Apple has been trying to crush Psystar for over a year now. After all, the persistent company has been selling OS X clones at cheaper prices than Apple’s own designs. In doing so, it is undermining Apple’s closed box model of using software to justify hardware price markups. More recently, the company threw more dirt in Apple’s face, releasing a tool to help customers freely install OS X on any machine, something Apple has long fought against.
However, Apple has at last gained the upper hand over Psystar, delivering it a potentially fatal blow in court. In a summary judgment delivered on November 13 in a San Francisco court, Judge William Alsup ruled that Psystar infringed on Apple’s copyrights to put OS X on the unauthorized computers it built and sold. He also ruled that Psystar violates the Digital Millennium Copyright Act by circumventing Apple’s software protections that block its software from being installed on third-party hardware.
Reads the ruling, “Psystar infringed Apple’s exclusive right to create derivative works of Mac OS X. Specifically, it made three modifications: (1) replacing the Mac OS X bootloader with a different bootloader to enable an unauthorized copy of Mac OS X to run on Psystar’s computers; (2) disabling and removing Apple kernel extension files; and (3) adding non-Apple kernel extensions.”
Psystar, which is claiming Apple is misusing its copyrights, was also denied its own request for summary judgment. The company was told that it was perfectly legal for Apple to use its EULA to control what platforms its own software is allowed on.
A second hearing is scheduled for December 14 and an official trial will start January 2010. The summary judgement does deal a major blow to Psystar as it sets the mood for the trial, and may lead to Apple gaining a restraining order against Psystar’s sales. As Psystar already went bankrupt once, this could spell doom for the young company.
The ruling also is a pleasing victory for Apple as it validates its argument that it installing OS X on forbidden hardware is a violation of the DMCA. And as California, unlike most states, requires evidence to be presented before summary judgment is determined, the ruling could be viewed as more considered or binding. This could open the door to Apple being able to crack down harder on individual Hackintosh makers.
Apple recently looked to stomp out the Hackintosh community by killing support for the Intel Atom processor, effectively making its Snow Leopard and Leopard unable to be installed on netbooks. However, despite Apple’s determined efforts it can’t seem to stop fans of its operating system from freely installing OS X on a variety of systems.
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