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Running Out of Options, Psystar Challenges OS X Copyrights

Illustration for article titled Running Out of Options, Psystar Challenges OS X Copyrights

In the latest bizarre turn in a protracted, anything-goes legal battle, Psystar is basically claiming that Apple doesn't own the copyright for OS X. Sound unlikely? It probably is.

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According to court papers filed on Psystar's behalf:

Apple is prohibited from bringing action against Psystar for the alleged infringement of one or more of the plaintiff's copyrights for failure to register said copyrights with the copyright office as required.

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Not possessing having registered a copyright for the OS would make it kind of hard to enforce one, and would undermine Apple's entire suit suit.

I'm no lawyer, so I'll leave the copyright discussion to someone who knows better. But you really can't ignore the timing and circumstances of this development. Following a few notable failures in court, Psystar appears to be losing their fight against Apple, at least as long as it's framed as a copyright issue. Changing the terms, it seems, is their only option, and reeks of desperation. Not to mention the fact that it was utterly predictable. In our last Psystar update, posted before any of this happened, commenter Tim Faulkner said:

What people are ignoring is that Apple's already won. Even if Psystar can argue they have a legal right to hack Mac OS, they can't demonstrate that they have any right to distribute Apple's copyright without Apple's consent unless the antitrust claims (which they've abandoned) had merit. Even if Psystar has a right to circumvent Apple's weak protection (highly questionable), how are they going to prove they have a right to distribute Mac OS? They can't, that's impossible.

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To which redwingsmonk added:

I think the only way psystar could win this if they claim OSX was open source and they have free reign to modify the code and resell it.

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And here we are. It looks like Psystar—who is now apparently taking legal advice from anonymous Gizmodo commenters—knew that challenging Apple's copyright was pretty much their only hope. A faint hope, it's safe to say. [InformationWeek via AppleInsider]

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DISCUSSION

lachlan-hunt
lachlan.hunt

I'm no expert on US laws, but since they're buying copies of OS X from Apple, and then reselling those, rather than selling illegal copies, doesn't the first sale doctrine apply?

I thought the real problem was that they're hacking the software first, and violating the stupid DMCA's anti-circumvention laws in order to make it work on their own hardware. From what I've read on other sites, this latest claim seems to be an attempt to undermine Apple's DMCA claims. Although the whole issue is bogus, since, as other sites pointed out, Apple certainly do have copyright over the software and have even registerred it with the US copyright office.

Initially, I wanted Psystar to win this case because I think Apple's ability to prevent other hardware manufactures from running their OS is anti-competitive, and I think it's sad that Psystar have had to resort to such desperate measures.