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Psystar Loses Appeal In Apple Case 258

The dispute between Mac cloner Psystar and Apple has been a long and twisty one; now, reader UnknowingFool writes that "Last week, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled mostly against Psystar in their appeal of their case with Apple. The Court found for Apple in that they did not misuse copyright by having conditions in the OS X license. Psystar won on one point in which some of the court orders should have not been sealed."
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Psystar Loses Appeal In Apple Case

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  • by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Sunday October 02, 2011 @01:35PM (#37584042)

    It's not too bad - what do you think would happen to Linux's GPL if the court had ruled that all you have to do to ignore the distribution license is buy it from someone else? You can't just buy a copy of an OS, make a copy, and then sell the copy. For that you need a license. In the case of Apple, they obviously won't give Pystar a license. In the case of Linux, the GPL allows you to do this - but then you need to provide the source in a reasonable way.

  • by EdZ ( 755139 ) on Sunday October 02, 2011 @01:43PM (#37584084)

    You can't just buy a copy of an OS, make a copy, and then sell the copy.

    As I understand it, this would only apply in Pystar's case if "installing OS X from it's original media" counts as "making a copy". IIRC, they purchased install media from Apple, installed it to non-apple hardware, then sold the hardware and the install media together.
    So far as I can tell, selling the bare system, the install media, and the method of installation alltogether as a bundle should be A-OK (install media under first-sale), but pre-installing it then selling the same thing is somehow doubleplusungood.

  • by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Sunday October 02, 2011 @01:52PM (#37584120)

    AFAIK this is the first instance where a court has backed Apple's ridiculous claims that they can tie the use of their OS to their hardware by simply adding a clause to their EULA. In the past it wasn't possible for the simple reason that they were using an incompatible architecture.

    I'll interpret this as I should, evidence that the justice system in the US is broken and desperately in need of reform.

  • by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Sunday October 02, 2011 @02:24PM (#37584246)

    Their activities were blatantly and obviously illegal.

    violating a licensing agreement is not "illegal"

    Their whole market was based on selling hardware to run software that wasn't licensed to run on that hardware.

    The real problem is that Apple's market is based on selling software with terms that dictate what hardware you use it with.

    What else can you SELL and then dictate how it be used to the customer? If I as a copyright holder sell you a copy of my CD do I get to dictate what brand CD player you use?

    Yet apple gets to sell software, and then dictate what brand of hardware you use it with. And if you don't do as they say, then they argue the software is "unlicensed" (since when do you need a license to use something you bought?!). By "buying" it you have the right to use it.

    But then if you install it you are making a "copy" and violating copyright law. And that makes it illegal.

    Except that you don't actually need a license to install software you bought a copy of. The act of purchasing a copy gives you the right to install it.

    You don't need an explicit license to put the software you bought on a hard drive for use, or for that copy to be copied into ram for use, or for portions to be copied into l1/l2/l3 cache for use, or for portions to be swapped out to disk during hibernation.

    So it is absolutely an abuse of copyright law to argue that the copy Psystar made to install the software is unlawful "distribution".

    That the courts went along with Apple's whole licensing installation copies farce is a tragedy.

  • by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Sunday October 02, 2011 @02:28PM (#37584274)

    I'm sure this will make those free market morons happy

    Have you ever carried on a conversation with a libertarian or an objectivist, or whomever else you might classify as a "free market moron?" They would tell you that Psystar was in the right, that Psystar was contributing in a positive way to the economy and to technology (by lowering the price of hardware needed to run Mac OS X), and that Apple is abusing the justice system by using it to attack a legitimate competitor.

  • by RotateLeftByte ( 797477 ) on Sunday October 02, 2011 @02:37PM (#37584310)

    If you install your legally bought copy of OSX on some non apple hardware then probably yes it is illegal.
      making your own hackingtosh is not going to worry Apple. The words 'small fry' come to mind.
    Paystar were trying to make a business out of it.
    That was big enough to get Apple's attention.

    In some ways this is similar to HP. you can get a 'hobby' license for VMS for free. Use that free copy of VMS on a commercial venture and the HP lawyers will be after you.

    In some ways this is similar to Oracle. you can download a copy of their RDBMS for free. Use that copy in a production environment and Oracle's lawyer will be after you.

    Notice a pattern?

  • by Telvin_3d ( 855514 ) on Sunday October 02, 2011 @02:51PM (#37584360)

    What else can you SELL and then dictate how it be used to the customer?

    Well, I'd think all software released under the GPL and similar licenses would qualify. Particularly GPL3 which was explicitly created to prevent released software from being run on non-compliant hardware. You don't like Apple restricting what hardware their software can run on? Fine, but any loss for Apple in that area is a direct blow to the enforceability of the Open Source license of your choice.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 02, 2011 @03:25PM (#37584518)

    When Snow Leopard released in 2009, you could buy both an upgrade option (~$29 and there were other assorted family packs of upgrades) and if you didn't have Leopard (10.5), there was a full version option (it was the Mac Box Set ~$169), which came with bundled with iLife and iWork since Tiger wasn't considered an upgrade option for the Snow Leopard installer. Tiger also had a full install box you could get for ~$199 back when it released a few years before.
    It has only been with the new Lion release that they've gone upgrade only.
    Your Apple history appears to be what is uninformed or is at least revisionist; you can even still get the full Snow Leopard installs off Amazon.
    Psystar was doing their bundled installs before the upgrade-only download path was put together by Apple.
    Now, I don't know if psystar was buying the Mac Box Set's or if they were just getting the $29 upgrade and selling it as 'full' . . . but I doubt it makes a difference since even the Mac Box Set wasn't intended to go on non-apple branded hardware; even with it being a full version.

  • by Zergwyn ( 514693 ) on Sunday October 02, 2011 @03:38PM (#37584586)

    To my mind, software upgrades are an economically efficient and pro-user offering. They are good for both the production and use side of the equation, allowing users to pay directly for the additional cost of development since their last version rather then all the original work and value that went into the product. They allow developers to reward their own supporters and more efficiently allocate resources. Additionally, "upgrades" should be (again, from a user perspective) simply full versions, identical, except cheaper and for existing users. This is how all commercial software I use works as well.

    However, the entire concept of upgrades depends completely on legal licensing: that I can have a clause that says "you may not use this unless you previously owned a full version". I already see a number of posts, both here on Slashdot and on other forums (such as the comments with the Ars Technica article on this story), that are enraged at the result, and that argue that Psystar was "adding value" by "lowering hardware costs". The underlying argument is that, if a piece of software is sold, that should be that. However, how do those of you who argue for that square it with upgrading? Do you simply agree with the App Store take, where upgrades don't exist at all? Or do you have some other way of squaring things away?

    As things have existed, Mac OS X offerings have all been upgrades and have been priced accordingly. There seems to be a reasonable consideration on both sides here: buyers pay less money, but in exchange have the restriction of needing to have a Mac as Apple has chosen to build their development around an integrated model. Do some of you think that such integrated models should be illegal, regardless of what benefits they offer? Should Apple be required by law to sell a "full" version of Mac OS X, and would you actually be willing to pay what that might cost (ie., if they said "full version, $400")? I'm genuinely curious about people's thoughts around this.

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982