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OS X The Courts Apple

Mac Clone Maker Saga Ends As SCOTUS Denies Appeal 430

Posted by timothy
from the we-are-sad dept.
CWmike writes "The four-year-old saga of Psystar, a Florida Mac clone maker that was crushed by Apple, ended Monday when the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear its appeal of a lower court ruling. The decision to not consider the case (download PDF) upheld a ruling last September by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. That ruling confirmed a permanent injunction against Psystar that prevented the company from copying, using or selling OS X, and blocked it from selling machines with Apple's operating system preinstalled. 'We are sad,' said K.A.D. Camera of the Houston firm Camera & Sibley LLP, in an email reply today to a request for comment. Camera represented Psystar in its bid to get its appeal heard. 'I expect the Supreme Court will eventually take a case on this important issue.' Last year, Camera had said, 'This is far from over,' after the Ninth Circuit's decision. Apparently, it is."
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Mac Clone Maker Saga Ends As SCOTUS Denies Appeal

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  • by i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @12:39PM (#40007363) Journal
    Hackintosh efforts by hackers though. It was a noble effort Psystar!
  • Not related (Score:4, Insightful)

    by daveschroeder (516195) * on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @12:40PM (#40007375)

    Hackers/hobbyists have zero to do with a company selling a product which affirmatively violates another company's software license.

  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @12:53PM (#40007545)
    Remember that there are 200 other sovereign powers in the world besides the United States. At least one of them will understand that hardware and software are separate and distinct. That country then will be at a competitive advantage in the market. The United States is falling behind on every economic indicator regarding technology. The biggest IPO in the tech sector is a guy selling this country's citizens personal data to other corporations and countries worldwide. That is the extent of innovation in the US.

    It's just a matter of time before education becomes too expensive, there are no places left to do pure research, and there is no way for a company, individual, or organization, to market new, innovative products. Our mobile technology and infrastructure is third-world, our broadband internet lags behind every other first world country, and the only component left in your computer manufacturered in the US is the processor.

    America is dying, and it's rulings like this that are causing it. Someday, market forces will catch up with us, and this country's economy will stagnate and fail in front of the other 5 billion people on this planet who don't live with such laws.

  • Re:Not related (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Aeros (668253) on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @12:58PM (#40007605)
    Of course they have the right. It's their product. No matter how much the majority of the people hate this and have to pay a premium for their hardware products...but they do have the right to do so.
  • Re:Not related (Score:4, Insightful)

    by uniquename72 (1169497) on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @12:59PM (#40007613)

    You doubt that Apple would sue the pants off you if you did the same thing in your basement and posted instructions on a website regarding how you did it? Go ahead, try... see what happens.

    What happens? Nothing. [lmgtfy.com]

    Apple's problems wasn't that they were doing it; it's that they were selling it.

  • Re:Not related (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gnasher719 (869701) on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @01:10PM (#40007753)

    Apple's problems wasn't that they were doing it; it's that they were selling it.

    Not so much that they were selling it, but the fact that they insisted very, very loudly that they had the right to do so, and that Apple could do nothing about it. Apple really had no choice but to sue them. In the Hackintosh community, they all know that what they are doing isn't quite legal, but they also know that Apple will ignore this (since little damage is done, and there is probably a knowledgable bunch of people who will be assisting Apple's customers with problems when the need arises. I bet many Hackintosh users take their Grandma straight to the Apple Store when she needs a computer). The only thing they need to do is behave in such a way that Apple _can_ ignore them.

  • BAD DECISION (Score:1, Insightful)

    by barv (1382797) on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @01:15PM (#40007835) Journal

    Probably the crucial reason why we have small personal computers so widespread today is that Microsoft (after writing then selling IBM the IBM-DOS) then turned around and sold MS-DOS to the IBM clone makers. MS-DOS was of course written behind a firewall so as not to infringe the IBM-DOS contract. And IBM did not contest the issue, because the US trustbusters had just finished disassembling Bell into the babybells.

