back to article Apple silences Psystar's rebel yell with injunction

Apple has finally secured a permanent injunction against Hackintosh thorn-in-the-side Psystar, apparently bringing over a year and a half of litigation to an end. The injunction, granted by the US District Court for the Northern District of California, prohibits Psystar Corp from selling copies of the Mac OS or selling …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

    Seems strange

    What would the situation be like in the UK?

    You can't sell a CD album whilst stating that you can only play it on Sony C players, or BOLD3 only in Hoover washing machines.....

    How can this be any different?

    1. ThomH Silver badge

      Not that simple, I think

      I think you're looking at the litigation the wrong way round. This wasn't really whether Apple may supply a EULA but rather that, given that Apple do supply a EULA, may Psystar circumvent it?

      A countersuit could enquire as to the legality of the EULA, etc, but Psystar have decided to primarily attack on an anticompetition front (ie, their case rests upon the court being willing to accept that Apple have a monopoly, ummm, if you define the relevant market to be "on products made by Apple"). I guess that's because they preinstall OS X, so even if you argue that Apple are selling a physical, tangible thing rather than a licence with a means to access the licensed material, Psystar were both breaking the licence and duplicating the contents of the thing to another physical carrier.

      I would imagine, at a complete guess, that the issue with an attempt to provide a Rebel EFI-type piece of software are that OS X checks for certain trademarks held by Apple in various identifier strings and suchlike, so reproducing those is in breach of intellectual property law. Which is much the same way that Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft, etc are able to legally lock third parties out of independently publishing software for their videogame platforms, albeit the other way around in terms of what checks what.

      Disclaimer: this post is 90% speculation.

    2. Gulfie

      ... here we go again

      You don't purchase the software, you purchase the physical media, packaging and the right to use the software within the terms of the licence. The purchase of music is different in that you buy a copy of the music, not the right to listen to the music.

      Think of it like Kindle. If you buy a physical book, that is yours to do with as you wish. If you have a Kindle and purchase a book on it, what you've actually done is purchase the right to read the book, not the computer files that make up the book - to which you have no rights.

      Of couse Apple won't bother pursuing individuals who create Hackintoshes for their own purposes but it will pursue people who try to make a business out of putting together generic hardware and a Mac OS X licence.

      I wonder where Apple will turn their attention to next?

    3. Doc Spock


      The situation is even more clear-cut in the UK. Software use must comply with any associated licence (e.g. EULA). See - about halfway down: "Copying or adaptation necessary for lawful use that is not prohibited by the licence agreement" (the copying refers to installing the software from the CD/DVD).

      If it were possible to sell a CD that would only play in a Sony CD Player, then there is nothing in law that would prevent you from doing it. Similarly with your other example. However, if Sony CD Players only played Sony CDs, then you may have a case (cf. the replacement inkjet cartridge stuff a few years back). Of course, Apple does not prevent you from using other operating systems with its hardware.

    4. Michael Brown

      Not strange at all

      It is so very, very different. The analogies you suggested are not remotely similar. A correct analogy would be that Sony sells PS3 games that only play on a PS3. If someone were to sell a product that allowed you to play PS3 games on a different console or on a PC then Sony would take them to court, and win (as they have done with similar cases in the past). OS X is sold as part an parcel of an Apple computer. Apple makes OS X in order to give their computers a unique selling point, not to sell as a product in itself. It is only sold separately to enable existing Apple Mac owners to upgrade their existing version of OS X (and whether the install disc allows a full install or not is irrelevant). Apple make OS X and they are entitled to do whatever they like with it. They are not, and cannot be, under any obligation to make it available for other hardware, just as Sony is under no obligation to make PS3 games work on any other hardware, or Tom Tom is under any obligation to make it's software available to run on Garmin GPS devices.

    5. Lance 3

      No different

      Try to change the OS on your phone. Try to change the OS on the PS3. Try it on an Xbox. Try it on your car.

  2. jon 44

    PC Clones

    Apple clones vs PC clones... what's the difference? (for those young'uns, that was the computer war in the early 80s, PC cloning and chip clones that is)

    As for Psystar, surely all they are doing is adding a OSX compatible EFI module/firmware to intel kit? what's illegal about that?

    1. ThomH Silver badge

      The difference is...

      ... the OS that sits on a PC doesn't attempt to check that the machine is a genuine IBM. Therefore the machine doesn't have to pretend to be a genuine IBM and it doesn't have to modify the OS not to check.

      The IBM PC was all off-the-shelf components except for the BIOS, so cloning the PC was just a matter of taking the publicly available BIOS spec and reimplementing it. Provided that no reference was made to the actual original BIOS code, that produced no intellectual property infringement.

    2. Michael C

      What's illegal... not adding the EFI, it's the fact they're using "upgrade" copies of OSX on machines that do not have existing OEM licenses.

