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Psystar: We Bought Mac OS X From Apple…. What Drugs Are They Smoking?


Someone in the Psystar legal team must be doing some serious dope. That’s because they claim that they bought Mac OS X from Apple and they can do whatever they want with it.


They’re using under the first-sale doctrine as an argument for this. Computerworld spotted this in Psystar’s latest filing. Here’s an excerpt:

Once a copyright owner consents to the sale of particular copies of a work, the owner may not thereafter exercise distribution rights with respect to those copies. See, e.g., Bobbs-Merrill Co. v. Straus, 210 U.S. 339, 350-51 ( 1908 ) (recognizing more than 100 years ago the concept of first sale and the limitations imposed upon a copyright owner in light thereof). Psystar acquired lawful copies of the Mac OS from Apple; those copies were lawfully acquired from authorized distributors including some directly from Apple; Psystar paid good and valuable consideration for those copies; Psystar disposed of those lawfully acquired copies to third-parties.

Now, IANAL but here’s what I know about the first-sale doctrine. Courts as far as I can tell have said that the first-sale doctrine has never applied to software. That’s because software is a product that is licensed and not sold. Therefore software can have restrictions attached to their use. Perhaps a real lawyer can help to flesh the details.

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