BREAKING: Apple 'suing' wired for tutorial on 'Hackintosh' netbook tutorial, author says

BREAKING: Apple 'suing' wired for tutorial on 'Hackintosh' netbook tutorial, author says

Summary: UPDATE 3:00 PM EST: Just got off the phone with Evan Hansen, editor-in-chief at, and he said the following for the record: "We made a determination that the video...



UPDATE 3:00 PM EST: Just got off the phone with Evan Hansen, editor-in-chief at, and he said the following for the record: "We made a determination that the video...we're more comfortable taking down the video." Hansen also said that Wired tries "to default to the most conservative position we can in terms of removing content...but we don't want to pull content [needlessly]." Thus, the video got pulled down, and the posts are under review (and thus, not definitively kosher).

Also: Gizmodo's Matt Buchanan got his hands on the offending video. Just a matter of time before Apple sues them, eh?

UPDATE 2:34 PM EST: A PR rep from Wired called and clarified the situation. Apple actually sent Wired a cease-and-desist letter, and the editors/legal are currently reviewing it and deciding whether it's a valid request or not. (Sorry, Brian.) In the meantime, they've pulled down the offending video until they make a decision, but they've decided that the posts themselves are kosher and will remain live.


Wired Gadget Lab guru Brian X. Chen revealed via Twitter a few minutes ago that Apple "is suing Wired for my video tutorial on hacking netbooks to run Mac OS X."

It's unclear whether it's a cease-and-desist rather than a true lawsuit for the tutorial, which is a step-by-step guide to installing Apple's Mac OS X on a Netbook. The video and post(s) (there are several, really) includes using favorite torrent tracker The Pirate Bay to get the software, as well as a foray into Netbook innards to get the whole thing working. It also includes a disclaimer that the activity will violate Apple's EULA.

The video was taken down, apparently, but one commenter named Derek clearly feels the same way Apple does:

Way to go, Brian!

Are you going to show us how to steal commercial software too from Pirate Bay?

Dude, you are telling people to go download an "ILLEGAL VERSION OF MAC OS X LEOPARD"!!! What the hell is wrong with you? You are showing people how to STEAL. You trivialize the law by posting this video.

Apple spent millions developing this software. They need revenue to pay their costs, employ engineers, and develop future versions. You are helping to put people out of work by doing this, and you are telling people it's perfectly OK to take something they didn't pay for.

I certainly hope you NEVER lose your job at a company because people steal your work. People like you are the REASON for DRM.

Can I rob a bank? Yes. Do I rob a bank? No. It's wrong.

So, work on your morals, pal.


Topics: Apple, Hardware, Mobility, Operating Systems, Software

Andrew Nusca

About Andrew Nusca

Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. During his tenure, he was the editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation.

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  • Well there is the notion that its apples fault...

    They deliberately chose to ignore the fact (esp. when moving over to the Intel platform) that people want to run the OS, but do not want to pay for the "Apple Tax" on the hardware end - because lets be honest, its just a PC in a pretty case.

    Now, since the disclaimer was put on (I never seen the video) and I would assume it would instruct someone to go buy OS X at the store? [though i hear those are 'upgrades' only]...but also it could be argued that since apple doesnt put a "price" on the software itself....its free- with their hardware, thus downloading it would be trivial b/c the only thing you are devoiding apple of is, the apple tax.

    I think Apple should just buck up - remove the EFI - [hell keep the EFI, and sell the plugable module with it...can you say extra $$]- and offer a full retail version. If people want it that bad that they have to download it and hack it, then there is a pent-up demand (or people just want to do it) either way - it would just potentially de-value the product [much akin to selling iPods/iPhone at Walmart].
    • Apple and EFI...

      [b]I think Apple should just buck up - remove the EFI - [hell keep the EFI, and sell the plugable module with it...can you say extra $$] [/b]

      Er.. Do you even know what EFI is? EFI is a replacement for a BIOS on a motherboard. They can sell the chip with it all they want - but it's not going to do anything for you since most all motherboards still use a BIOS.

