Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 13th Jun 2009 11:13 UTC
Legal We've got some news in the Apple vs. Psystar tragedy that's been unfolding before our eyes for months now. We all know the gist: Psystar sells machines with Mac OS X pre-installed, while the EULA states that's not allowed. Apple then took this stuff to court, and in the meantime, Psystar went into Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection. The news today is that Apple has filed a complaint stating that this Chapter 11 thing is just a shield that allows Psystar to continue its business practices, which Apple deems as illegal.
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kryptonianjorel
Member since:
2006-06-28

You're right. Psystar has the right to resell retail copies of MacOS X, and they can do that until they're blue in the face. However, what they cannot do, is knowingly install it on a non-apple brand computer. i don't own a Psystar, so I'm not 100% sure about who "accepts" the EULA, but if it is Psystar, then the responsibility lays on them, otherwise, the consumer.

I am not a fan of EULAs. Half of me believes that all software should be free of restrictions, but the other half of me completely understands why Apple has that clause in the EULA. Apple is different from every computer manufacturer out there in the sense that it is the only one that builds the OS for the computer. This is what gives OSX its stability, and allows Apple to tailor its OS to a finite amount of hardware. When you get down to it, Apple is a hardware company. It makes the OS to sell the computers. Without MacOS, their lineup is just a bunch of aluminum, overpriced, windows computers (not to say they aren't overpriced a tad with OSX, but thats another story).

Think of the consequences of this lawsuit, no matter who wins. If Psystar, EULAs will lose their value and cause software companies lots of headaches (people could install a single copy on multiple computers, for example). Also, Apple will either: jack up the price of OSX, stop selling retail and integrate updating macs to the current OS into a software updater, or add a proprietary component and Microsoft-like activation schemes to prevent the installation (or at least inhibit) on other machines.

If Apple wins, it will solidify restrictive EULA terms as legally-binding.

The thing is, when it was simply the OSX86 crowd messing around and putting MacOS on their computers, Apple didn't seem to care. Its too bad Psystar had to rock the boat for the modding community...

Reply Parent Score: 1

alcibiades Member since:
2005-10-12

....Think of the consequences of this lawsuit, no matter who wins. If Psystar, EULAs will lose their value and cause software companies lots of headaches (people could install a single copy on multiple computers, for example). Also, Apple will either: jack up the price of OSX, stop selling retail and integrate updating macs to the current OS into a software updater, or add a proprietary component and Microsoft-like activation schemes to prevent the installation (or at least inhibit) on other machines.

If Apple wins, it will solidify restrictive EULA terms as legally-binding....


You are making a common mistake, in thinking that this case is about whether EULAs are binding, and thinking that in some way if the case goes against Apple it will remove copyright restrictions on copying.

Neither is the case. First, if EULAs were to go in their entirety, copyright law would remain intact, and that is what prevents you buying one copy and installing it on 5,000 computers.

Second, EULAs in general are not at issue. The issue is the particular clause forbidding installation on non-Apple sourced computers. This clause could be held invalid, and all other EULA clauses left standing. Its a clause by clause thing.

My view is that the clause is not going to be upheld at least in the EU, because it is a post sale restraint on use, which the Commission frowns on, and because its (as presently implemented) either a contract variance without consideration, or perhaps its an attempt to enter a secondary contract without consideration, depending on how one looks at the transactions.

We must wait to see if Apple Legal moves to sue EFI-X, PearC and Freedompc. I don't think they will, and if they do they will lose. But if this happens it will still be illegal to install OSX or Windows on more than one computer.

Its both more and less far reaching than your impression.

Reply Parent Score: 3

kryptonianjorel Member since:
2006-06-28

I see your point. however the ramifications could be greater than simply calling that clause invalid.

You say the problem the EU will have with this is that it is a "post sale" restriction. What if Apple put the restriction in plain site on the packaging of the product, so that the consumer could be warned of the limitations imposed of the software.

If Apple loses, which I also believe they will, they will just make everything harder for everybody. If they cant make a legal block of "unauthorized installations", they'll make software and hardware blocks, and who really wants that?