    So maybe not a direct steal of IOS (or OSX or whatever), but Apple should be forced to offer OSX at a "reasonable" price, and the test of similarity of appearance should be weak.

    Not that I am a fan of MS, but he was a major originator of the concept of "duplicating" OS and other software, and that turned out to benefit consumers.

  • Re:Not related (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Lunix Nutcase (1092239) on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @01:34PM (#40008179)

    This had nothing to do with the DMCA. Psystar was violating the license to the software. This is no different to a hypothetical OEM being sued by Microsoft for violating the license to their copies of Windows. First sale doctrine doesn't allow you to violate the EULA.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @01:41PM (#40008267)

    I never saw what Psystar did that was actually wrong. They bought copies of software, installed them on machines, then sold those machines. That doesn't seem so bad to me. Yes, they violated the EULA that you're only allowed to install OS X on Apple hardware, or something stupid and unconscionable like that. But I have an extremely hard time seeing EULA non-compliance as a bad thing, and I think we're collectively in a worse place for it having been successfully enforced.

    Type from my Apple-branded Mac. :-/

    Suppose I buy a retail copy of Windows and install it on, say, three PCs, which I use at my small business. Would you see anything wrong with that? After all, I paid for my Windows CD. The only thing "wrong" that I did was ignore an obscure clause in the Windows EULA that said that the particular license I paid for was only valid for a single PC.

    Is it right that Microsoft, through one sentence of legalese, should be able to arbitrarily restrict what I do with the copy of Windows that I bought and paid for? I didn't "steal" the install media. I even didn't download Windows off of a .torrent without paying. It's not as if Microsoft lost anything tangible; indeed, they received more money from me than they would if I hadn't bought that copy of Windows for those three PCs. And Microsoft's costs didn't increase one cent, either. There is absolutely no technical reason why I should not be able to do this with the product that I purchased. The only reason why that clause exists in the license is to maximize Microsoft's profit.

    Ad yet, for some reason, you probably find nothing unusual about this totally arbitrary limitation.

    Yet you get all up in arms when a different vendor places an equally arbitrary restriction on the software they distribute?

  • Re:Not related (Score:5, Insightful)

    by compro01 (777531) on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @01:41PM (#40008277)

    First sale doctrine doesn't allow you to violate the EULA.

    That's pretty much the entire bloody intent of the doctrine.

    See Bobbs-Merrill Co. v. Straus.

    "The price of this book at retail is $1 net. No dealer is licensed to sell it at a lower price, and a sale at a lower price will be treated as an infringement of the copyright" was tossed out as an invalid use of copyright. An EULA is no different.

  • Re:Not related (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bws111 (1216812) on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @02:04PM (#40008553)

    You do get something when you click "Accept", you get the ability to use the software.

    A license is not a contract. A license is pretty much a one-way document from one party granting certain permissions to a second party that otherwise they would not have. The license people are most familiar with of course is your driver license. Did you get to negotiate the rules of the road with the state when you got your driver license? Of course not - the license is a one-way document given to you by the state. Without such a license you have no permission to drive on public roads. With the license (which comes with a whole bunch of restrictions and ways the license can be revoked) you can drive on public roads.

    With software, you do not own the software (even with FOSS). Since it is not 'yours' you have no permission to do anything with it by default. If you want to use the software, you can get a license to do so. That is not a contract.

  • Re:Too bad, really (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @02:39PM (#40008955) Homepage Journal

    Stop claiming that you 'buy' a software product - you don't.

    I'll stop "claiming" that I buy copies of software when the vendors stop telling me that I do. Google for "buy windows 7 [google.com]" and see that the first links are to "Buy Windows 7 or upgrade to another edition [microsoft.com]", "Buying Windows 7: top questions [microsoft.com]", "Find great prices & selection on Microsoft Windows software; shop & buy Windows 7 Home Premium, Windows 7 Professional, & more. [amazon.com]" with a banner ad reading "Buy Windows® 7 Now - Fast, Easy Download. Official Site. [microsoftstore.com]". You're awfully certain of your specious hypothesis given that Microsoft themselves contradict you.

