Would-be ‘Mac cloner’ Psystar claims Apple failed to copyright Mac OS X

“Mac clone manufacturer Psystar said that Apple’s copyright suit against it should be dismissed because Apple has never filed for copyright protection for its Mac OS X operating system with the U.S. Copyright Office, according to court papers,” Paul McDougall reports for InformationWeek.

“The stunning claim, if true, could undermine Apple’s ability to restrict third parties, such as Psystar, from selling clones that run the Mac OS on generic PC hardware. InformationWeek was not immediately able to verify the claim,” McDougall reports.

“Psystar made the allegation in documents filed last week in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, as part of its response to Apple’s latest charges of copyright infringement,” McDougall reports.

“Last month, a judge rejected Psystar’s counterclaim — leading Psystar to file revised claims. Psystar is now asking the judge overseeing the case to declare Apple’s Mac OS copyrights invalid,” McDougall reports. “In court filings, Apple has said it believes Psystar is backed by a silent third party that’s presumably seeking to enter the Mac market.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Note: MacDailyNews Reader Alan has provided a link for “Mac OS X,” filed by Apple on March 24, 2001 (the release date of Mac OS X 10.0 “Cheetah”) with the U.S. Copyright Office. See it here.


  1. So they are saying that Apple has no copyright on OS X yet are asking for the copyrights to be invalidated. Am I missing something here. So does this mean that every different model of car a manufacturer produces has to be copyrighted separately otherwise anyone can make one? Someone’s having a laugh.

  2. OS X was written a developed by NEXT, Apple purchsed NEXT from one S. Jobs with part of the deal being the return of Jobs to Apple. Apple owns all of the NEXT developed software.

  3. This article must have been paid for by Psystar’s lawyers or something, it repeats verbatim all of Psystar’s questionable claims using the same questionable language Psystar uses in the complaints and then does not comment on it.

    For instance it repeats Psystar’s assertion that OS-X has “stealthware” in it that checks for the right intel CPU before it allows itself to start. Even if this is true, this is just part of what any normal OS does as it starts. To characterise this as “stealthware” just as Psystar does and then leave that assertion in the article without argument, is unconscionable.

    Click bait for sure.

  4. Ownership of copyright is one thing. Being able to enforce it is another.

    I believe that here in the U.S., the creator/owner has to register the copyright beforehand to be able to collect damages and attorney fees from an infringement lawsuit.

    Not saying Psystar has a case. Just pointing out what their argument might be.

  5. Apple has a copyright by the mere act of writing something, and it is protected. However, to collect statutory damages and attorney fees ($100K per incident, I recall), they have to register the copyright.

    If Apple didn’t do that and does it now, then they would be limited to collecting actual damages and lost profit, which is a pittance.


    http://cocatalog.loc.gov/cgi-bin/Pwebrecon.cgi?v1=20&ti=1,20&Search;_Arg=Apple Computer&Search;_Code=TALL&CNT=100&PID=xoMrMnnf5XDJ1up986x1DWq4BGT&SEQ=20081222173232&SID=1

  6. @ Mark Armstrong:

    If you register your copyright, you can be entitled to additional types of damages (such as attorneys’ fees) which you would not other wise be able to collect (or which may be more difficult to collect). It also sets a specific date in time when you had the copyright.

    Without filing for a copyright, Apple has to prove when it started using the code for OS X to prove it had prior ownership than Psyster. That won’t be a problem, since the thing was on sale for years before Psyster ever came into existence.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.