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[5]: Apple's EULA is illegal
by kaiwai on Sun 14th Jun 2009 04:25 in reply to "RE[4]: Apple's EULA is illegal"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

Neither is the case. First, if EULAs were to go in their entirety, copyright law would remain intact, and that is what prevents you buying one copy and installing it on 5,000 computers.


How does it stop you from installing it on 5,000 computers. You haven't copied the software, you've installed it on multiple computers that you own; that is no different to the fair use provision of music where one could copy their CD to a tape so that they can use it in their car. How is installing software any different to that - if I have a desktop and a laptop, why should I have to go and purchase two copies using the 'fair use' provision.

Now, if the software company sold you the software and told you can install it on as many computers as you want but the boxed product only includes a support contract for one computer at anyone time. In other word's, when you purchase a boxed software - what you're actually buying is a media kit plus a support contract for one computer. Install it on as many computers as you want but only one of the computers are supported.

If they rejigged their sales model along those lines I think it would address many of the issues raised.

Edited 2009-06-14 04:27 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

The thing is, when it was simply the OSX86 crowd messing around and putting MacOS on their computers, Apple didn't seem to care.


Oh I'm sure they care(d) - there just wasn't really anything they could do about it (short of emulating the game of whack-a-mole that the RIAA/MPAA have been playing for the last few years).

Pystar, on the other hand, probably looked like much easier-pickings to Apple's legal dept.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[4]: Apple's EULA is illegal
by tupp on Sun 14th Jun 2009 00:07 in reply to "RE[3]: Apple's EULA is illegal"
tupp Member since:
2006-11-12

However, what they cannot do, is knowingly install it on a non-apple brand computer.

Of course they can. The EULA is not a law, and Psystar is not bound by the EULA, if they install software at the end user's behest.


i don't own a Psystar, so I'm not 100% sure about who "accepts" the EULA,

E.U.L.A. = End User License Agreement. My guess is that the EULA is "accepted" by the end user.


Apple is different from every computer manufacturer out there in the sense that it is the only one that builds the OS for the computer. This is what gives OSX its stability,...

Whatever one wants to believe...


Without MacOS, their lineup is just a bunch of aluminum, overpriced, windows computers (not to say they aren't overpriced a tad with OSX, but thats another story).

Agreed.


Think of the consequences of this lawsuit, no matter who wins. If Psystar, EULAs will lose their value and cause software companies lots of headaches (people could install a single copy on multiple computers, for example).

Well, the value of EULAs is already questionable.

Regardless, if an EULA is anything, it is a private contract. Just because one private contract is ruled invalid, that doesn't make all other private contracts invalid. And, as I and alcibiades and many others have stated many times, courts usually find individual clauses of private contracts/EULAs valid or invalid -- not the entire agreement.

Countless EULAs and their clauses have already been ruled valid and invalid by the courts. Notice how most of these prior rulings have no influence on this case.

In regards to making multiple copies without permission, it is already forbidden by copyright law.


If Apple wins, it will solidify restrictive EULA terms as legally-binding.

No. It will only set a precedent to establish the validity of the specific clause in question (if Apple indeed fights this case on the grounds of an EULA violation).


Also, Apple will either: jack up the price of OSX, stop selling retail and integrate updating macs to the current OS into a software updater, or add a proprietary component and Microsoft-like activation schemes to prevent the installation (or at least inhibit) on other machines.

Boo-hoo.


The thing is, when it was simply the OSX86 crowd messing around and putting MacOS on their computers, Apple didn't seem to care. Its too bad Psystar had to rock the boat for the modding community...

This case has probably not swayed one individual from installing OSX on a non-Apple machine.

Reply Parent Score: 3

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

I thought the EULA was seporate from the installation license. The one tries to restrict how the installation is used where the other is the permission of copywrite. A program can provide a license against the copywrite without providing a click-through EULA. In places where the EULA is not considered a valid license, copywrite license is still valid. I believe places in europe are like this; the EULA can go get stuffed but that doesn't allow a single license copy to be installed on multiple machines.

Reply Parent Score: 2