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Judge Orders Permanent Injunction Against Psystar 242

Posted by kdawson
from the not-much-wiggle-room-left dept.
AdmiralXyz writes "It appears to be the end of the road for infamous Mac clone-maker Psystar, as a federal judge has issued a permanent injunction against the company, banning it from selling its OS X-based hardware products, following November's ruling that Psystar was guilty of copyright infringement under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Specifically, Judge William Alsup's ruling prevents Psystar from 'copying, selling, offering to sell, distributing or creating derivative works of Mac OS X without authorization from Apple; circumventing any technological measure that effectively controls access Mac OS X; or doing anything to circumvent the rights held by Apple under the Copyright Act with respect to Mac OS X.' The ruling does not include Psystar's Rebel EFI software, which (in theory) allows users to boot OS X onto some Intel computers, but Alsup said that too would be unlikely to stand up in court if Apple decides to make a formal challenge."
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Judge Orders Permanent Injunction Against Psystar

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  • x86 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @08:30AM (#30456656)
    Heh. What would've happened if they weren't able to create IBM PC Clones in the '80s? Today's computing world would've looked a lot different, I suppose.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @08:37AM (#30456732)

    Every item I now produce and sell will be accompanied by an envelope only obvious once the buyer has brought it home. When the envelope is opened, it provides a series of restrictions on the person's use and re-sale of the product, not made known to them at the point of purchase.

    Because I have copyright to the designs in the product, I am (apparently) allowed to define how the product is used and sold, not just how it is copied.

    EULA ahoy!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @08:43AM (#30456788)

    The vast majority of consumers do not buy Apple machines so perhaps it does have an impact.

  • Re:Just for fun (Score:3, Insightful)

    by falcon5768 (629591) <[Falcon5768] [at] [comcast.net]> on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @08:44AM (#30456800) Journal
    Well the issue here is Micrsoft is a SOFTWARE company, not HARDWARE. Apple on the otherhand is the later. Microsoft would have a hard time proving in court that it was seriously effecting their bottom line unless only THEY made those Intel machines. Apple on the otherhand could easily show that it was since only THEY make machines that run OS X.
  • Re:Just for fun (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 644bd346996 (1012333) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @08:47AM (#30456828)

    They wouldn't be able to do that in a timely fashion without inviting several breach of contract lawsuits from OEMs that sell AMD PCs.

    And given the sizes of Intel and Microsoft, they'd get savagely beat down by antitrust regulators before AMD's lawyers could even mail their threats. (I'm not saying that the Obama administration would be quick or harsh, but Neelie Kroes would be.)

  • Re:x86 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by UnknowingFool (672806) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @09:08AM (#30457056)
    There is a difference in creating a clone and copyright infringement. Compaq created the first IBM clones by reverse engineering IBM machines. That is, the machine functioned like an IBM machine but the machine was designed and made by Compaq. It used some of the same chips as IBM but it was a Compaq creation (different MB, case, power, etc). What Psystar did would be analogous if Compaq bought an IBM PC, changed a few chips, put it in a new case, and resold it as Compaq's IBM PC.
  • Re:first sale (Score:4, Insightful)

    by UnknowingFool (672806) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @09:14AM (#30457116)

    The judge should have thrown *this* case out based upon the doctrine of first sale.

    First Sale doctrine does not allow anyone to modify and redistribute someone else's copyrighted work without permission. If Psystar sold boxes of unopened OS X and a computer with no OS and a copy of their software to install OS X onto the blank computer, it would be another matter. The fact they modified OS X to run on a generic PC means they have to get permission of the original copyright owner (Apple) before they make it a business to resell it.

  • Re:x86 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by itsdapead (734413) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @09:18AM (#30457156)

    Heh. What would've happened if they weren't able to create IBM PC Clones in the '80s? Today's computing world would've looked a lot different, I suppose.

    ...and probably a lot more healthy than the PC monoculture, with a diversity of different platforms and applications which (by necessity) exchanged data in standardized formats. The big snag of the IBM PC "standard" was that it wasn't really a standard - just a closed proprietary system that got cloned.

    Anyway, the PC clone makers did face legal challenges - but unlike Psystar they were able to prove that they'd produced a work-alike version of IBM's ROMs without infringing copyright (by using a scurpulous "clean-room" programming process). Also, Microsoft was more than happy to license them MSDOS (which always had been available as a standalone product - there were many non-PC MSDOS machines around at the time).

  • Re:first sale (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Yvan256 (722131) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @09:26AM (#30457242) Homepage Journal

    There is no doctrine of first sale since software is usually licensed. Two different things.

