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Judge Orders Permanent Injunction Against Psystar 242

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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  • Live with it... (Score:3, Informative)

    by itsdapead ( 734413 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @10:29AM (#30457270)

    Every item I now produce and sell will be accompanied by an envelope only obvious once the buyer has brought it home.

    That's already the case with virtually any product more technically sophisticated than a bunch of banannas. Come to think of it, when I buy a bunch of bannanas and pay with my debit card, the checkout flashes up the mystic runes "Refer to terms." :-(

    Apple is just playing the game by the rules in force. Every other non-FOSS software house tells you what you can and can't do with "your" copy, too.

    Oh, and to be fair, the outside of the box for OS X does say quite clearly that you need a Macintosh computer to use it.

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

    by UnknowingFool ( 672806 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @10:42AM (#30457390)
    Their process involving installing OS X on a Mac Mini, then installing it onto a generic PC while replacing some system software and the bootloader. Then using the generic PC to image onto other PC machines. OS X does not run on generic PCs without replacing the bootloader at least. Many hackintosh forums describe the process.
  • Re:first sale (Score:5, Informative)

    by Theaetetus ( 590071 ) <theaetetus DOT slashdot AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @10:53AM (#30457518) Homepage Journal

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

    Instead, the case hinged upon the fact that Psystar didn't have trained monkeys sticking each separate Mac OS X disk into each machine, retarded.

    Well, no, the case hinged on the fact that Psystar loaded an image of OSX (permissible format shifting), modified the image (permissible fair use), and then copied that image (impermissible reproduction), and sold the modified image (impermissible creation and distribution of a derivative work). But sure, go on believing that the judge is a moron who doesn't understand network installs, in spite of the fact that he's expressly referred to them twice in his decisions. I'm sure you know better.

  • by dbet ( 1607261 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @10:55AM (#30457566)
    Right. Their mistake was modifying OSX. I don't see what would prevent them from selling a computer, a sealed retail copy of OSX, and a short explanation of how to install it.
  • Re:Just for fun (Score:2, Informative)

    by gnasher719 ( 869701 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @11:14AM (#30457854)

    They may claim its a license but do you sign a licensing agreement at the time of the transaction? No. Do you ever sign a licensing agreement? No. If you bought the software, opened it, and refused the license would they allow you to return it? No.

    This is what happens from a legal point of view: Apple proposes to sell a box with a DVD, plus the right to install the DVD on a single Apple computer, and asks you in return for some money plus the acceptance of the software license. You either agree to this contract or you don't. If you don't, then contrary to what you claim, Apple _will_ refund your money. And contrary to what you say, signing a license agreement is not necessary; you agree to it by installing and using the software.

    Of course you could have just hopped over to groklaw.net and read the court decision, where Judge Alsup states very clearly that the license is part of the contract between Apple and their customers.

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

    by Tim C ( 15259 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @11:16AM (#30457874)

    The way this issue has been reported on in the past here, they most certainly did not do that - they supplied the modified OS X pre-installed on the machine.

  • Re:Just for fun (Score:5, Informative)

    by crmarvin42 ( 652893 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @11:24AM (#30458002)
    No, you are wrong.

    They are trying to weasel around the injuction by doing what you describe NOW, but originally they were selling PC's with OSX pre-installed. That means that Pystar was doing the illegal modification and re-distribution. The RebelEFI product they came out with recently is an attempt to shift the burden of legal responsibility to their customers.

    The legal status of RebelEFI was not decided explicitly by the courts injunction, but the Judge indicated that he doubted it would be exempt from the degree, and that Pystar proceeded with its sale at its own peril. That is because selling tools to circumvent DRM is as illegal as doing the circumvention yourself. That the RebelEFI is reported by some to be ripped off work from the Hackintosh community just makes Pystar that much more reprehensible IMO. Many can get behind the idea of "Screw the Man", but they appear to be trying to "Screw the Masses" as well.
  • Re:Just for fun (Score:3, Informative)

    by jittles ( 1613415 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @12:05PM (#30458700)

    No they will not. I dare you to buy a copy of Mac OS X from Fry's, Best Buy, or even an Apple Store and then break the seal and try to return it. They will not allow you to return open software ever. They only permit an exchange if the media is defective. That return policy is pushed on the retailers by the vendors to prevent piracy.

    Since you seem to have read the Groklaw article you'll note that the judge's order had nothing to do with licensing and everything to do with copyright and the DMCA. Allow me to quote Groklaw for you:

    [The] injunction includes forbidding Psystar from intentionally inducing, aiding, assisting, abetting, or encouraging any other person or entity to infringe plaintiff's copyrighted Mac OS X software. (Groklaw [groklaw.net] empahsis mine)

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

    by uglyduckling ( 103926 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @01:06PM (#30459668) Homepage


    This ruling is about Psystar making unauthorised derivative copies of OS X on their servers, imaging them onto machines which they sold to consumers, then chucking a retail copy of OS X in the box with the machine and presuming that would be OK. That's all. Yes, Apple doesn't want you to run OS X on machines they haven't supplied, but this lawsuit was about illegally making derivative works.

    The hypothetical situation you described isn't parallel to this. What would be parallel would be for Dell to sell a Linux box, put some Windows DLLs on there to be used with Wine, create a custom Linux distro with those DLLs on their servers, image that onto PCs they sell, then chuck a retail copy of Windows in the box with the PC. Would that be illegal - YES. Would Microsoft take them to court and win - YES.

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

    by uglyduckling ( 103926 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @01:14PM (#30459830) Homepage

    In your hypothetical scenario, Dell has a contract with Microsoft which allows them to resell Windows OEM. Presumably that contract details what Dell can and can't do with that installation prior to reselling it, such as installing updates and drivers (which, incidentally is what the whole antitrust thing is about MS was using that contract to prevent manufacturers from installing Netscape back in the day, which was deemed to be an abuse of monopoly powers, but would have been legal in a non-monopoly situation).

    Anyway... Psystar had no such contract with Apple, they were altering the OS in order for it to run on their hardware and reselling that altered OS (which is a breach of copyright) then putting a retail copy of OSX in with the shipped machine.

    Suppose I bought a million copies of the latest number 1 single, sampled it and produced a derivative work, then resold my derivative work along with a copy of the original single. Would that be legal? Absolutely not. This is no different.

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

    by UnknowingFool ( 672806 ) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @12:27PM (#30474676)

    The problem with your bike analogy is that the bike is not copyrighted. Fair use allows you to modify a copyrighted work in certain ways. First sale allows you to sell copyrighted work "as-is". Neither fair use nor first sale allows you to both modify and re-sell a copyrighted work. Copyright law specifically says only the copyright owner can allow modification and redistribution. Can you take a copyrighted song from an artist, remix it, and then re-sell it? Not without the copyright owner's permission.

    While others may use this as an attack against modders, those who mod have fair use as a defense as long as they don't change anything with a copyright and they don't sell their mods. Modders who sell their mods on ebay, craigslist are in a legal grey area as there have not been many decisions on this. Technically there is enough merit for someone to sue and they have enough defense to make it to trial.

    Where this decision is not grey is that Psystar is not a hobbyist. Psystar is a business. Psystar admitted to violating copyright laws, and provided no real defense for their actions.

"Tell the truth and run." -- Yugoslav proverb