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Think Secret Gets Lawyer 371

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the polarize-the-hull-plating dept.
im333mfg writes "Looks like Nick dePlume and Think Secret have gotten some much needed help for their upcoming lawsuit battle with Apple. "Terry Gross of Gross & Belsky LLP, a lawyer at the forefront of Internet law since the net's early days, will defend Mac news Web site Think Secret from a lawsuit brought by Apple Computer Inc. 'Apple's attempt to silence a small publication's news reporting presents a troubling affront to the protections of the First Amendment,' said Nick dePlume, the site's publisher and editor in chief. 'I'm grateful that Mr. Gross has stepped forward to help defend these crucial freedoms.'""
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Think Secret Gets Lawyer

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  • Trade secrets (Score:5, Insightful)

    by slashnutt (807047) on Thursday January 20, 2005 @05:05PM (#11424147) Journal
    The problems is that Think Geek obtain information freely from normal information gathering techniques such as social engineering and trend research using the internet. A California law prohibits divulging trade secrets yet if I remember correctly there is a set of laws each state agreed to abide by when joining. This law is freedom of the press and freedom of speech. Think Geek never signed a non-disclosure agreement thus if you or a representative of your company tells me something than that information is no longer protected as a trade secret unless there is a contracted obligation - the entity didn't adequately protect it's information. Case closed unless the corporation wants to sue the party in oblivion, which might be the case that we are seeing today. I don't see how this case can even get to the court level, as it should be dismissed under the grounds of no contractual agreement between the parties; thus, his speech is protected at the federal level.

    As for the party that disclosed the information then they would be in breach of the NADA contract. Does Think Geek have to tell apple that divulged the information? Anyone remember Oliver North who forgot a lot of information during the Iran Contra scandal can attest that Think Geek surely can't remember the names either. Should Think Geek have to tell? Does the press have to cite sources? Nope they can protect their sources but if they can become in content in the courts and spend a little jail time - but were not talking about a murder trial or a treason tiral.
    • Re:Trade secrets (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, 2005 @05:11PM (#11424244)
      For the last-time:

      Think Geek == Clothing store.
      Think Secret == Online apple rag.
    • Anyone remember Oliver North who forgot a lot of information during the Iran Contra scandal can attest that Think (Secret) surely can't remember the names either. Should Think (Secret) have to tell?

      Different kind of law, bro. Oliver North was able to use his 5th amendment rights against self-incrimination. This isn't criminal law, though. This is a civil case between Apple and Think Secret and whoever spilled the beans. The same protections don't apply. If you fail to divulge something you're not protecte
    • Re:Trade secrets (Score:2, Informative)

      by illest503 (130569)
      I'm pretty sure the above poster meant to refer to ThinkSecret [thinksecret.com], the technology spoiler site, instead of ThinkGeek [thinkgeek.com], which sells nifty toys for geeks...
    • Back in the 1980s was another such case: it involved a magazine Soldier of Fortune. It seems a fellow took out an add in SOF to hire himself out as a mercenary. a little man's wife hired the fellow to "Do him in". The Fool (anyone who would advertise themselves in a national publication as available for illegal activates is by definition a fool) failed. So of course: Milquetoast man sues the magazine. The kicker here is: HE WON! Given that neither Think Secret nor Apple is rabid right wing, I do not se
    • LOL Best troll ever (Score:3, Informative)

      by Rares Marian (83629)
      How did Oliver North get involved in this?

      And what's a NADA Contract.

      Giveaway: Think GEEK!
  • I'm confused (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MyLongNickName (822545) on Thursday January 20, 2005 @05:06PM (#11424163) Journal
    Do we respect people's first ammendment rights more than we love apple? I am a free thinker... please tell me what to think...
    • We love Apple?
    • Re:I'm confused (Score:3, Informative)

      Not being an American, someone may correct me on this, but doesnt the First Amendment only pertain to limitations on freedom and religious expression from the Government and not private companies?

      From here [cornell.edu]:

      The First Amendment of the United States Constitution protects the right to freedom of religion and freedom of expression from government interference.

      • Except the courts are part of the government.

        If you can't enforce something throught the courts, it's meaningless to file a lawsuit.

        • They are part of the Government, but in this case it wouldnt be the Government interfering with freedom of expression, as the courts are being asked to adjudicate independantly in a civil case between two individuals (for suitably large values of individual), if this was a criminal matter I might have a different view.
      • Re:I'm confused (Score:3, Informative)

        by zangdesign (462534)
        but doesnt the First Amendment only pertain to limitations on freedom and religious expression from the Government and not private companies?

        Yes, but don't try and change any misconceptions around here. They aren't listening and it won't work anyway. There is no First Amendment protection when you deal with a private corporation.

        The major difference is that we can choose to do business with a corporation or not, so if they offend us, it's off to the competition. Since the government effectively has no co
      • Correct. There are many instances when speech is limited. Business practices are one of those (other notable ones include the oft cited example of yelling "Fire!" in a crowded theater).
        • ...the oft cited example of yelling "Fire!" in a crowded theater

          No one ever explained to me why this is bad but yelling "Movie!" in a crowded firehouse was ok.

