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By | Rik Myslewski 2nd December 2008 00:01

Apple swings DMCA at Hackintosh maker

Copyright one-two punch

Just two weeks after US District Judge William Alsup threw out wannabe Mac-clone vendor Psystar's countersuit against Apple, the One True Mac-Maker has un-holstered another weapon in its campaign to crush the Florida-based upstart.

It was revealed today that Apple has amended its complaint against Psystar, first filed back on July 3, to include the accusation that the now-reeling clonemaker is in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. As reported by Computerworld, Apple's amended complaint asserts that "Defendant has illegally circumvented Apple's technological copyright-protection measures" and implemented code that "avoids, bypasses, removes, descrambles, decrypts, deactivates or impairs a technological protection measure without Apple's authority for the purpose of gaining unauthorized access to Apple's copyrighted works."

In layman's terms, Apple is now not only accusing Psystar of violating Mac OS X Leopard's EULA, but also asserting that the cloners - in cahoots with mysterious third-party "John Does" according to Apple - are doing so by hacking Apple's copyrighted software-protection schemes.

The Leopard EULA argument seems strong enough on its own, especially after Alsup issued his decision against Psystar's claim that Apple was an illegal monopoly. After all, what part of "This License allows you to install, use and run one (1) copy of the Apple Software on a single Apple-labeled computer at a time. You agree not to install, use or run the Apple Software on any non-Apple-labeled computer, or to enable others to do so" did Psystar not understand?

The amended complaint, however, adds more muscle to the mix and folds yet another wrinkle into a saga that began in April of this year when Psystar announced its OpenMac clone (hastily renamed Open to avoid trademark violations and then joined by a higher-powered version dubbed the OpenPro). Since then, the two companies' lawyers have bobbed and weaved like a pair of pugilists, suing, countersuing, and filing motion after motion in attempts to bolter their claims.

If the Apple/Psystar brawl were a prizefight, however, the referee would now step in and stop the mayhem before Psystar suffers terminal brain damage. Apparently, Apple intends to keep pounding away, if only to send a message to anyone else who might think of marketing a hackintosh that doing so might very well result in their lifeless bodies being carried from the legal ring on a stretcher, a fate that's increasingly likely to befall Psystar.

Psystar now appears to be reeling a bit. For example, their website today offers Cyber Monday® specials for the Open and Open Pro, but when you click through to their offer pages, the deals are each identified as a "Black Friday Special." Apparently, the company can no longer tell what day it is. ®

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