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Apple vs Bloggers 271

Posted by Zonk
from the a-doesn't-like-b dept.
Moby Cock writes "Jason O'Grady has posted a story on his ZDNet blog detailing the state of the current legal trouble he is embroiled in with Apple. He views it as another salvo in Apple's efforts to stamp out rumour sites posting 'trade secrets' prior to the official announcements. The discussion becomes rather pointed and goes as far as to suggest that the case is really a case in support of freedom of the press." From the article: "At issue was a series of stories that I ran in October 2004 about an upcoming product that was in development. Was it the next great PowerBook? Maybe the a red hot iPod? Maybe a killer new version of the OS? Nah. The stories about a FireWire breakout box for GarageBand, code-named 'Asteroid.' Yawn."
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Apple vs Bloggers

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  • Its still illegal (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 10, 2006 @06:56PM (#15102451)
    "...yawn.".

    Whether or not the product in question was exciting doesn't make it any more legal to report trade secrets.
    • It's not illegal. If anything, he would be liable for getting someone under confidence or NDA to breach. But the reporting itself should be fine.
      • Re:Its still illegal (Score:3, Informative)

        by burndive (855848)
        It's not illegal.
        Yes. It is [tscm.com].
        • But it isn't a trade secret once your employee tells it to a reporter. Right?
          • Wrong, it means the employee violated the law too.
            • Re:Its still illegal (Score:5, Informative)

              by ehrichweiss (706417) on Monday April 10, 2006 @08:45PM (#15102972)
              Actually depending on the circumstances, the employee may be the only one breaking any law. Since it's not known who told him or how, it could have been overheard in an elevator which would make him innocent of any wrongdoing. Theft of trade secrets involves KNOWINGLY spreading trade secrets and there are plenty of ways he might not have known.
            • Re:Its still illegal (Score:5, Informative)

              by dwandy (907337) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @06:12AM (#15104578) Homepage Journal
              From TFA:
              My position on the Asteroid postings is that I didn't steal the information and I didn't ask for it. Someone volunteered it to me and it looked credible, so I posted it. It wasn't marked confidential, trade secret or any such thing but it looked legit to me, so I ran it. When Apple later asked me to remove it, I complied.
              The Law [tscm.com] (emphasis mine)
              In General.-- Whoever, intending or knowing that the offense will benefit any foreign government, foreign instrumentality, or foreign agent, knowingly-- (3) receives, buys, or possesses a trade secret, knowing the same to have been stolen or appropriated, obtained, or converted without authorization
              So assuming he doesn't get journalist protection (which imho he should, and in which case this entire case is pretty much moot), then they have to prove that he knew it was obtained without authorization. Since he says it wasn't marked, and he wasn't told, unless they can prove otherwise, I'd say Apple is SOL... 'course IANAL. :)

              I'm going to assume that Apple doesn't so much want him, as the for him to give up the source so they can lay some real hurt...

          • And your medical information is no longer privileged when your doctor tells his wife. Right?

            Or your lawyer his. Right?

            Thought not.

            • I would sue the pants off my doctor.

              Or my lawyer.

              Not their wives.
              • You wouldn't enjoin their wives if their wives made money from publishing what they knew to be privileged?

                If said doctor told his wife something, who then told, for example, a prosecutor, to be used in a case against you, it'd still be inadmissable even though the wife has no relation to you, because the court recognises the 'privilege' of the information at any point, not just at the point of privilege. In this case, that wife knowingly funnelling privileged information could very easily find herself under

              • by 1155 (538047) on Monday April 10, 2006 @09:36PM (#15103208) Homepage
                I would sue the pants off my doctor. Or my lawyer. Not their wives.
                I think I would have it the other way around.
          • by Firehed (942385)
            But surely rumors about a true video iPod or vanilla MacBook aren't trade secrets, just theoretical upcoming product releases, right? It's not as if Think Secret et al are posting how to reverse-engineer iTMSv6 FairPlay, which most definately would be a trade secret, not to mention DMCA violation. While I can't say I love Apple protecting release info like they do, they have every right to do so, but calling release data 'trade secrets' to make rumor sites illegal is crossing the line imo.
            • As far as I remember they posted actual photos of an actual product (I think it was the Mac Mini) before it was even announced by Apple.