      • if Congress makes a law that allows private individuals to suppress speech they don't like, it would also contravene the 1st Amendment. The Bill of Rights enumerates rights of the people, rights independent of government; while it protects those rights from gov't interference, it also implies their existence as rights held by everyone as such.
      • Not being an American, someone may correct me on this, but doesnt the First Amendment only pertain to limitations on freedom and religious expression from the Government and not private companies?

        Taken at face value, the amendment would seem to apply only what the legislative branch of the federal government can do. However, it's not too difficult to see that it applies even to this situation:

        If there is no law against ThinkSecret's publishing this information, then Apple's case is moot.

        If there is so

    • Free speech is good and all--and don't get me wrong, it's a perfectly viable option for people who really don't care one way or the other.

      But only Apple has the click-wheel!

  • by jpellino (202698) on Thursday January 20, 2005 @05:08PM (#11424199)
    And this is the government hiding info from us.

    Not all speech is protected.

    He openly solicits what odds are are insider info, and odds are those are covered by NDAs, and tells the world, and in California that's a crime.

    His site suggests he knows exactly what he's doing, or else he's truly naive.

    If he's this naive, I want to know who let him into Harvard.
    • We have American journalists who disclose the identity of Americans operating as spies in other countries... and these journalists do no time. I won't argue the merits of these cases. However, if a journalist goes to jail for reporting on, what is at worst, a corporate espionage case, then we have a huge travesty of justice.
    • What???

      Are you really telling me that news sites can't dig and try and find out stuff? Are you really suggesting that if PC Week finds out about a Microsoft bug it shouldn't be allowed to publish it?

      Apart from anything, ThinkSecret is not in any contractual agreement with Apple. An Apple employee broke an NDA (a civil contract), and Apple (understandably) wants to find out who it was. But ThinkSecret wants to keep getting scoops (as would any newspaper or journal) and so is (rightly) fighting Apple's laws
    • He openly solicits what odds are are insider info, and odds are those are covered by NDAs, and tells the world, and in California that's a crime.

      You make a good point. This, however, is something that will come out in a trial/hearing. We have no way of knowing whether or not he signed an NDA. Since Apple knows his name, they would know whether or not he had an NDA. If he had signed one, they would have likely changed their charge.

      If there was no NDA, his printing of that information seems legit

    • He openly solicits what odds are are insider info, and odds are those are covered by NDAs, and tells the world, and in California that's a crime.

      1. The word is "tort," not "crime." We're in civil court here, not criminal.

      2. Careful how you bandy about the word "solicit." It has a specific meaning, and I don't think publicly posting an 800 number on a website and requesting information measures up to it.

      3. How were Woodward and Bernstein any different? Weren't they actually more "culpable" since they

    • He openly solicits what odds are are insider info, and odds are those are covered by NDAs, and tells the world, and in California that's a crime.

      Good thing he doesn't live in California.

      Pumping your own gas is illegal where I live in New Jersey, yet I pump it all the time near work in Pennsylvania. If the incident did not happen in the state in which it is a crime, then it isn't a crime, and you're not held accountable for it in that state.
    • > If he's this naive, I want to know who let him into Harvard.

      The same person who let G.W. Bush into Yale.
  • by GillBates0 (664202) on Thursday January 20, 2005 @05:11PM (#11424240) Homepage Journal
    From the official Gross & Belsky LLP website [gbcounsel.com]:

    Terry Gross's bio [gbcounsel.com]

    REPRESENTATIVE CLIENTS [gbcounsel.com]
    O.J. Simpson Complaint Motion for Preliminary Injunction
    Quokka Sports, Inc.
    AlaskaMen Magazine
    Burning Man
    Women Count
    Republic of Cuba and its agencies and instrumentalities
    John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
    Food First
    Edna St. Vincent Millay Society
    Gianni Versace s.P.a.
    Supercuts, Inc.
    Chronicle Books
    Source Health & Mobility

  • heh (Score:5, Informative)

    by kupekhaize (220804) on Thursday January 20, 2005 @05:12PM (#11424251) Homepage
    I think he should do more research in the case before making public statements. Apple isn't suing ThinkSecret to have them stop posting news articles. They're suing to obtain the identity of the Apple Employee(s) who posted internal, confidential, NDA protected items that ThinkSecret published on their website. They're also upset that ThinkSecret was apparently trying to solicit the confidential information from employees to begin with.

    IF the allegation turns out to be true, I'd be pissed, too.
    • You remember the Erin Brockevitch flick, when miss Sexylegs got an earful from an ex-employee who was supposed to shred but didn't?
      She used the info, she knew it was protected by NDAs and all sorts of shit. Yet, in the Public Interest, she used it to win a 300 + Million dollar settlement.

      Now, I'm not sayin' nuthin' about this case, except that from the looks of it, Apple Inc. is trying to restrict Freedom of Speech.

