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Expanded Apple lawsuit claims Psystar part of a larger plot


Now free of any countersuits, Apple has grown its lawsuit against Mac clone maker Psystar to accuse it of further violations and to claim that others have contributed to its breaking copyright law.

The amended suit, unearthed by Groklaw, primarily expands Apple's original complaint to assert that Psystar has violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act by engineering its OpenComputer lineup to use Mac OS X despite measures intended to prevent the operating system from running on anything but Apple's own hardware.

it also charges the Florida-based clone builder with pushing buyers to commit copyright infringement, including violating the DMCA by circumventing Apple's restrictions in day to day use, and of violating Apple's trademark on the term SuperDrive used to describe the DVD burners in Macs.

But the most eyebrow-raising element remains the 18th paragraph, which explicitly states that Apple believes ten unknown people or companies — each nicknamed "John Doe" — have contributed on some level to the numerous violations named in the amended suit.

"On information and belief, persons other than Psystar are involved in Psystar’s unlawful and improper activities described in this Amended Complaint," the new section reads. "The true names or capacities, whether individual, corporate, or otherwise, of these persons are unknown to Apple. Apple will seek leave to amend this complaint to show the unknown John Doe Defendants’ true names and capacities when they are ascertained."

The statement is seen as uncharacteristic for Apple, which is throwing the full weight of both its legal team and its fact-finding resources behind a case against a comparatively small target. Erwan Hamon of Groklaw suggests not only that Apple may have reason to believe in a wider conspiracy but that Psystar's defiant posture may stem from the support of others behind the scenes.

While no direct clues have surfaced as to who if anyone might support Psystar, the company's Mac clones are known to be using pre-made, third-party code to bypass Apple's usual checks for official firmware during the Mac OS X Leopard installation process. The unofficial vendor's primary culpability is to perform the bootleg installations itself and market the systems as capable of running the Mac operating system despite Apple's licensing terms that forbid use on anything but its own computers.