posted by Thom Holwerda on Fri 16th Oct 2009 22:50 UTC
IconRemember the motions for a summary judgement filed by Apple and Psystar earlier this week? Large parts of them were censored per Apple's request. These censored parts detailed the protection measures Apple put in place in Leopard to prevent it from being installed on non-Apple labelled computers. Psystar filed a motion a few days ago asking the judge to uncensor the information.

Protective measures

Psystar argues that these protection measures have been detailed extensively on the internet, as well as methods to circumvent them. "The technological methods and other supposed trade secrets described in the sealed portions of Apple's motion for summary judgment have already been described in documents publicly available on the Internet," Psystar argues, "As a result, any number of publicly accessible websites describes in detail the Apple technology that is at issue in this case."

Psystar compiled a list of websites in about "ten minutes" using Google which all detail the information Apple deems a secret. OSNews' article "Building a Hackintosh Apple Can't Sue You For" is on the list too. In fact, this is the most popular article on OSNews - ever.

Apple responded to Psystar's filing, stating that uncensoring the information in question will cause competitive harm to the company. "Revealing [the information] would cause competitive harm to Apple and chill use of the judicial system to stop violations of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act," Apple claims in its filing.

Apple agrees with Psystar that the proceedings and outcome of this court case are important for the public at large, but argues that the disputed information does not need to be revealed in order to properly inform the public.

Apple believes that it is important that the public be aware of the outcome of the lawsuit. However, it is not necessary to disclose details of Apple’s security mechanism to achieve that. The need for public access can be satisfied here by the same methods used by many other federal courts in DMCA cases – generally describing the technological protection measure in dispute, explaining the legal reasoning and outcome, but not revealing the details of the technological protection measure.

When it comes to Psystar's argument that the information is available on the internet anyway, Apple rebuts by saying that the procedures to install Mac OS X on a non-Apple labelled computer are very difficult, and that only a programmer can complete these procedures successfully.

There is nothing simple about following the instructions to find the key to decrypt Apple's encrypted files. Although a computer programmer like Mr. Pedraza [Psystar's lawyer] who already knows what he is looking for may find information about Apple's security mechanism on the Internet, that alone is not enough to defeat the protection mechanism. Significant additional programming must be done to achieve that result.

"Significant additional programming"? To complete a guide like this? In any case, it's hard to choose sides in this little spat, as we cannot be sure what sort of information is currently censored. The information about building a non-Apple labelled computer with Mac OS X installed certainly doesn't have to be censored, but more sensitive information could be included as well.

Apple's argument that the information does not aid in the public's understanding of the case is a strong one. As such, I think it's safe to say that Apple is in the right here. As a final note, bear in mind that this only concerns Leopard - and not Snow Leopard.

Psystar ceases selling Leopard

On a related note, Psystar has stated that it will "happily" cease selling Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. "Psystar will happily submit to an appropriately tailored injunction [...] limited to Psystar's allegedly illegal activities involving OS X Leopard, since it is only OS X Leopard that this case concerns," Psystar states, "Since neither Psystar nor Apple sells OS X Leopard any longer, it is no great burden for Psystar to agree to such an injunction."

This makes sense. Psystar has already switched to shipping Snow Leopard anyway, so this 'concession' is one it could easily make.

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