  • by C_Kode (102755) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @10:03AM (#30457690) Journal

    Steve Jobs should be beaten to a pulp. So many people hate Microsoft for the what they did yet are Apple fanboys at the same time whom are doing the same @#$%ing thing!

    I think Apple makes some nice products, but I absolutely despise Steve Jobs and how he has cloned Apple into Microsoft 2.0. I hope they get crushed by the EU and at some point the US for anti-competitive practices.

  • Re:Backwards.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fracai (796392) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @10:07AM (#30457752)

    Because Apple didn't tell Psystar that they could sell OS X machines as long as they didn't sell Windows or Linux machines as well. They just said, "You can't sell OS X machines."

    This has nothing to do with monopolies or anti-trust.

  • Re:Backwards.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gnasher719 (869701) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @10:19AM (#30457926)

    Wasn't the whole Microsoft thing getting fined because Microsoft were telling vendors they couldn't sell their OS if those vendors also sold Linux on the same machines? How is this any different with Apple telling vendors they can't sell OSX on machines? The judge is saying Apple can sell their OS on only their machines, while telling Microsoft they can't?

    Basic copyright law. Copyright law allows you to tell people what they can do with _your_ software. Microsoft tried to prevent people from installing Linux. Linux is not Microsoft software. Microsoft has no right to tell anyone what they can do with their Linux software. Apple told people what they can do with MacOS X, which is Apple's software. Apple has every right to tell you what you can do with Apple's software. And Apple allows and even supports installation of Windows and Linux on Apple computers.

  • Re:Just for fun (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dissy (172727) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @10:24AM (#30458004)

    Say Microsoft added a clause that Microsoft Window could _only_ be run on Intel machines. Would this ruling make it truly illegal to sell AMD machines with Windows on?

    They already do, just not exactly as you stated.

    It is already illegal to take an OEM Windows license from one PC and install it on any other PC.
    In that sense the license is definitely tied to ONE computer.

    It is a sad state of things and probably shouldn't be this way, but it has been law for long before Apple (or even Microsoft) started doing this.

  • Re:Just for fun (Score:3, Insightful)

    by John Betonschaar (178617) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @10:27AM (#30458060)

    here isn't a sole in the world who buys apple because of their great hardware

    Well I did, I bought my last 4 PC's specifically for the hardware _and_ the software.

    Clue: there's more aspects to hardware than tech specs or CPU architecture. Think esthetics, ergonomics, durability, amount of write-off on your investment over time, etc. Many of Apple's computer products have no comparable alternative from another manufacturere, there's no Mac-Mini alternative that compares to it in terms of size and features, no iMac alternative with the same specifications and ethetics, no MacBook alternative with the same build quality and multitouch features, and so on. If you don't value these things, buy something else, but don't pretend as if there's a cheaper alternative from other vendors that compares on these aspects.

  • Re:first sale (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Weezul (52464) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @10:34AM (#30458170)

    First sale clearly should allow modification of copyrighted works though. If you mod a bike, you can resell it. If you mod a MacBook, you can resell it. etc.

    You don't seem to understand that this case will be used by all manor of assholes to attack all sorts of legitimate mods, possibly even classical first sale situations like cars.

    Apple should have won the case eventually, but *only* by modifying their business practice to thoroughly avoid "selling" the OS alone. Apple cannot be compelled to sell the OS alone since they are not a monopoly, btw.

  • Re:x86 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hvm2hvm (1208954) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @10:44AM (#30458342) Homepage
    No, clearly you have no idea how idiots work
  • by bigstrat2003 (1058574) * on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @10:56AM (#30458556)
    Apple is the most evil, anti-competitive company in the industry. If the company went under today, it would only be a good thing for the world.
  • by King_TJ (85913) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @10:57AM (#30458568) Journal

    I guess I don't follow your "logic" here?

    Apple is essentially running their business the SAME way *all* personal computer businesses did back in the 1980's, before the "PC clone" became the de-facto standard machine. Many of the people I encounter who have a strong dislike of Microsoft are simply saying they hate the way the company's products homogenized everything in the personal computer world. They essentially got things to the point where you either ran Microsoft's OS and flagship applications (like Office), or else your alternatives were pretty much all non-commercial products developed by community (like Linux or BSD). These people LIKE Apple because they're the last holdout of the "old way" of selling computers, where each manufacturer had a proprietary system that they tried to enhance and prove was the "best way" to use a computer. They're pretty much the last relevant competitor to Microsoft products that goes "toe to toe" with them, claiming they offer an "easy to use" solution appropriate for anybody -- even opening hundreds of retail stores to ensure the "average Joe" can view and purchase their offerings locally (since Microsoft products had that same visibility on store shelves everywhere).