      I'll tell you how:
      I say I can force you to reveal your sources. And I can. So now, your sou
      • ...from the looks of it, Apple Inc. is trying to restrict Freedom of Speech.

        Only if you accept that a nondisclosure agreement -- a contract willingly entered into by two parties -- is a restriction on freedom of speech. You might can probably argue that's true, by defining your terms broadly enough. But in any case, there's no reason to think that this would apply to anything but NDAs, and saying that "Apple is trying to restrict freedom of speech" is a misleading overgeneralization.

        So now, your sources

        • A non-discosure agreement is a restriction on the Freedom of Speech. As part of a contract.

          If I say to you: "Hey Aardv, I'll pay you $50,000USD to work on my software byt you can't tell anyone what you're doing", and you reply: "Sure thing Chris, you've got a deal," we now have a binding agreement and all that Jazz.

          But if you tell your wife about it, and she writes about it on the Net, then what? Am I, your employer of the month, more important than your lifelong partner, the love of your life, the mother
          • Re:heh (Score:3, Insightful)

            by numark (577503)
            Regardless of whether you define the issue as one of "freedom of speech," it doesn't matter in the end. Freedom of speech when abridged by the government is against the Constitution, but there's nothing against companies limiting speech. Indeed, by signing an NDA, you voluntarily gave up your option to freely speak about whatever the contract covers. In return, you get yourself a job. If you speak about something covered under the NDA, you lose your job and get sued in civil court. There's not a thing I can
    • Re:heh (Score:3, Informative)

      by learn fast (824724)
      Apple isn't suing ThinkSecret to have them stop posting news articles. They're suing to obtain the identity of the Apple Employee(s) who posted internal, confidential, NDA protected items that ThinkSecret published on their website.

      Bzzt! Wrong. Try again. Apple wants the identities of those to whom Think Secret was leaked the info, but also claims it was "illegally soliciting Apple employees to violate confidentiality agreements" and they want "an injunction preventing further release of trade secrets." S
      • How do you illegally solicit employees to break their confidentiality agreement? There's nothing illegal (AFAIK) about asking someone to break a contract. It's just an excuse to sue Think Secret so they can obtain the eployee's identities. They're just hoping it stays in court long enough to flush out the leaks.
        • Re:heh (Score:4, Informative)

          by belmolis (702863) <billposer@alum. m i t .edu> on Thursday January 20, 2005 @09:39PM (#11427214) Homepage
          There's nothing illegal (AFAIK) about asking someone to break a contract.

          It isn't a crime, and therefore is not illegal in the strict sense, but yes, inducing someone to break a contract is a tort, something that the injured party can sue you for. It is called tortious interference. Here's a definition [lectlaw.com]. You'll notice that one of the examples it gives is

          having the employees commit wrongs such as disclosing the former employer's trade secrets
  • You're late guys, I found this on ThinkLegal over a week ago.
  • Why not the EFF? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by saddino (183491) on Thursday January 20, 2005 @05:13PM (#11424265)
    From the Seattle Times [nwsource.com]:

    Ciarelli had sought legal help from groups including the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a San Francisco-based organization that Gross has represented in the past.

    The EFF declined to take Ciarelli's case.


    Given that the EFF is defending AppleInder and PowerPage [macobserver.com] in a similar case, the question comes to mind: why not defend ThinkSecret?

    Does anyone know?
    • My guess would be money. The EFF doesn't have the cash to take on all these cases at once. They choose a few battles and then fight them in hopes of setting a precedent. Rest assured, every time they take a case, they're doing it for the greater good and not just for the person being sued... if they took every case people asked them to take, they'd run out of money and not be able to make a difference.
    • EFF.resources infinite
    • by CrankyFool (680025) on Thursday January 20, 2005 @05:21PM (#11424383)
      Three possible reasons come to mind:

      1. The EFF might believe that the AppleInsider suit has less merit than this suit;
      2. The EFF might believe that if the AI suit succeeds, the damage to our rights will be more significant than the damage to our rights if the TS suit succeeds;
      3. The EFF might believe that the suits are substantially similar and are only out to establish a precedent, so it makes no sense to represent both defendants.
    • Re:Why not the EFF? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by learn fast (824724)
      RTFA:

      Gross has been at the center of Internet law since the early days of the net, and served as the first counsel to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a leading advocacy and legal organization that works to defend civil liberties in the technology and electronic communications realm. In one successful case prior to popular use of the Internet, Gross, as special counsel, defended the constitutional rights of publishers to disseminate information they legally obtain, electronically or in print.

      So

  • Legalities ? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cyberfunk2 (656339) on Thursday January 20, 2005 @05:14PM (#11424278)
    Here's the thing I'm wondering about.... if they can prove that think secret enticed employees under NDA to release privledged information, do they then have reason for retribution ?

    That is, is it illegal to encourage someone to break their NDA, even if YOU arent doing the breaking ?
    Wether or not ThinkSecret actually encouraged people or if they came to them with the information is of course another point of contention.
    • is it illegal to encourage someone to break their NDA, even if YOU arent doing the breaking ?