              Information of products in developement or future product of companies prior to their announcement pretty much fall into the category trade secrets.

              I dare you to post some photos of the next Mercedes prototype for their Perpetuum Mobile model which will come out late 2007... oops, just caught myself being a little talkative, sorry.
              • Re:Its still illegal (Score:4, Informative)

                by Draveed (664730) on Monday April 10, 2006 @11:00PM (#15103544)
                Here, enjoy. Spy shots of a 2008 Mercedes C-Class [thecarconnection.com]. And for good measure, spy shots for the 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe [thecarconnection.com].

                Neither Mercedes or GM seems to be suing The Car Connection or Brenda Priddy, the woman who took the photos. Is this different from posting pictures of a Mac Mini before its announcement?

                • Is this different from posting pictures of a Mac Mini before its announcement?

                  Well I can't speak for Chevy, I don't think Mercedes is trying to put one of their fancy-ass cars in every home. And while that would definately be setting your hopes high, it's a lot more realistic for a $600 computer that's smaller than many hardcover books than a many-thousand dollar vehicle which would be redundant for most of the population (when was the last breakthrough with vehicles? automatic transmissions?) Of course

            • by tgma (584406)
              They are trade secrets, because presumably that information would be useful to Apple's competitors. For instance, Dell, or Microsoft could plan competing product announcements for that day.

              Also, if the news gets out that Apple is about to issue a new product, then sales of Apple's analogous products will fall. So Apple has to play a finely balanced game of only announcing new products when they can be sure of getting them to market on time.

              All of these are major issues for Apple's business, and Apple h
        • The only possible offense could be that he received or attempted to receive a trade secret that he knew to be stolen - which probably could not be proven and which is not what Apple is suing him over. Anyways, there's still no prohibition on publication, which is what I was referring to.
          • 18 USC 1832(a)(2) does make it illegal to publish a trade secret. It's obviously unconstitutional at least as applied to publication if not on its face, but you'll never get the Robed 9 to agree.

            1832. Theft of trade secrets

            (a) Whoever, with intent to convert a trade secret, that is related to or included in a product that is produced for or placed in interstate or foreign commerce, to the economic benefit of anyone other than the owner thereof, and intending or knowing that the offense will , injure any

            • How is that _obviously_ unconstitutional?

              To help me calibrate: Is yelling "fire" in a crowded movie theatre _obviously_ unconstitutional as well?
              • Yelling "fire" in a crowded movie theatre is obviously not unconstitutional. The opinion which claimed such as an example of unprotected speech was a disgusting piece of law; it was a ruling that distributing pamphlets claiming that the draft was unconstitutional was not protected by the constitution.

                Anyway, the reason the law is unconsitutional as applied to publication is pretty simple; it's a law directly restricting freedom of the press. Remember "Congress shall make no law..."?
                • > Remember "Congress shall make no law..."?

                  Sure do.

                  Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

                  It treats the press and speech pretty equally there. So, I'm not convinced that the "fire" restriction is appreciably more constitutional based just on the 1st Ammendment.

                  What is it th
            • Keep in mind, that only applies to conversion of trade secrets, which would probably require actual knowledge that the published information was actually a trade secret.
              • Not knowing that you are breaking the law doesn't protect you from prosecution. Otherwise all Dutch people in the US could smoke weed without punishment, saying "I didn't know it was illegal, it's perfectly legal where I come from".

                See?
                • It absolutely does if that knowledge is an element of the crime itself. Example: the difference between voluntary and involuntary manslaughter. Notably, most possession laws do not require knowledge of possession as an element of the offense.
                • by dwandy (907337)
                  Actually, to make a fine point, it's ignorance of the law that is not a defence.
                  In this case, it's ignorance that the material in question is a trade secret. You need to know and profit and/or cause damange and some other bits. There's already several links in this thread to the law [tscm.com] if you want to read it for your self.
        • he didn't intend, or didn't know that the offense would injure the owner of that trade secret. It's not clear that Apple has suffered any injury (although they'll no doubt claim they have), but that is for the court to decide.