      That they are doing is equally as illegal as letting people take an existing OEM copy of Windows and move it to new PC hardware. They are specifically marketing that this is what they do, wether or not they personally install it. It;s like selling the Windows 7 Anytime Upgrade for Ultimate on a new PC without an OS...

      Also, It also places Apple support to be responsible for the software support for the apps that come with OS X, at least, up until a point that they determine it is not apple hardware. Heavier loads on their update services for unpurchased OS copies, strings of forum questions, irritated users who might not be fully aware apple did not supprot the product they bought, and lessend quality of operation (the Psystar machines are buggy and do not include full OS X functionality or performance, nor does it include iLife (which is yet another "upgrade" version).

    3. Joe Ragosta

      What's wrong with it?

      "As for Psystar, surely all they are doing is adding a OSX compatible EFI module/firmware to intel kit? what's illegal about that?"

      Please read the judge's decision. Your question has been answered in detail - the fact that you haven't taken the time to educate yourself on the matter is your problem.

  3. MacRat
    Gates Horns

    The source?

    Now do we get to find out who funded them?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Jobs Horns

      Now do we get to find out who funded them?

      Apple - bit of self generated publicity.

      Notice PearC is still selling Mac clones and because of German law Apple can't touch them.

      1. RTNavy


        Apparently, in Germany the EULA only applies if it can be seen/read before the purchase is complete.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    Sometimes the US justice system works flawlessly. The only regret is we might never get to find out who was behind Psystar.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Black Helicopters

      Who funded Psystar?

      Steve Jobs. Everyone know that.

  5. James Robertson 2

    its not a CD

    You buy a CD on the understanding that you CAN play it on any CD player.

    You buy OSX on the understanding that your CAN ONLY play it on a Mac. Don't see the problem if you don't want to use it on an Apple, buy a PC and run Windows or Linix.

  6. Gil Grissum


    And that brings to a close the sad chapter of, "Why install Mac OS on a PC that isn't Apple"? Psystar couldn't have really thought they'd win this one. They didn't have any legal legs to stand on. And they thought Apple would allow them to keep selling REBEL EFI? NOT.

    "and now back to our regularly scheduled program, already in progress"....

  7. JaitcH

    Easy to beat - new company

    The people behind the errant company need only to set up a new company and Apple has to start all over again.

    There are plenty of countries where you could sell the kit legally.

    Tell me: why does anyone want an Apple THAT badly?

  8. blackworx

    Apparently I *do* need a gun

    For whoever wrote that sub.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Four legs good, two legs better.

  10. Martin Usher

    On the subject of PC BIOSes

    IBM published both the specification and the source code so early clone makers copied the code verbatim. IBM saw what was going on and made heavy with the lawyers (actually they were a lot nicer about it than Apple) sparking a furious rewrite of the BIOS by klone makers. These interim BIOSes were for the most part pretty awful and the result was ongoing compatibility issues as software writers had exploited not only the BIOS API but its bugs.

    You can't copy code. And much as I'd like to run OS-X on a PC I know that if I buy a copy of OS-X its sold to be used with Apple's hardware says so on the box.....

    (If I were Pystar I'd leak their EFI onto the 'net.....think of it as the ultimate Apple virus....)

    1. Gulfie
      Thumb Up

      Leak EFI?

      When Psystar first launched their Mac clones it was pointed out that they were using open source code, from a third party, without attribution. That source code specifically prohibited commercial use. So the EFI is already public domain and was long before Psystar started using it.

      In addition, there are other, easier ways to run OS X on generic hardware, albeit at a cost. The Register have even reviewed the product:

      This is on sale in the China, Germany, Japan, Malaysia, Switzerland, Taiwan, Ukraine and the USA. It implements EFI, which in simple terms is an alternative to the standard BIOS - Apple hardware uses EFI instead of BIOS. It isn't clear from their own site what specifically they have done to support OS X, and the hardware support is limited, but it works well (no patching required) and allows full, reliable use of OS X Software Update as well.

  11. Penti

    Who cares?

    Who cares?

    They don't even need to sue Psystar because informed users know that it is just a scam anyway. It baffeles me to see people who are willing to buy scam products and slow unsupported hardware that's no faster to run OS X on, costing as much as a mac. Psystar sold virtually no computers. If people want to run a unsupported hackintosh then they better do it themselves without no EFI-X, Rebel EFI or complete bullshit system. It's not just about implementing UEFI. Plenty of x86 products have UEFI firmware, in fact Phoenix/AWARD no longer develops their BIOS-firmware, AMI is moving to theirs EFI-firmware too. But you can't just install OS X on a UEFI-firmware PC. UEFI-firmwares has BIOS-support added on top of it just like bootcamp so it won't be much besides it soon.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021