      No it is not. It is, however, illegal to publish or release any information that you have obtained from someone under an NDA that you have reason to believe is a trade secret (in the state of California). Thus the employee probably broke their NDA, and both the employee and AppleInsider broke the law in California.

      • both the employee and AppleInsider broke the law in California.

        but ThinkSecret is run by a guy who lives in Boston, and ThinkSecret the website is registered to the dePlume Organization LLC, a company headquartered in New York... if they don't have a 'nexus' in California, and don't do any business in California, are they bound by California IP law? IANAL, but I'm pretty sure they aren't. Since Ohio passed an anti-gay-marriage law, can I sue gays who get married in Massachusetts in the Cleveland courts
        • ThinkSecret is run by a guy who lives in Boston, and ThinkSecret the website is registered to the dePlume Organization LLC, a company headquartered in New York.

          The locality of the case is indeed an issue. Apple is in California and most likely the informant was as well. New York has trade secret laws at least as strict as California. I'm not sure about Boston, although I do know some lawyers out there who might know. The applicability of all of these laws is certainly questionable but at least one ju

        • Since Ohio passed an anti-gay-marriage law, can I sue gays who get married in Massachusetts in the Cleveland courts

          IANAL Either. However, your metaphor of gay marriage laws is very flawed. See, you can't SUE someone in a Cleveland court for getting married in Massachusetts, etc. I am not familiar with the laws here, but perhaps Ohio doesn't have to recognize the marriage, etc. But you're not even a party to it.

          The Internet, though, causes lots of publication laws to be interpreted differently. If it is

  • Circle the wagons (Score:2, Insightful)

    by stratjakt (596332)
    Everyone tell us how much we respect IP law, and how much we love Apple for showing the rest of the world that "trade secret" commonlaw usurps the Freedom of Speech guaranteed us by the constitution.

    They do, after all, have a neato little touchwheel dealy on the iPod.
    • Apple wants its leaker, so they decide to sue because a website editor in a place not friendly to them revealed a "trade secret" that Apple would reveal publically not long later. For its lawyers' fees, Apple gets...

      1) publicity for its opponents' website.

      2) a black eye for going after people who don't like them

      3) no leaker if he took any sort of precautions.

      So, for the cost of some lawyers, Apple gets to publically crap on the 1st Amendment while not getting their leak plugged. Slick move, guys.

      As an
    • Holy fucking fuck. I love how everyone bitches about losing their constitutionally protected freedom of speech. This isn't about freedom of speech. This isn't the government oppressing dissenters. This is about a company trying to find out which of it's contractually bound, NDA signing employees it needs to slap down. And for the record, I'm an Apple fan, but I'd hate to see them win this. Contract law is a civil matter, and I don't think that journalists should be sued into revealing their sources.
  • Now that Terry Gross is on the case, I'm sure the proper questions will get asked, and I can't wait to hear it on NPR shile I guzzle my coffee in the morning.

    I think it's so cool that radio personalities are able to have careers in the legal profession - I doubt she's getting rich from her NPR gig.

    What? Sure it's the same person! Just gotta be! Right?

    ;-)

    RS

  • Trade Secrets? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rueger (210566) * on Thursday January 20, 2005 @05:21PM (#11424368) Homepage
    Let's engage in little critical thinking here. There may be some argument for protecting trade secrets, but I seem to recall that the last time Apple slapped down [slashdot.org] Think Secret was for talking about products that would be launched in a day or two.

    Given that probably thousands of people had already seen those products (the mac mini and iPod shuffle) it's a bit ridiculous to suggest that Apple suffered any damages whatsoever because of Think Secret's reporting.

    Apple is behaving like a bully - nothing more.
    • Given that probably thousands of people had already seen those products (the mac mini and iPod shuffle) it's a bit ridiculous to suggest that Apple suffered any damages whatsoever because of Think Secret's reporting.

      If ONE person who was going to buy an iMac the day before the conference changed his mind after reading the article, then Apple suffered damages.

      • Yeah, but if ten people decided to buy the MINI based on Thinksecret repots, where is the sales commission?

        It's a two way street.

        ----

        Hey, here I came up with a nifty way to exmplain all that:

        OSS && FREE Software:
        You scratch my back I scratch yours.

        The Corporate World:
        You stab my back I stab yours.
      • Except its impossible to prove someone was planning on buying an apple, and that they decieded to stop because of the article (not just after reading it, but as a direct result of it)
    • Re:Trade Secrets? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by nojomofo (123944) on Thursday January 20, 2005 @05:27PM (#11424435) Homepage
      The problem with your argument is that it's not up for you (or Nick DePlume) to decide when it's okay to release Apple trade secrets. I'm not arguing the merits of going after somebody who didn't sign the NDA. But those were trade secrets, even if it was only a day or 2 before they were to be released to everybody.
    • If a thousand people outside of Apple know what they will release, Apple does not care. When the mainstream press, especially the Wall Street Journal start running articles about it however, especially when they are subjected to criticism which potentially lowers their stock price, then Apple cares. We are talking about a much larger and more financially significant readership than normal computing news sites. Since the Wall St. Journal quoted AppleInsider, it only makes sense to try to get the name of t

  • by Shannon Love (705240) on Thursday January 20, 2005 @05:24PM (#11424405) Homepage
    The ultimate ramification of these cases isn't whether citizen journalists (meaning anyone with a website or blog) will have the same privileges granted "professional" journalists but rather whether any of us will every have any information privacy at all.

