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Ask OSNews: Hackintosh Legality
on Wed 30th Nov 2011 20:23 UTC
A reader asks: "Can someone comment on the legality of using my brother's old Snow Leopard DVD to install OS X? My brother has Lion, so why can't he choose to give it to me? It doesn't violate Apple's 1 license per 1 computer policy."
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EULA is (at least in part) a license
on Wed 30th Nov 2011 22:20 UTC
installing a legally purchased copy of Mac OS X on your Hackintosh does not require that you violate copyright
Copyright is a law that allows authors to restrict distribution (and in software, use) of a work. An author grants you a right by way of a license. Although EULAs haven't been in court as much as many people think, I believe (and I've studied this in detail) that a EULA is best characterized as a contract where one party grants a license in exchange for money and other aspects to an agreement.
The consequence of this is that if the contract is void, no license is granted. EULAs typically also provide that the license will not be granted, or will be revoked, in response to a breach. That, in turn, makes any duplication - including copying code to a hard drive or into memory as part of execution - to be an act of copyright infringement.
It may be impossible to enforce, but it's certainly not clear to me that installing OS X to a non-Apple branded machine would not give rise to copyright infringment (in addition to breach of contract and DMCA specific remedies.)
The real issues here (IMO) are found in competition law. Apple have so far avoided being subject to that, but success can give rise to a legal response.
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