Psystar hires Jammie's lawyers in fight with Apple

Mac clone maker hires a new legal team as it prepares to defend itself against Apple's copyright infringement suit.

Jim Dalrymple Special to CNET News
Jim Dalrymple has followed Apple and the Mac industry for the last 15 years, first as part of MacCentral and then in various positions at Macworld. Jim also writes about the professional audio market, examining the best ways to record music using a Macintosh. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. He currently runs The Loop.
Jim Dalrymple
2 min read

Mac clone maker Psystar has hired a new legal firm--the same one defending Jammie Thomas-Rasset--for its courtroom battle against Apple's copyright infringement suit.

Psystar used its hiring of Houston-based Camara & Sibley, which is also defending convicted music-pirate Thomas-Rasset, to comment on the suit.

"Psystar has always been more a Cowboy than a Hippie. Now we've changed lawyers to better reflect who we are," the company said Tuesday in a post on its Web site. "Everyone here values openness. And that's how we're going to fight Apple: in public."

The company was previously using Carr & Ferrell of Palo Alto, Calif., though it's not clear whether the "Hippie" reference is to that law firm.

The posting goes on to explain Psystar's position in the lawsuit. Claiming that it is "probably one of Apple's biggest customers," Psystar said it buys legal copies of Mac OS X from retailers, just like anyone else. The only difference is that it also installs extensions, allowing Mac OS X to run on its computers.

"Apple's copyright on OS X doesn't give Apple the right to tell people what they can do with it after they buy a copy," Psystar said in the post. "Apple can't tell an applications developer that it can't make a piece of Mac-compatible software. And they can't tell us not to write kernel extensions that turn the computers we buy into Mac-compatible hardware."

Unfortunately for Psystar, that is exactly what Apple believes.

Apple contends that the Mac OS X End User License Agreement (PDF), which each user must agree to before installing the software, is all the proof it needs. The agreement clearly states that the operating system can only be installed on an Apple-labeled computer. That could leave any clone maker without a legal leg to stand on.

Psystar filed for bankruptcy in May, which normally could shield a company from its legal woes. But Apple asked the court to lift the automatic stay of proceedings in the copyright case.

Apple won its argument, and a new trial date has been set for January 11, 2010.