    If every individual has a right to publish stolen information with no expectation that they will ever have to reveal how they got that stolen information, then no one's information, no matter how private or trivial to the public interest, will be safe

    Currently, personal and institutional information is protected in two ways: First, access to the information is limited to selected individuals. It is this limitation, enforced by technology like passwords, encryption and physical isolation, that most people think of as information security. The second protection is the contractual and legal obligation that people with access to the information have to not misuse it.

    No matter how elaborate the technological and procedural protections for everyone's information, at some point that information gets viewed by a human being. If we have no legal means of holding those individuals accountable then information security, and the privacy it brings, is a dead letter. Granting everyone, from private individuals to vast commercial interests, the right to disseminate stolen information destroys the second protection utterly. Anyone with access to protected information can steal it and perhaps even sell it with little expectation they will be caught.

    What we have here is a tag team of privacy violation. The thief steals the information and then the publisher "fences" it. Shielding the thief as a "source" could open the floodgates for information theft. Today, we see the violation of Apple's NDAs (Non-Disclosure Agreements) but the same legal concept could just as well apply to an individual's medical and financial data. Even if the actual theft were theoretically illegal, how could one prosecute if the person disseminating your private information had a legal right to protect the identity of the thief?

    The internet changes all the rules. The old style press shield laws won't work in the internet era.

    • Even if the actual theft were theoretically illegal, how could one prosecute if the person disseminating your private information had a legal right to protect the identity of the thief?

      That's easy: Journalism shield laws protect sources of information that are newsworthy. The fact that Apple is going to ship the mac mini? Newsworthy. My prothrombin time test results from last week? Not newsworthy. Why not? Two excellent reasons: I am not a public figure, therefore nothing about my daily life is newsworth

    • Comparing law-protected medical records and contract-protexted trade secrets in this way just doesn't make any sense.

      Unauthorized release of medical records is a crime, and therefore subpeonas may be served and charges of aiding and abetting may be issued.

      Just as we can expect a suspected drug user to reveal his dealer when pressed, we can expect the justice department's usual means to turn out the conpirators in an information theft case.

      Where there is no law on the subject, contractual obligations fill
  • by adzoox (615327) * on Thursday January 20, 2005 @05:26PM (#11424433) Journal
    I started this petition because of the petition for Apple to drop the lawsuit against Nick Ciarelli.

    My petition isn't full of loaded emotional words that irrelevant to the matter.

    Wording and background for the petition:

    To: Apple Computer

    The following represent the level headed Mac faithful who do not appreciate Nick Ciarelli of Think Secret. We understand, by definition, that Nick was outside the bounds of the constitution and outside the limits of journalism. Rumormongering such as Think Secret publishes is harmful to Apple. We understand that "Trade Secret" is important to Apple's business model. We would like Apple to pursue this litigation to send a message to any developer, Apple employee, or industry insider, or beta tester that breach of contract [by breaking your Non Disclosure Agreement] is very serious. We also represent potential customers - we feel such litigation may ease future need for litigation against others who try to take advantage of Apple at our expense (by higher prices). Further, we represent Apple shareholders. As shareholders we believe Think Secret sets financial expectations too high by mixing credible and ficticious rumors, that stock market analysts and major news sources, quote and misquote. This is often detrimental to Apple's stock and quarterly forecasts. ,b>A comment from insanelygreat.com:

    "As an Apple stockholder I do not want anyone releasing detailed information about the company's products until they are ready for market and any new innovations have patents applied for. If Apple didn't sue this individual they would be negligent and subject to lawsuit by investors."

    Most rumors sites are just that - speculators/prognosticators - manufacturers of stories. THIS - I do not see as harmful - and occasionally they are right. Other sites do rumor source by patent application.

    NO OTHER rumor site solicits information by a phone number and regularly quotes sources as "deep with inside Apple"

    NO OTHER website reports (firsthand) about the reseller lawsuit and knows the intimate details such as Think Secret

    Plain and simple. Information about Apple products acquired on the Apple campus is Apple's property. You take Steve Jobs stapler from the Apple campus and tell a friend they can have it and they obviously can see you stole it or you say, "Yeah, I swiped it when he wasn't looking" - you are in receipt of stolen property. You are an accessory to a crime.

    If you solicit and receive information that is a trade secret - that information belongs to Apple - if you choose to capitalise on that information you are an accessory to the process of theft.

