DMCA axes sites discussing Mac OS for PCs

Two water-cooler sites for hackers are down this morning, and one of them has credited the DMCA with the outage.

Apple Computer appears to have invoked the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to stop the dissemination of methods allowing Mac OS X to run on chips from Intel and Advanced Micro Devices.

The chatter at the OSx86 Project was stifled Friday after the forum was served with a notice under the DMCA, according to a posting on the site.

"We're sorry to report that despite our best efforts, the OSx86 Project has been served with a DMCA violation notice. The forum will be unavailable while we evaluate its contents to remove any violations present. We thank you for your patience in this matter," the posting read.

Win2osx.net, another Web site that hosts discussions related to getting Mac OS X onto chips with the x86 instruction set, was also down Friday. Earlier this week, contained a posting from a hacker known as "Maxxuss," who made a patch available on his own Web site that would allow programming-savvy PC users to put a recent version of the Mac operating system on their x86 systems.

Apple has said that it does not authorize the use of the Mac OS on any x86 PC other than the ones it has developed internally using Intel's chips. The company used a Trusted Platform Module, or TPM, to tie Mac OS to the systems it distributed to developers after announcing its switch to Intel's chips last year, but hackers have found ways to circumvent that protection, which is illegal under the DMCA.

The DMCA generally prevents anyone from distributing software or hardware that can "circumvent" copy protection mechanisms, and one federal appeals court has ruled that even links to circumvention software are illegal. But the law is generally understood to allow the theoretical discussion of circumvention techniques.

Administrators for the OSX86 Project and Win2osx.net could not immediately be reached for comment. The OSX86 Project addresses the DMCA in the "About Us" portion of its site. "Our site is fully compliant with the DMCA," it says. "This site intends only to provide a forum for those interested in running OS X on Intel hardware. Anyone engaged in an active DMCA violation will be banned."

An Apple representative had no immediate comment.

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