Psystar Loses Key Copyright Ruling In Apple's California Lawsuit

This past week, we brought you the story of Rudy and Robert Pedraza, the Miami brothers who have taken on Apple by hacking its OS X to run on cheap PCs.

​Although the self-funded, self-taught programmers are taking on a computer giant, we wrote, they might just have a chance to win on their legal merits.

That chance just got slimmer. U.S. District Judge William Alsup has granted Apple a summary judgment, agreeing that Psystar infringed on its copyright.

"Psystar infringed Apple's exclusive rights to create derivative works of Mac OS X," Alsup writes, "by replacing original files in Mac OS X with unauthorized software files."

Alsup also agreed with Apple that Psystar violated portions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The judge, in the same ruling, tossed out all of Psystar's requests for a summary judgment.

So is this the end of the line for Psystar? No. There's still a good bit of legal conflict to sort out.

"We think that the court got the law wrong, particularly on

copyright misuse," Kiwi Camara, Psystar's lawyer, tells Riptide.

"Psystar will fight on in Florida and in the Court of Appeals."


still has to rule on Apple's claims that Psystar violated contract law

by going against the click-through agreement on OS X. Complaints over

unfair competition, trademark infringement and trademark dilution

remain unresolved.

And Psystar's separate lawsuit against Apple in Florida, claiming that the company violated anti-trust laws, is ongoing.


there's no doubt: Alsup's ruling is a Messi-esque kick in the balls for

Psystar and the Pedrazas. Alsup has set hearings for later this month

to decide how much money Psystar owes Apple for the violations, and

there's a good chance the answer will be "a hell of a lot."

But let's be clear: No, we don't regret profiling these guys in light of Alsup's ruling. Why would we?


Pedraza's personal story is damned fascinating, and was never told

before we reported it. The legal arguments we've explored are valid and

interesting. None of that changes because a judge in California has

agreed with Apple on some key issues.

Read the full ruling: Summaryjudgment.pdf

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Tim Elfrink is a former investigative reporter and managing editor for Miami New Times. He has won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
Contact: Tim Elfrink