    It is NO different.

    And I really wish everyone would stop saying rumormongering is journalism. Do you all have the same opinion of The Enquirer or The Weekly World? Is that journalism?

    Further, understand that this ALL hurts Apple's relations with developers. I doubt seriously if I would want to be involved with Apple if I had something they wanted or wanted me to cooperate with them on. It's too much drama.
  • Is Apple good this week, or evil? Between Apple and IBM I'm not sure anymore which corporations we're supposed to hate.

    *removes tongue from cheek*
  • "Apple's attempt to silence a small publication's news reporting presents a troubling affront to the protections of the First Amendment..."
    NOOOO! Boy, you've got a lot to learn.... This is 2005! Referring to the Constitution is so 20th century! Big no-no! "First amendment" sounds like a hippie to begin with!

    Next try, back to square one: greenbacks ready, spot the pockets!

  • From the article:

    > "I'm grateful that Mr. Gross has stepped forward to help defend these crucial freedoms."

    'Cuz all of a sudden Apple went berserk, the lawsuits startef flying, and these crucial freedoms just disappeared. All of 'em. And they were really good freedoms.

    (I had to take the site down and rewrite it really quickly. Needless to say, my rushed website wasn't nearly as good, and I blame Steve Jobs for the grade I got.)

  • Which is worse? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by xgyro (553902) on Thursday January 20, 2005 @05:36PM (#11424556)
    There is something truly wrong if Apple can get this kid to divulge the source of his "leaker" when comparatively, Robert Novak can leak the name of an undercover CIA agent any not have to divulge his source? Tell me if I'm wrong here. I am not a political beast, however I am an Apple fan and this is just an outright atrocity in our society. How can we hold some 19 year old to the fire over something as minor as this and we can have no accountability to such things as the Robert Novak affair? And heck he is STILL employed at CNN!
    • There is something truly wrong if Apple can get this kid to divulge the source of his "leaker" when comparatively, Robert Novak can leak the name of an undercover CIA agent any [sic] not have to divulge his source?

      It's a question of friends in high places.

      What Robert Novak did is a crime and needs to be prosecuted by the federal government. The problem is that he (allegedly) did what he did on behalf of the people at the top of the branch of the federal government that needs to do the prosecuting, so h

  • Apple's attempt to silence a small publication's news reporting [...]

    Maybe I'm missing something here, but I just don't get what the ruckus is about this suit. Calling the ThinkSecret publications that caused this suit "news reporting" seems disingenuous to me. Why? Because TS' model seems to be to solicit insider information from within Apple, likely in violation of both trade secret law and the hiring/IP contracts of those who leaked the information. Also, Apple's main aim in this is to find the lea
    • I would hesitate to label as "solicitation," in the legal sense of the word, the act of posting a phone number on a web site and merely requesting information.

      Of course, IANAL, but I think "solicitation" that rises to the level of a tort would have to involve something akin to a briefcase of unmarked bills.

      As for the line between "news reporting" and blogs... guess what: As far as the constitution goes, there IS NO DIFFERENCE. What, do you think the 1st ammendment requires you to buy a permit first or som
    • where is the line between "news reporting" and "any random schmoe with a blog/website"?

      I do not think their is or should be any such distinction. Anyone is a news reporter whenever they report news. Reporters are not, however, above the law. They have certain protections in whistleblower cases, but this is a straight-up contract dispute with no health concern, criminal activity, or overriding public interest to excuse breaking a legal contract. ThinkSecret can write whatever they want, and Apple has no

  • by amichalo (132545) on Thursday January 20, 2005 @05:51PM (#11424776)
    The thrill of the Apple rumor mill, particularly around Mac World in January, is intoxicating to me.

    But that said, I do think there is a line between freedom of speach and soliciting priviledged information from people you know shouldn't be talking to you.

    It isn't enough to say "I have annonymous source e-mail". If you are going to be a reporter, then there are ethics involved. Getting the scoop on a story by any means doesn't cut it for me.

    Plus, did you see how wildly Apple's stock was swinging around all these rumors? we are talking 7% in a day market cap swings - that is big stuff for a teenager to be toying with.
  • by iroll (717924) on Thursday January 20, 2005 @06:00PM (#11424892) Homepage
    What if somebody stole a manuscript for the next Harry Potter book, or StarWars Episode III, and slipped it to "ThinkPotter" or "ThinkJedi.com," who promptly posted it on the internet? Would they be silly enough to claim 1st Amendment protection?? Does this make them 'journalists' who got a 'scoop'? NO! They are scoring a quick buck and some notoriety, profitting from stolen goods!

    What about distributing sensitive classified government documents, such as the names of undercover agents, on "ThinkCIA.com"? When they get offed, and the feddies come knocking, you will be free to argue your 1st Amendment rights to yourself for the rest of your life while you rot in solitary confinement.

    ThinkSecret redistributed stolen, protected information. This is not protected speech. In this case ThinkSecret are not journalists, they are accomplices!! And accomplices that **profited** from their actions, I might add!