    In my mind, Apple is *far* from becoming "Microsoft 2.0". For starters, Steve Jobs has stated on multiple occasions that he has no interest in having the MOST market-share. He's not interested in playing the "grow as fast as possible, as large as possible" game. Sure, he wants Apple to be successful and its market-share to grow ... but if being the "biggest" was his true goal, why would he sit on HUGE cash reserves and not re-invest them in growing the company larger? Additionally, he's refrained from putting any type of Product Activation in any version of OS X. There's not even so much as a CD key to be entered. It simply verifies you're trying to install it on a machine Apple actually built for the purpose, and installs with no hassles. Apple is able to do that primarily because they actually sell their own computer systems, unlike Microsoft. (Hey, another difference!)

    I'm not defending Steve Jobs on a personal level. I get the idea that like many successful CEO types, he's arrogant, demanding, and tends to be rude and judgmental. (I'd also question his claimed religious beliefs, given the realities of his lifestyle and character ... but maybe that's a bit unfair, since religion is such a personal thing to begin with.) But none of that is really relevant to whether or not I think he's running his company well. I think without Steve Jobs stepping in, Apple would be dead or at best, completely irrelevant today.

  • Re:Just for fun (Score:3, Insightful)

    by The Snowman (116231) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @11:18AM (#30458880) Homepage

    So they installed OS X, then installed some updates to it. Is that really modifying OS X? Suppose Dell installs Windows on a computer, then installs a patch that overwrites a file that Microsoft distributed, then resells the computer. Did they sell a modified version of Windows? Is it a derivative work?

    If not, how is what Psystar did any different?

    Difference is, Apple is in the business of tying their products together even more closely than Microsoft could ever dream of. They have draconian licensing in place to ensure that you only use specific software on specific hardware and do not modify it. Remember, Apple is both a hardware and a software company. While Microsoft does sell hardware (e.g. mouses) they do not sell whole computers. Compared to Apple, they are actually much more permissive about what you can and cannot modify per the license agreement.

    Microsoft has agreements with companies such as Dell that do sell hardware that allow them to modify the operating system and installed software to some extent. This is how you get the mouthful "Microsoft Internet Explorer provided by Dell" in your title bar.

    Apple would never allow that -- I imagine allowing any other company to modify the MacOS operating system or their hardware would give Steve Jobs a heart attack.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @12:03PM (#30459614)

    Every time this story is posted, we hear Apple fanboys say "this isn't an EULA issue" over and over. You're like a religious zealot. Even though you know what you are saying is untrue, you post it over and over. This isn't over copyright, this is about breaking a term in the EULA.

    Follow carefully, as any one of these points alone are sufficient to show Apple to be full of shit.

    1. If it weren't for the EULA (or a pre-existing contractual arrangement), it would be possible to install this or any product on any machine and then sell that system with the original software package.

    2. The EULA is adding extra terms to the protections of copyright law. Copyright law does not cover copies made on the computer for the purposes of running that software.

    3. Installing an operating system with drivers to make it work on a particular hardware platform is not "creating a derivative work". The fact that the Judge is an idiot doesn't mean that decades of innovation in computer hardware and software have passed without anyone regarding driver installation as "creating a derivative work" of the OS.

    4. mach_kernel and various other base parts of the OS are covered by more liberal licenses than the closed source UI. Apple is welcome to _try_ to add extra restrictions to what is done with all these components - as a reading of its EULA implies - but, in doing so, it forfeits the right to distribute any of the GPL licensed software it uses. Under copyright law, not EULA.

    Fortunately, Apple hasn't done anything remarkable to enterprise or academia since pushing G5 usage for clustering over 5 years ago. They stopped showing a serious interest in openness when they closed down OpenDarwin, having used them for social bootstrapping of their OS X project. They're just a mid-range mass market consumer toy supplier and fashion accessory peddler: great for the short term profiteer, useless to the long term investor and serious user. Anyone want to buy a late 2006 iMac? It's running Windows 7, so I can actually use it, but I promise to put the original OS X back on it.

  • Re:Just for fun (Score:3, Insightful)

    by uglyduckling (103926) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @12:16PM (#30459870) Homepage
    No, Apple were arguing that it's illegal to modify someone else's software and resell the modified version, which it quite clearly is. This is nothing to do with the license and everything to do with copyright.

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