some Slashdotters, Psystar did not re-install OS X as-is. They replaced key segments, including the bootloader and kernel extensions, in order to get it to install on commodity hardware. That makes Psystar the distributors of a derivative work, thereby violating copyright laws. This is not about the EULA:

    "Psystar infringed Apple's exclusive right to create derivative works of Mac OS X," the ruling reads. "Specifically, it made three modifications: (1) replacing the Mac OS X bootloader with a different bootloader to enable an unauthorized copy of Mac OS X to run on Psystar's computers; (2) disabling and removing Apple kernel extension files; and (3) adding non-Apple kernel extensions."

    I fail to understand how Psystar is even within light years of being right on this issue.

    • by db32 (862117) on Saturday November 14, 2009 @05:30PM (#30101422) Journal
      Here...let me explain... First...get all teary...then start whining...then demand that everyone should give you what you want the way you want it because you want it to be that way. Then start stomping...screaming...crying...maybe rolling around on the floor. Basically...all you really need to do is throw a temper tantrum that would make a 2yr old proud and you will understand the entitlement mentality behind all of this. "I should get what I want, for the price I want, with the rules I want, because I want it that way." This is all driven by people who think that if they don't like the terms of an agreement that they can unilaterally alter them to meet their needs. These are the same people that dream up stupid shit ideas like "We reserve the right to alter this agreement at any time without notice" and then scream bloody murder when other like minded idiots lock them into a contract that says the same thing.

      I don't like what the RIAA is doing. I haven't bought any RIAA music in almost 10 years now. I also haven't downloaded any music. I don't try to rationalize some weird shit reason that says it is ok for me to simply take what I want because they won't offer it to me on the terms I want. The same goes for software. I VERY rarely buy software, and I pretty much restrict most of my software to F/OSS stuff. There are a few software package that I have bought, but rather than downloading, I wait for a deal where I can pay the price I want, or I find another product. It is that simple. This insane entitlement mentality is getting disgusting, and is ultimately what drives much of behavior the whiners usually throw tantrums about. Tell me that the RIAA behavior is anything other than greedy entitlement bullshit...just the same as the idiots downloading music.

      These battles are escalating battles between large groups of spoiled brats that think that they deserve whatever they demand on the terms they demand and they will go to great lengths to force their demands.
  • by ClosedSource (238333) on Saturday November 14, 2009 @05:37PM (#30101496)

    Let's see:

    Anti-SCO - check
    Anti-MS - check
    New entry Pro-Apple - check

  • by leereyno (32197) on Saturday November 14, 2009 @07:29PM (#30102370) Homepage Journal

    (I'm not familiar with the details of the Psystar case and so I don't know if this company did anything wrong or not. Neither do I really care. This post is not a defense of Psystar.)

    I cut my teeth on an Apple II+ way back when 64k was a lot of memory.

    So why don't I like Apple today?

    Because they seek to monopolize the markets created by their products.

    Many years ago I bought a Quadra 700 on the cheap because its hard drive was dead. I had a good SCSI drive that I planned to use with it. Then I found out that unless my drive came from Apple, the MacOS partitioning and filesystem tools would pretend it didn't exist. Looking for help, I received many lies from Mac fanboys about how SCSI was just an electrical standard and that the Mac SCSI devices used a different command set. That was a flat out lie that is easily falsified. That they would insult me with such an obvious canard was astonishing. If someone likes a particular product then that is fine. But when they LIE in order to promote it or to obscure its flaws, then that is just plain disgusting.

    Apple specifically created their filesystem tools to kill the 3rd party market for hard drives and other peripherals such as CDROM drives.

    This wasn't a singular example either, but part and parcel of that company's nature. I won't purchase products from a company that tries to prevent me from purchasing complimentary products from anyone else.

    Apple is continuing with this tradition today by tying their operating system to Apple branded PCs. There are people at work who use Macs and it would be nice to be able to support the platform. But doing so requires that I go out and purchase a new computer, at a significant price hike, just so I can run their operating system. If the hardware was different, such as it was back in the PowerPC or 68k days, then that would be understandable. But the hardware is not different. These are standard PCs with special hardware included that their OS searches for before it will allow itself to be installed. Same story as the hard drives with tags in the firmware.

    So I just don't buy anything from Apple. I don't buy their computers. I don't buy their MP3 players. I don't buy their phones. I avoid them. I tell anyone who asks me to do the same, and I explain why.

    If they ever change their tune and stop playing keep away, then maybe I'll reconsider. Till then they can blow me.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by pizzach (1011925)

      Apple specifically created their filesystem tools to kill the 3rd party market for hard drives and other peripherals such as CDROM drives.

      If you buy the correct brand, the part would work. For example, Pioneer DVR 115/106/107 were the correct brand in the G3 era for DVD drives. Notice how they are not "Apple" brand. Outside of stuff apple never expect most people to change, I have never had any tricky hardware problems. The worst issue I ever went through was when my B&W G3 needed firmware flashing to allow G4 processors because they were explicitly blocked. Apple seems to be particularly strict about the CPUs. Other stuff...seemed t

  • I'm confused (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris@b[ ].org ['eau' in gap]> on Saturday November 14, 2009 @08:38PM (#30102818)

    In any other case the slashdot crowd would be raging and the megacorp who crushed the small upstart's website would be hacked, but wouldn't be visible because of the simultanious DDoS attack. Only because the megacorp is Apple and the rules with them are somehow different.

    Seriously. Find me another case where Slashdot cheers a EULA being upheld. Find me another case where a DMCA attack is applauded. Listen up ya numbbuts, EULAs are always evil. The DMCA is always evil. Even when Steve Jobs is crushing a small competitor. What Pystar was doing may be illegal (I'd argue that point though) but I double dog dare any fanboy to stand up here and defend the MORAL position Apple took.

    Either what Apple sells in those boxes are full copies of OS X or they are upgrades. Apple insists they are full copies when it suits their arguments AND equally insists they are mere upgrades when they need to crush Pystar. Make up yer fracking minds.

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