    The only event in which this *would* be protected speech would be if the stolen information exposed some crime in Apple, in which case whistleblower laws would protect the informants. Get a clue, gentlemen: the 1st Amendment does not give you unlimited rights to broadcast whatever you want. It does not protect you from having your trolls deleted by forum mods, or your letter to the editor from being thrown away unpublished. It protects you against being censored by the **government** for spreading your political and/or religious beliefs, even if they are contrary to what the govt. is promoting. THAT is your freedom, not the right to post warez, not the right to break your NDA, and not the right to take a handoff from somebody that breaks THEIR NDA and make a pocketfull of cash on it. You don't have to be a lawyer to know this; paying any attention in High School Govt. class (for US citizens) should be background enough.
    • Oh, please. If somebody posted stolen CIA documents on the internet, then that's not only a potential national security issue, but it could cost people their lives.

      The ThinkSecret thing? All that amounts to is a website saying "Hey, Appleites, if you've got any cool info you want to share with us, here's the email address to send it to!"

      And that harms? Exactly nobody.

      Oooh, a corporation may experience a tiny fluctuation in its share value, and as a result a bunch of fatcat fucks may lose a tiny, tiny

    • This is different in that posting the next Harry Potter book or Star Wars release would be distributing copyrighted material (and let's not get into THAT argument here, please).

      Posting an article with the specs for a new product is not (unless said article is accompanied by copyrighted text and/or pictures), even though Apple tried to slap Think Secret with a C&D anyway. Not having seen the offending site, I can't say for sure if he had posted such materials or not.

    • by Otto (17870)
      What if somebody stole a manuscript for the next Harry Potter book, or StarWars Episode III, and slipped it to "ThinkPotter" or "ThinkJedi.com," who promptly posted it on the internet?

      Well, for one thing, those would be protected by copyright law.

      ThinkSecret redistributed stolen, protected information. This is not protected speech. In this case ThinkSecret are not journalists, they are accomplices!! And accomplices that **profited** from their actions, I might add!

      The question is whether this sort of
  • Obviously, they are suing a "press agency" for the name of their source. And in the present climate where TV reporter Jim Taricanti [pennywit.com] gets jail time for protecting his source for a videotape that showed a Rhode Island official taming a bribe, Apple may have a strong case.

    In Taricanti's case, he works for a television station and their broadcast spectrum, being held "in public trust" may limit his rights under the Constitution where freedom of the press is concerned. But the US Supreme Court found in its exa [ciec.org]

  • by daveschroeder (516195) * on Thursday January 20, 2005 @06:18PM (#11425100)
    Here's the problem many people overlook: many states have specific laws making it illegal to divulge information from someone where it can be reasonably known or assumed that a binding confidentiality agreement was breached. (Don't like the law(s)? That's another discussion altogether and has nothing to do with the first amendment.)

    What remains to be seen is what, if any, of these laws apply, and whether or not the laws of Massachusetts, California, federal, etc., can be applied to this case.

    And, as many people have said, they don't really care about Nick Ciarelli (yes, for those who don't know, he's 19 year old [washingtonpost.com] Harvard student [thecrimson.com]). They care about finding out who within the company (or contractor, etc.) is continually leaking this extremely accurate information to Think Secret. And no, it's not "known" elsewhere. He's got a very reliable mole, or a set of them, and Apple wants to know who they are. Hint: yes, these are people who definitely have binding confidentiality agreements with Apple.

    Regardless of whether or not Apple "should" or "shouldn't" be doing this, whether it's good PR or not, etc., if you can't see that it's wrong, legally and ethically, for these people to be leaking this information, then, well, we have nothing further to discuss. Further, whether or not Nick should be publishing it is a subject of further debate, but he's the one person who knows who these people are. Is it journalism and free speech when you violate laws (the one I spoke of in the first paragraph) to obtain information? Ignorance of the law is no excuse...

    And remember, whether or not you fundamentally *agree* with the law is irrelevant. It's either illegal, or not. (Yes, yes, sure, there's gray areas, but that's not the point I'm making. And sure, maybe Nick "fighting it" in this way is one mechanism to examine the validity of these laws, and further, the role of an online journalist and his information gathering mechanisms, what can be construed as soliciting known confidential information, what constitutes a violation of these laws in this context, etc.)

    Just some things to think about.
    • Here's the problem many people overlook: many states have specific laws making it illegal to divulge information from someone where it can be reasonably known or assumed that a binding confidentiality agreement was breached. (Don't like the law(s)? That's another discussion altogether and has nothing to do with the first amendment.)

      Sometimes its nessasary to break the law to get it overturned. Secondly, what reason should I have to follow a law that does not have the publics interest at heart? Laws are m

      • by daveschroeder (516195) * on Thursday January 20, 2005 @06:57PM (#11425615)
        You see it as a zero sum game, don't you? It's either Public, or Profit, and nowhere in between. No information should be kept secret, and all information should be free.