          What he did is not a crime at this time, as that has yet to be proven. You are not a court, and you are not able to pronounce judgement.

          • Re:Not if... (Score:5, Informative)

            by vought (160908) on Monday April 10, 2006 @08:42PM (#15102957)
            he didn't intend, or didn't know that the offense would injure the owner of that trade secret. It's not clear that Apple has suffered any injury (although they'll no doubt claim they have), but that is for the court to decide.

            Jason O'Grady has been publishing leaks about unreleased Apple products for over ten years. I'd say he knows exactly what he did, and that it was against the law.
        • From your link:
          "In General.-- Whoever, intending or knowing that the offense will benefit any foreign government, foreign instrumentality, or foreign agent, knowingly--"[emphasis mine]
      • The question is whether Steve Jobs authorized the leak. Cause then it's not a leak. Well, it is still a leak, but not one of those illegal kind. But then, of course, reporting it would be encouraged, cause, remember, it's not really a leak (the illegal kind, that is).
    • Ignoring whether or not it is legal, and whether or not it should be legal, it seems to me as though Apple are doing something stupid, here.

      Whenever something is brewing from Google, many rumours fly around, and lots of buzz is generated. Very often, one of the rumours is the real product, but lots of buzz is generated because no one really knows for sure what is coming. It seems Apple are naturally attaining the same position as Google - lots of buzz is being generated about Apple products. That is, until
      • But when Apple squashes rumour sites, and news of it gets published, wouldn't you say even more buzz is created? "If Apple stopped this, maybe there's something to it? OMG! I can't wait to see! Ponies!"
      • Apple are morons for doing this. They should be slowly stirring the pot, like Google is. It generates speculation, excites potential customers, and probably even reveals some good future product ideas in the process! I've never seen rumours subtract from the effectiveness of a Google product launch, and I see no reason why it should be any different for Apple.

        *flamesuit on*
        The key difference between Google and Apple is that Apple is an exterior trend. Their products are generally physically inferior (as
    • Whether or not the product in question was exciting doesn't make it any more legal to report trade secrets.

      Yet because no real equivalent of an Offical Secrets Act exists in the United States, it is legal to disclose any secret dealings of the US Government. It is legal to publish leaks from the White House for example, or the Pentagon Papers.

      How strange that the trite dealings of private companies are afforded more clandestine protections that the secret wranglings of the government, or indeed the private
  • by Anonymous Crowhead (577505) on Monday April 10, 2006 @06:59PM (#15102462)
    Doesn't make them not trade secrets.
    • Putting quotes around "trade secrets" doesn't make them not trade secrets.
      Telling them to a reporter does though.
      • Putting quotes around "trade secrets" doesn't make them not trade secrets.

        Telling them to a reporter does though.

        The main difference between a reporter and a blogger is that a reporter has the company lawyers to back him/her up.

        If it was really as simple as "tell a reporter the trade secrets", then wouldn't it make sense for every big corporation to put out a newspaper/magazine and have a few reporters on the payroll to collect trade secrets? Corporate espionage happens & it'd be a lot simpler if disgr

      • by dr.badass (25287) on Monday April 10, 2006 @07:42PM (#15102681) Homepage
        Putting quotes around "trade secrets" doesn't make them not trade secrets. Telling them to a reporter does though.

        Actually, according to the Uniform Trade Secrets Act [nsi.org], it doesn't:

        (2) "Misappropriation " means: (i) acquisition of a trade secret of another by a person who knows or has reason to know that the trade secret was acquired by improper means; or (ii) disclosure or use of a trade secret of another without express or implied consent by a person who (A) used improper means to acquire knowledge of the trade secret; or (B) at the time of disclosure or use knew or had reason to know that his knowledge of the trade secret was (I) derived from or through a person who has utilized improper means to acquire it; (II) acquired under circumstances giving rise to a duty to maintain its secrecy or limit its use; or (III) derived from or through a person who owed a duty to the person seeking relief to maintain its secrecy or limit its use; or (C) before a material change of his position, knew or had reason to know that it was a trade secret ad that knowledge of it had been acquired by accident or mistake.

