Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 4th Jul 2009 00:40 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems Now this is interesting news that hit my inbox at 2:22 AM (don't ask). It seems like the concept of selling Mac clones is more lucrative than many have anticipated, as I've just been informed via email that the German PearC has expanded its business into the BeNeLux (Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg) and France. Together with the news that Psystar emerged from chapter 11, it looks like the market for Mac clones is more lucrative than many of us had imagined.
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You somehow think paying $129 for an operating system means you own it?

You bought a license to use it on your systems for however long those systems run.

Are you one of the people that thinks "owning" software is about owning the intellectual property rights?

This is about owning copies of the software. I.e. a shop has a copy of the software in property, sells this to customer, result is the copy of the software becomes the customer's property.

As everyone can do with his property as he sees fit, the seller looses all power to control how the software is being used. As long as the customer does not violate Apple's copyrights, Apple has no right at all to enforce what people do with their property.

Regarding licenses, it is important to distinguish copyright licenses from EULAs. A copyright license gives someone permission do things copyright law normally forbit. The GNU GPL is an example of a copyright license.

On the other hand an EULA tries to control what a user tries to do with the software. They directly conflict with the principles of selling and the sales agreement, which is a very important principle in laws of European countries. The invoice often being used as the proof of the sales agreement. After both parties have fullfilled their requirements of the sales agreement (seller: give the software, buyer: pay), it is considered closed and the software has changed property.

There can be away to legally do EULAs: Make them part of the sales agreement, if there is a way the consumer can read the EULA before the sale, a reference on the invoice is then enough. However, even in this case, the seller transfers his property rights to the buyer, loosing a lot of control.

Summary: You can own software after having paid $129 and the EULA is most of the times illegal (but not always), not because it is forbidden, but it is simply incompatible with the law principles in many European countries.

Edited 2009-07-05 07:06 UTC

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