updated 04:40 pm EDT, Tue July 28, 2009
Psystar gets new lawyers
The Apple vs. Psystar case has taken yet another turn, as the clone maker on Tuesday announced that it has changed lawyers. The company will now be represented by Camara & Sibley LLP of Houston, Texas, the team that is also currently defending Jammie Thomas-Russet against a $2 million RIAA ruling. Psystar also hosts a new "community" page and a wiki that will disclose its methods and tips for running OS X on non-Apple hardware.
"Psystar has always been more a Cowboy than a Hippie. Now we've changed lawyers to better reflect who we are," the company said in a statement. "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. Apple can't tell an applications developer that it can't make a piece of Mac-compatible software. They can't forbid Mac users from writing blogs critical of Apple. And they can't tell us not to write kernel extensions that turn the computers we buy into Mac-compatible hardware."
The brazen statement marks a significant change in the company's strategy outside of the courtroom. Its previous legal team, Carr and Ferrell, LLP, reportedly advised a "reserved stance" toward interactions with the public and media. "We would like to apologize to everyone, as this has never reflected the opinion of Psystar Corporation, nor its founders or employees," the company said in an e-mail.
Although the statement implies Psystar disagreed with its previous counsel, it remains unclear if the decision also involved money issues. The clone maker filed for bankruptcy protection, which involved public disclosure of its debt. In June, documents showed an $88,000 bill due to Carr & Ferrell, along with a $120,000 loan from the company's founder, Rudy Pedraza.
Despite the bankruptcy filing and ongoing legal battle, Psystar has continued to create new computers to compete with Apple's machines. The clones are now being shipped to South America as well, through a new distributor based in Guatemala.
The company has also announced a new ad campaign, "I'm a Psystar," that takes a jab at Apple's "Get a Mac" campaign and Microsoft's "I'm a PC" series. The Psystar community members are invited to create 30-second commercials to submit by September 1st. A panel will pick five entries, while the public will vote on the best one and the winner will receive the company's Nehalem-based Open 7 system. Participants are reminded, however, that they "must not violate any copyright laws."
The community pages also include explanations of several drivers and processes that are used with the Open systems, along with download links. The company claims it will continue to develop a wiki with additional information, while posting all of the open source materials and working to "standardize methods for running OS X on generic Intel hardware."
Apple's legal team threatened a Bluwiki site for publishing pages from authors attempting to find ways to upload music to iPods and iPhones without going through iTunes. The company accused the publisher of violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), as it has with Psystar in the formal lawsuit, and the pages were removed.
Although the cease and desist order initially was followed, The Electronic Frontier Foundation collaborated with attorneys from Keker & Van Nest and sued Apple. The court was asked to formally reject the threats and allow the restoration of the discussions. Apple last week finally backed down and sent a statement claiming it has no objection to the publication of the pages.
Despite the bankruptcy filing and new attorneys, the Psystar trial is still tentatively scheduled for January 11th. The discovery deadline is set for August 21st, while replies are due shortly thereafter.