        Given that rumor sites operate on the principle of soliciting inside information, it's hard to make the case that they didn't know they had gotten some unless they admit that most of what they print isn't inside information (i.e., that they make it up).
        • One thing to consider is that companies intentionally "leak" information all the time, especially in the computer industry where FUD is a common marketing tactic. Even Apple "leaked" their Intel plans to the WSJ and ZDNet, so they are not exempt to this rule.

          So how is a publisher supposed to know if a bit of info is an illicit trade secret, or simply a marketing whisper campaign? At the very least it's plausible denability.
    • Putting quotes around "trade secrets" Doesn't make them not trade secrets.

      And putting a law around "Trade Secrets" doesn't make them constitutionally protected.

      If the government gives a corporation the 'right' to take away my constitutional rights, that's a government action -- even if by proxy.

  • by Eugenia Loli (250395) on Monday April 10, 2006 @06:59PM (#15102465) Homepage Journal
    Thom at OSNews also posted his opinion on an editorial published yesterday:
    http://www.osnews.com/story.php?news_id=14282 [osnews.com]
    • Thom at OSNews also posted his opinion on an editorial published yesterday: here [osnews.com]

      In that editorial he compares people killed for expressing their opinions to Apple suing "non-professional" journalists over exposing trade secrets. This is an absurd comparison. Apple has sued both professional and "non-professional" journalists for exposing trade secrets, they don't discriminate.

      What these journalists are doing is illegal, individuals and corporations have the right to protect their own internal products

  • by AWhiteFlame (928642) on Monday April 10, 2006 @07:02PM (#15102483) Homepage
    > red hot ipod.

    And people thought black didn't really match the iMacs.
  • by ajakk (29927)
    I feel symphathy for Apple on this one. Apple makes it money by getting behind innovative products that sell well. They need to be able to project an image that they will not tolerate people releasing their trade secrets, because Apple loses significant amounts of money to people cloning their products. While a Firewire breakout box isn't a big deal, think of the amount of money that people make putting out unlicensed accessories for the iPod. Apple wants to have some time while its product is out on th
    • by venicebeach (702856) on Monday April 10, 2006 @07:10PM (#15102518) Homepage Journal
      Yes, but the lawsuit involves a more subtle issue: who is responsible, the insider violated an NDA and leaked the info, or the person who reports on the leaked info? O'grady claims that the information was not specifically requested, and he merely reported on it when it was passed along to him. That's why they are framing it as a journalistic freedom issue. Definitely a gray area...
      • "Is this under an NDA?"
        and banish this one from his vocabulary:
        "Gosh, it looks legit. I think I'll tell the world."
        Really. I can't believe that people who make it their business to report inside news can't understand or be sensitive to the notion that much heck, most - of what's not on the Apple press page is probably under NDA.
        If it never occurred to you that any Apple employee that has detailed knowledge of unreleased products JUST MIGHT be breaking the contract and possibly law - then you need to revie
      • Yes, but the lawsuit involves a more subtle issue: who is responsible, the insider violated an NDA and leaked the info, or the person who reports on the leaked info?

        Obviously the person who leaked the information in the first place, because they were in the position of trust.

        Which is exactly why ALL Apple is suing over is to get the documents originally sent to the blogger, so they can find out who the leaker is and sue HIM (sorry, could be HER I guess) for damages.

        If journalists do not get special protecti
      • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @08:53AM (#15105263)

        Yes, but the lawsuit involves a more subtle issue: who is responsible, the insider violated an NDA and leaked the info, or the person who reports on the leaked info?

        In most places, the law says they are both guilty.

        That's why they are framing it as a journalistic freedom issue. Definitely a gray area...

        This is only a "gray area" to those who haven't done any research. Different types of speech have different levels of protection. Political expression has the highest level of protection. Commercial has the lowest. These people are making money doing this and hurting another company. But that is not why this is illegal. It is illegal because of the following hypothetical:

        Bob works for big company A. Tom is an investor. