Psyonara, Pt. III
In its last legal salvo against Psystar, Apple suggested the Mac clone maker was backed by a silent third party or two. And at this point it better be, because there’s going to be hell to pay when Apple legal is through with it, regardless of how Psystar revises its original complaint. Its antitrust allegations against Apple (AAPL) dismissed, Psystar today renewed its copyright claims against the company, alleging the Mac OS is designed to go into a kernel panic if it determines it’s being run on non-Apple hardware. From the amended complaint:
On information and belief, PSYSTAR alleges that APPLE intentionally embeds code in the Mac OS that causes the Mac OS to malfunction on any computer hardware system that is not an Apple-Labeled Computer Hardware System. Upon recognizing that a computer hardware system is not an Apple-Labeled Computer Hardware System, the Mac OS will not operate properly, if at all, and will go into what is colloquially known as ‘kernel panic.’
PSYSTAR is informed and believes, and thereon alleges, that APPLE is engaged in anticompetitive conduct that prevents the proper operation of the Mac OS on any computer hardware system that is not an Apple-Labeled Computer Hardware System–a Mac OS Capable Computer Hardware System–thereby forcing customers of the Mac OS to purchase–and only purchase–an Apple-Labeled Computer Hardware System if they wish to have the Mac OS operate sans kernel panic or an infinite loop.”
That’s an intriguing allegation. Risky though, since it’s also an admission that Psystar has circumvented the technological copyright-protection measures built into OS X, just as Apple claims in its amended complaint against the company. Apple contends Psystar has done so illegally, in violation of The Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Psystar says that’s impossible because the kernel panic-forcing code at issue here isn’t a copyright-protection measure.
Who’s right? Who knows? But if it’s Apple, then Psystar presumably is guilty of circumventing Apple’s copyright protection systems under the DMCA. And that’s a felony, because Psystar profited from the circumvention.