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Copyright Misuse Doctrine in Apple v. Psystar

From: Alexander Terekhov
Subject: Copyright Misuse Doctrine in Apple v. Psystar
Date: Tue, 10 Feb 2009 21:08:02 +0100

Here's more:

February 9, 2009 8:01 AM PST 

Judge: Psystar can claim Apple 'copyright misuse'

by Dawn Kawamoto

A federal judge is letting Mac clone maker Psystar amend its legal
defense against Apple. 

Psystar was delivered a blow in November, when Judge William Alsup of
the U.S. District Court in Northern California dismissed Psystar's
antitrust claims against the Cupertino, Calif.-based Mac maker. The
antitrust suit was a response to a copyright and trademark infringement
suit Apple filed in July against Psystar, whose OpenComputers are
designed to run the Mac OS X operating system. 

In its amended complaint, Psystar accuses Apple of copyright misuse, as
well as unfair competition violations based on its alleged copyright

Judge Alsup, in citing a previous case--Practice Management Information
Corp v. American Medical Association--notes in his order: 

  "Copyright misuse does not invalidate a copyright, 
  but precludes its enforcement during the period of 
  misuse." Practice Management, 121 F.3d at 520 n.9. 
  Moreover, "a defendant in a copyright infringement
  suit need not prove an antitrust violation to 
  prevail on a copyright misuse defense." Id. at 521. 

While Judge Alsup found in Psystar's favor by allowing the company to
continue its counterclaim with a misuse-of-copyright argument, he denied
its motion to amend its claim that Apple's copyright-oriented conduct
threatens or harms competition. 

  Psystar argues that the alleged misuse is, "at the 
  least, unfair in that Apple has attempted (and 
  continues to attempt) to extend the reach of its 
  copyrights by tying them to computer hardware not 
  otherwise protected by the Copyright Act." (Reply at 
  12). It fails to explain, however, how this conduct 
  constitutes harm to competition or a violation of 
  the spirit of the antitrust laws. In the context of 
  single-firm conduct, tying requires monopolization. 
  Psystar has identified none--other than the limited 
  monopolies inherent in the copyrights themselves. 

According to a report in Computerworld, a trial for the case is set to
begin on November 9. 

Dawn Kawamoto covers enterprise security and financial news relating to
technology for CNET News. E-mail Dawn. 

Topics: Apple Corporate, Mac OS XTags: Apple,Psystar,Mac OS,Mac clone

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