    Try the same experiment with "buy autocad", "buy photoshop", and... wait for it... "buy os x". None of those companies say "buy a limited, EULA-bound license to use $foo as we see fit!"

  • Re:Not related (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MightyYar (622222) on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @02:41PM (#40008987)

    But there is something very odd about a business model that becomes illegal simply by growing in market share.

    That's the norm, though. Microsoft was perfectly in the right when they would pay partner companies to be exclusive MS vendors... until they became a monopoly.

    I'd argue that Apple's model is the normal model and Microsoft's was the anomaly. The Amiga, Atari, Commodore - heck even the IBM PC prior to Compaq... all of these followed the proprietary model. Even MS follows this model in the console game market. But no one accuses the XBox360 of having a monopoly over anything.

    Finally, all of this seems to be moot now - as of Lion, it seems that Apple no longer sells standalone copies of their OS. Pystar could not exist one way or another since they wouldn't have any (legal) way to buy just the software.

  • Re:Not related (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @02:55PM (#40009135)

    So before long you're going to see guns that can only fire bullets manufactured by those licensed by the gun manufacturer, and cars that can only run on gas produced under license by the automobile's manufacturer.

    Or not, only Apple iCult victims would put up with that kind of bullshit. If you were considering buying a Chevy, and then found out it will only run on Mobil gasoline... you'd demand a refund. If they didn't give it to you, you'd point the car at the big plate-glass window in the front of the dealership, drop a brick on the gas pedal... you get the idea.

    Only people who want to use OS X would put up with this kind of nonsense. The good news is Apple ripped off almost every idea in their operating system from someone else, so you can get the same features, if not the same slick-ass star-trekkie looking interface, from other sources.

  • Re:Not related (Score:5, Insightful)

    by v1 (525388) on Tuesday May 15, 2012 @04:03PM (#40010009) Homepage Journal

    Remember when Atari tried blocking third-party software from their hardware and a judge ruled that they must allow for third-party use of their hardware?

    Hardware must allow 3rd party software to run on it. That was the Atari thing.

    Now turn that 180 degrees around with: Software must allow installation on 3rd party hardware. That was the Pystar thing.

    So they couldn't be more opposite issues if they tried. The Atari issue has no relevance whatsoever here.

    Though I don't like software licenses. But unfortunately they are currently allowed. I don't like being told what I can do with software I buy any more than being told by Ford what roads I'm allowed to drive my truck on. But right now physical goods are not so easily licensed but software is. Pretty much all software is licensed because it can be, and grants additional rights to the producers. They can either take the free cookies or not, and naturally most businesses will.

    Pystar was encouraging... no, they were instructing their customers to violate the OS X license agreement, and thus break the law. That's what got them smacked down.

    I'd like the licensability of software to be outlawed personally. IMHO it's just the producers trying to "have their cake and eat it too", they want you to pay them for something, but then not GIVE it to you (retain rights over it) because that will help them make more money off you or someone else later.

    Here, I license this cake to you for $15. But on condition that only you can eat it. If your friend is hungry, you're not allowed to give him a slice, it's not really your cake, I'm just licensing it to you. If at any time you decide you don't like those terms you can either destroy the cake or return it to me.

    Or I'll license you this wrench. You can use it forever, and I'll even let you give it away, but you can't loan it to your friend to work on his car, he'll need to license another wrench from me. Think that's funny? Talk to your mechanic about his car computer testing unit. It's already reality. And those little buggers are expensive too.

    I'm surprised that BOOKS aren't licenseable right now. There's not a lot of difference between them and software. They're both just information on media. I could totally see a society where you weren't allowed to sell a book. But already we can't copy too much of it, so we're already on the path.

    God I hate licensing.

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