      EFI (Extensible Firmware Interface) is best defined here:

      No... The thing that keeps OSX firmly on Mac hardware is the TPM (Trusted Platform Module) chip. It's a security device. Think DRM on steroids.
      • Actually...

        There's a German company that sells an EFI chip, including
        an USB version.
    • Support

      Apple design Mac OS to run on Mac hardware. No matter how many disclaimers they put on the box, if they let people buy it to run on other hardware, they will have to start supporting it.

      Disclaimer: I have a mac - but I use Linux almost all the time.
  • Showing someone how to steal is not illegal

    as it is up to the person learning the technique to decide that he will not do it.

    Many here know of different ways to steal different things: knowing how to do something ilegal, and actually doing something illegal are two different things.

    At what point does a company have the right to stop the free exchange of information?
    • Because its Apple....DUH

      LOL. :)

      /applefanboi shield ON
    • But it is immoral

      It's the same logic that we have to use in order to differentiate between a White Hat hacker and a Black Hat. There are ways to handle this kind of information that is productive to the community, then there are ways to show how to be a criminal.
      • immoral...BS!

        The next thing is casinos suing some movie studios for making novies like "Ocean's 11".
        Linux Geek
        • But surely...

          ...everyone can sue for the making of "Gigli."

          I kid, I kid.
          • SUE? That'd be far, far too kind..

            The exec who approved Gigli should be burned at the stake - with the fire fueled by every copy of that crappy movie used as kindling...

            But seriously...
        • Really?

          If you consider that a comparison, there's no point in discussing it with you.
        • Typical linux fag...

          You'll steal anything and ignore the legality of it. That's the reason I can't abide linux as a desktop, the people pushing it are not only imbeciles, they have no ethics or integrity either.
        • That's different

          There's a difference between movies and instructional video.

          Movies are, duh, fiction. And, the stuff that they portray is often inaccurate (a.k.a. "dramaticized"). Movies about WWII don't promote war, Independence Day was not promoting the nuking of Houston, and so on.

          Instructional video on how to hack software is in the same class of material such as how to make explosives for home use. It's non-fiction, and shows people how to do something illegal.

          Putting disclaimers on things is a cop-out. Most people cannot tell the difference between Internet and Reality because they lack morals or the ability to think critically.

          I think Apple made the right move.
      • And you are the Great Morality Judge?

        Give me a break. Your morality may be totally different than someone else's. I doubt you are moral enough to make that decision for anyone else.
    • Encouraging them

      I got the impression from the video that Wired was in a lot of ways encouraging people to pirate the software. I think encouraging people to break the law may be illegal.

      Having said that, the "Derek" person who commented on the video sounds like a presumptuous douche bag, and I don't wish to be lumped in with him.

      I think this is a problem for Apple that is just going to get worse over time. Perhaps they need to go back to PowerPC.
    • But what's the purpose?

      Honestly, what is the purpose? What good does it supposedly serve?

      There's a show on TV that has people's houses broken into under the guise of better educating everyone about how to secure their home. I don't think that most people would argue that the purpose (educating people how to defend against a threat) justifies the show.

      So what is the purpose of this video? Helping people recognize illegal Apple software? Showing how to prevent piracy? If there is one, then that'll determine whether the posting can be defended or not.
  • People proficient enough to install OSX on a netbook

    ...are probably already aware of TPB/Mininova/Isohunt.

  • People shouldn't "steal" OS X

    There is [b]nothing[/b] wrong, however, with walking into an Apple store, giving Apple $129 for a full version of OS X, and then installing it on anything you please. Well, it shows poor judgement for choosing an inferior OS but it certainly isn't morally wrong.

    Apple sure is a litigous company though and that isn't breaking news.
    • Accoriding to Apple

      According to Apple that would be wrong because it is not running on apple branded hardware... and according to the EULA that is wrong...
    • Well, technically there is...

      But in that technicality they're violating the sherman antitrust act.