So, what is this nonsense about Apple failing to copyright OS X? That's what Psystar – the fly-by-night illegal Mac clone maker that Apple has sued for copyright infringement for rebundling OS X software with its computers – is claiming in the latest gambit to avoid getting shot out of the water in U.S. District Court. InfoWeek reports that Psystar's response includes this howler:
Apple "is prohibited from bringing action against Psystar for the alleged infringement of one or more of the plaintiff's copyrights for failure to register said copyrights with the copyright office as required" by law, Psytar claims.
Of course there is TX0005401457, filed with the U.S. Copyright Office on 6/22/01:
Title: Mac OS X.
Description: Computer program.
Notes: Printout (20 p.) only deposited.
Copyright Claimant: Apple Computer, Inc.
Date of Creation: 2001
Date of Publication: 2001-03-24
Basis of Claim: New Matter: new and revised computer software.
Psystar also made additional antitrust allegations, claiming that Apple inserts secret code to disable non-Apple hardware running OS X. Previous antitrust allegations were thrown out by a federal judge. So these "no copyright filed" claims are new and seemingly outlandish.
While it's true, as TUAW says, that copyright adheres at creation, the idea that "registration is not a condition of copyright protection (although it can help in fighting infringement)" is misguided. To quote from a Continuing Education of the Bar publication on this point:
Although not required for basic copyright protection, registration with the U.S. Copyright Office is a prerequisite to bringing an action for copyright infringement (and recovering statutory damages or other remedies). See 17 USC §§411-412.In any case, it would be nice to see Psystar's evidence that Apple's filings on OS X are faulty enough to bar it from enforcing its copyright. Intriguingly, GrokLaw points out this paragraph from Apple's latest complaint, leveling claims that Psystar's legal bills are being underwritten:
On information and belief, persons other than Psystar are involved in Psystar’s unlawful and improper activities described in this Amended Complaint. The true names or capacities, whether individual, corporate, or otherwise, of these persons are unknown to Apple. … On information and belief, the John Doe Defendants are various individuals and/or corporations who have infringed Apple’s intellectual property rights, breached or induced the breach of Apple’s license agreements and violated state and common law unfair competition laws.