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Psystar - Who Are These People?
Wednesday, September 03 2008 @ 10:00 AM EDT

It turns out that Psystar, the company being sued by Apple, is owned by two brothers, ages 22 and 24, according to a story in the Miami Herald, now on Free Republic's site:
Attorneys for Apple are accusing Psystar Corp., owned by Rudy and Robert Pedraza, of copyright and trademark infringement and breach of contract for building and selling "cloned" computers that run on Apple's Leopard operating system....

Rudy and Robert Pedraza, 24 and 22, grew up tinkering with computers and helping out at their parents' networking and IT business.... "Apple had to sue," attorney Randy Friedberg said Monday from Olshan Law in New York, where he handles intellectual property and technology matters. "They're very protective of their IP and their brand." Friedberg called the lawsuit "far-reaching" because of its demand to recall all computers Psystar has sold, which Apple estimates is in the thousands. "I think Apple's goal was to say: 'Don't screw with us,'" Friedberg said. "And I do believe they'll end up putting these kids out of business."

Someone sent me a link to a comment on the Internet alleging a supposed connection between Psystar and a securities fraud case, but after hours of digging, I believe I can demonstrate that it isn't the same folks. Let me show you what I found.

First, I'll show you what led to the confusion. If you go to Wayback and look up www.psystar.com, here are the results. And here's the way the website psystar.com looked in 2001, when it was purportedly an investor site of some kind. Notice all the links on the left? If you mouse over them, you'll see they all are psystar.com urls. If you view the source for the Psystar page dated September of 2001, though, you'll see that back then, someone there was building a site called RAZORFX.com, but the url was psystar.com. The webmaster is listed as webmaster at razorfx.com, and there was a link to a graphic, razorfxrings.jpg which is a picture of a map to Psystar. If you click on the link for support on that same page, you end up here, on Psystar's current support page. So there is a link of some kind between Psystar.com and razorfx.com.

The criminal case, 1:08-cr-00401-DLI-JMA, USA v. Eisner et al, was against two partners in a company called Razor FX. But hang on a moment. After researching the criminal case and two civil suits against the Razor FX partners, I think the two sites can be distinguished, because the criminal Information [PDF] in the securities fraud case lists the website used for the Ponzi scheme as being razorfx.net, not com, and the ownership is not the same for the two sites.

BetterWhoIs lists [fill in the numbers] one of the partners in the securities fraud case as the owner of razorfx.net; razorfx.com, however, is listed by Network Solutions as belonging to Expressi Networks, in Miami, as of 2002, although not at any of the addresses that Charles Arthur reported in the Guardian when trying to figure out who or what Psystar was. Here are the ARIN details on razorfx.com. So it appears not to be the same people, although a very weird coincidence that two sites would use the same name. How a 22-year-old had a site regarding his portfolio in 2001, however, is a mystery. Perhaps he shares a name with his dad. It's not something I can explain with current facts. And while I can imagine all sorts of things, I like to stick to provable facts.

Here's what razorfx.net used to look like in 2007, from Wayback's list. Quite a difference from the 2001 investor site calling itself Psystar and linking to razorfx.com, don't you think?

Just so no one needs to duplicate all the research I did already, here are the complaints from the two civil cases. One is Pransky et al v. Eisner et al, and here's the Complaint [PDF], and the second is Horizon FX Limited Partnership v. Razor FX, Inc. et al, and here's the Complaint in that litigation and the Amended Complaint [PDFs], brought by the Canadian company, Horizon FX, against Razor FX and both partners.

Razorfx.com shares or shared servers with other sites, which you can see here and here. Another web site using their servers, with a Miami, FL address, lists a contact name of Esteban Alonso at Emenee Technical. The address isn't identical to what Charles Arthur published, although it appears to be in the vicinity. Gizmodo actually visited all the Psystar addresses in April (scroll all the way down the page to get the full story).

The registered agent for Psystar is listed for a number of companies in Florida, all shown on Gizmodo's site, and the one that is active is at floridatek.com -- FloridaTek -- a computer services company, which if you recall was what Arthur was told Psystar was before it began doing its Apple thing. So that checks out. Except that Gizmodo has a warning that some of the pages download an exe, and they show a screenshot of it trying to do so, so they warn not to visit.

Gizmodo links to Tom's Hardware, an interview it did with Rudy Pedraza:

When we asked about Apple’s EULA for Leopard and that no one was allowed to use Leopard on a computer that wasn’t Apple-labeled, Pedraza said "we’re going to do it whether Steve Jobs likes it or not."

Uh oh. Talk about asking for treble damages. Well. When you're in your early 20s, sometimes you talk like that. Could there be more to this story than just a couple of kids tilting at windmills? Of course. And I'll keep my eyes open. But I don't believe there is a link to the securities fraud people, or at least none that I can find.


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