Psystar, Miami Computer Company Fighting Apple, Loses In Appeals Court

Two years ago, a tiny, Doral-based computer firm called Psystar challenged Apple with a legal question its two 20-something founders believed had never really been answered in court: Can Steve Jobs legally force consumers to use Apple operating systems only on Apple hardware?

Psystar just got its answer in the Court of Appeals: Apple can do whatever the hell it wants!

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal ruled against the heart of Psystar's argument: that copyright law shouldn't give computer makers like Apple the right to legally tie together their software and their hardware.

Two Miami brothers, Rudy and Robert Pedraza, had founded Psystar on the idea of subverting Apple's rules. The pair legally bought copies of Apple OS, then loaded it onto cheaper, PC-model desktops and laptops they called "Open Computers."

(You can read New Times' profile of the brothers here.)

That's verboten, though, says the appeals court, which ruled that Apple can legally tie its software to its machines.

"[Apple's OS] was intended ... to be used on the computer it was designed to operate," the court writes. "It did not prevent others from developing their own computer or operating systems."

Kiwi Camara, the Houston-based attorney representing the Pedraza brothers, says they intend to appeal the ruling -- either to the full body of Ninth Circuit judges or to the Supreme Court.

"It's exactly the kind of case the Supreme Court should consider," Camara tells Riptide.

Psystar has been effectively shut down since December 2009 as it fights in court. The Pedrazas are developing other ventures in the meantime, Camara says.

Here's the appeals court ruling in full:


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