Apple has won a decisive victory over Pystar, the clone computer maker which sells Mac OS X preloaded on non-Apple hardware. The summary judgement won by Apple ruled that Pystar had violated copyright laws and violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). It sounds like the road is ending for Pystar. It sounds like this should be the obvious outcome, but I think many of us are simply shocked at Pystar’s vigorous attacks against Apple and wondered if they did indeed have a case worth fighting.
It is just unthinkable that there was any sense in Pystar’s arguments. It is hard to comprehend what Pystar was really up to in the last many months of legal battle. It’s a David vs Goliath kind of battle, except that the David in this case is more the villain than Goliath is.
I hate to sound like an Apple fan boy, but I think Apple has done quite well with Mac OS X. It’s a pity that you need an Apple hardware to run Mac OS X legally, and Apple hardware is slightly of a premium over generic PCs. But of course, the Mac argument is that you’ve got to consider the total cost of ownership. A Mac comes included with many functionalities that would have been additional cost items had you bought a generic PC.
In this digital age, intellectual property is a big thing. I remember growing up with computers at a time when, at least in Singapore, software piracy and hardware cloning is a norm. Things have certainly changed nowadays. You would pay for a licensed copy of your operating system (unless it was free to begin with). That’s not just because it came bundled with the PC you bought, as computer users are generally more sensitive toward upgrade paths and borrowing of installation media, showing they care about doing the right thing. (Perhaps that’s because they are scared of getting caught doing bad things… something which is becoming featured more publicly nowadays.)
Honestly, had they made software cheaper and affordable, people would probably not mind paying “the right price”. For example, the Mac OS X 10.6 upgrade was so affordable, I imagine most people were happy to pay the US$29 (S$48) upgrade price.
Back to Pystar. The clone maker reminds me of my starting days with computers. At that time, no one bought an original Apple computer. That was the era of the Apple ][. I think Apple was just as keen to protect their intellectual property at that time, but the state of intellectual property laws then just made it very difficult for them to effectively take action. Today, their eagerness to protect their intellectual property is not very different from a quarter of a century ago. It is just so surprising to find a clone maker back in the market, let alone operating in the USA.