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Psystar bizarrely claims Apple doesn't own copyright for Mac OS X

Robert Palmer

In what might be the most outlandish claim yet to surface in the case, Psystar now claims that Apple never registered Mac OS X with the U.S. Copyright Office, rendering its copyright invalid, according to InformationWeek. Note that registration isn't a condition of protection, but it is a condition of certain types of infringement actions and damages.

Psystar argues, thus, that since Apple doesn't own the copyright, there's no way for Apple to enforce its claims that Psystar violated its copyright. The claim was filed in U.S. District Court last week.

Although copyright registration number TX0005401457 describes a "computer program" named Mac OS X, it's unclear how Psystar argues this isn't the copyright Apple owns on its operating system. Moreover, contrary to what Psystar appears to argue, copyright is secured automatically in the United States when the work is created, and registration is not a condition of copyright protection (although it can help in fighting infringement). Our Engadget colleague Nilay Patel sums up this latest Psystar legal stratagem as "desperate." Plus, you can file suit while registration is pending, so even if there was some technical defect in the Mac OS X registration, Apple could fix it while pursuing its lawsuit.

If this long shot claim were true, it could undermine Apple's ability to restrict third parties from selling generic clones that run Mac OS X. The back-and-forth arguments are part of a lawsuit Apple originally brought against Psystar for selling Mac OS X with its clones, allegedly in violation of Apple's license agreement. According to InformationWeek, Apple now suspects that a larger company interested in selling Mac OS X-compatible computers is bankrolling Psystar's legal battle.

[Via Engadget.]

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