        I hate to tell you this, but there's a balance. And sometimes the concept of "Profit" of "Corporations" - those who employ the Public - is good for that same Public. Sometimes the protection of the mechanisms that make us a prosperous society and protect the concept of fair competition are good for that same society.

        Don't talk about information as if it's some fanciful abstract thing that should fly free as red breasted robins now that we have the amazing Interweb. You make a gentleman's agreement with your employer to not leak his secrets to the world, you fucking keep it. You don't surreptitiously break it, secretly leaking private information that you have been TOLD is private, and asked not to leak, as a condition of your employ, for years to feed your own sense of selfishness, or self righteousness, or self confidence.

        Just because it's easy to do something doesn't mean you should do it. Please tell me how it is inappropriate for a business to want to keep its own ideas secret. If you're just one of those anti-corporate anti-business types, or think all information should always be free and unlimited under all circumstances, then you needn't reply, because we'll be in fundamental disagreement.
  • by michaeldot (751590) on Thursday January 20, 2005 @06:35PM (#11425336)
    In other news, 500,000 parents are suing their offspring for divulging secrets to siblings on what they're getting for Christmas.

    Instigator of the lawsuit, Mr S. Claus, stated, "Spoiling the surprise has got to stop. It is unacceptable to have emotional distress brought to parents on being told on Christmas morning: 'Old news, mom, I already knew about the bike and baseball bat after Jimmy told me he'd found them under your bed weeks ago.' "

    "Furthermore," said Mr Claus, "divulging trade secrets has materially harmed the company North Pole Elf-Made Cool Stuff Inc., to the extent no one believes we can offer surprises any more, completely undermining our attempt to provides an alternative to South Pole Leprechaun Fools Gold Inc., which controls 98% of the Christmas gift market."

    Mr Claus also stated, "and on personal note, it sucks to have my surprise stolen, and means my annual North Pole World Keynote just has 'get to the cheap reindeer bit' catcalls instead of its usual gurgles of childish delight."

    The class action seeks to force the blabbermouths to disclose who told them to look on the top shelf of the closet.
  • by digitalgimpus (468277) on Thursday January 20, 2005 @06:59PM (#11425641) Homepage
    I've got mixed feelings on this.

    From one point of view, I agree Apple is being a bit of a hardass about this. This isn't the only site leaking news. As I recall Hitachi leaked that Apple signed to purchase 60GB mini drives (now used on iPod photo). One of the IC manufacturers said that Apple signed on some flash memory technology... etc. etc. etc.

    I didn't see big lawsuits on those. And lets not forget about Time revealing the new iMac.

    on the other hand...

    I do believe that Think Secret has been itching to get accurate insider details. And in recent years have had way to much accuracy.

    Take a look at their contact page for a great example of how eager they are:
    http://www.thinksecret.com/contact/ [thinksecret.com]

    voicemail, fax, email, online form, postal...

    any method under the sun. I can't think of any other news organization so willing to cater to potential informants.

    A company does have a right to use Non Disclosure Agreements to keep trade secrets. Every company does it. It's normal business. I can't think of one company that doesn't do it. Even non-profits have to do it.

    Soliciting someone to break it isn't ethical. That's the bottom line. And it's not really freedom of speach.

    Encouraging someone to commit an illegal act or break a legal agreement isn't good.

    Someone who hires a hitman to kill his spouse isn't any better than someone who does it themself. Encouraging people to do your dirty work doen't make you any better than the guilty party.

    IMHO this is a pretty simple case... and will likely be settled out of court. I can't see ThinkSecret standing up in court... they have no real defense. This isn't freedom of speach anymore than saying you have a bomb on a plane.

    They will settle on undisclosed terms, ThinkSecret will walk away with it's tail between it's legs covering it's severed ball-less scrotum.

    Thinksecret will re-invent itself a bit, and stay clear of this activity... all will be happy.

    There not going to court. ThinkSecret can't be that stupid. They have no defense that won't cause a judge to (literally) laugh at them.
  • by catdevnull (531283) on Thursday January 20, 2005 @07:04PM (#11425698)

    If anything, I think Steve does not like anything that ruins his mystique as the giver of all things "Ooh and Ahh." As "punishment" to the rumor-mongering hordes of the internet, Steve banished the entire lot of 'net users from viewing his keynote at Macworld.

    Three simple rules for "How NOT to get sued by Steve's Apple machine":
    • Don't steal Steve's thunder (case in point of this thread)
    • Don't post pictures or anything else that might be "trade secrets" (or unreleased Apple products).
    • Don't make a product that looks anything like an Apple product

    He's not the world's richest man, but he has lawyers and a penchant to unleash them on people who f**k with his world.

    It might be one's right to contradict the above caveats, however, beware: Just because you can, doesn't mean you should and just because you think you should doesn't mean you're right. Of course, this axiom goes both ways, but good luck when dealing with a megalamaniac who runs a large company with lots of cash.

    Your mileage may vary. Void where prohibited.

You can do more with a kind word and a gun than with just a kind word. - Al Capone

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