Apple swings DMCA at Hackintosh maker
Copyright one-two punch
Just two weeks after US District Judge William Alsup threw out wannabe Mac-clone vendor Psystar's countersuit against Apple, the One True Mac-Maker has un-holstered another weapon in its campaign to crush the Florida-based upstart.
It was revealed today that Apple has amended its complaint against Psystar, first filed back on July 3, to include the accusation that the now-reeling clonemaker is in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. As reported by Computerworld, Apple's amended complaint asserts that "Defendant has illegally circumvented Apple's technological copyright-protection measures" and implemented code that "avoids, bypasses, removes, descrambles, decrypts, deactivates or impairs a technological protection measure without Apple's authority for the purpose of gaining unauthorized access to Apple's copyrighted works."
In layman's terms, Apple is now not only accusing Psystar of violating Mac OS X Leopard's EULA, but also asserting that the cloners - in cahoots with mysterious third-party "John Does" according to Apple - are doing so by hacking Apple's copyrighted software-protection schemes.
The Leopard EULA argument seems strong enough on its own, especially after Alsup issued his decision against Psystar's claim that Apple was an illegal monopoly. After all, what part of "This License allows you to install, use and run one (1) copy of the Apple Software on a single Apple-labeled computer at a time. You agree not to install, use or run the Apple Software on any non-Apple-labeled computer, or to enable others to do so" did Psystar not understand?
The amended complaint, however, adds more muscle to the mix and folds yet another wrinkle into a saga that began in April of this year when Psystar announced its OpenMac clone (hastily renamed Open to avoid trademark violations and then joined by a higher-powered version dubbed the OpenPro). Since then, the two companies' lawyers have bobbed and weaved like a pair of pugilists, suing, countersuing, and filing motion after motion in attempts to bolter their claims.
If the Apple/Psystar brawl were a prizefight, however, the referee would now step in and stop the mayhem before Psystar suffers terminal brain damage. Apparently, Apple intends to keep pounding away, if only to send a message to anyone else who might think of marketing a hackintosh that doing so might very well result in their lifeless bodies being carried from the legal ring on a stretcher, a fate that's increasingly likely to befall Psystar.
Psystar now appears to be reeling a bit. For example, their website today offers Cyber Monday® specials for the Open and Open Pro, but when you click through to their offer pages, the deals are each identified as a "Black Friday Special." Apparently, the company can no longer tell what day it is. ®
Re: Own the code, set the license
I'm thinking that the only real complaint about Apple's position is the way they exploit their Mac sheeple to purchase commodity hardware at exhorbant prices. But sheeple will be sheeple.
Mine's the Tux with apple cores in the pockets...
Just print an Apple image and tape it to the computer. Problem solved: an Apple-labeled computer!
@AC and DropDeadCriminal
"Just because you write it in a EULA does not make it legal" - agreed, and I'd like to see it discussed in court BUT the Psystar case against Apple has been thrown out so for now I guess that we're unlikely to find out if this clause can be overturned.
"Turn about - fair play?" Microsoft would not get away with adding this type of clause now because they are the dominant player in the market. Such a move would be viewed as an abuse of their dominant position. Apple do not have sufficient market share for their practices to be regarded as an abuse of position. However I suspect this would change - once their share of the enitre US market for all types of PC exceeds, say, 20% (right now I think it is 10%) then the authorities would probably be forced to think again.
For me, the best thing that can happen is for Apple to be so successful that they are forced to open up their EULA to support additional, non-Apple platforms.
EULA /= GOD
Just because you write it in a EULA does not make it legal. As seen in the Autodeak suit to prohibit the resale of its software, US citizens have the constitutional right to resell anything they purchase. Calling software leased to get around this is not likely to hold up in court. I signed no papers agreeing to the lease at “Purchase”, there is no mention of lease on the box, why is it magically there when I install it. Oh and if I try to return the product because I do not agree to the lease “sorry, no refunds”. Well if the product is leased and not purchased then I should be able to get my money back if I do not agree to the terms.
Turn about - fair play?
So if MS put a clause on Office and Windows excluding use on apple branded hardware, would everyone still be in the "It's their right" camp? They could even include some install prevention code for that added "DRM protection."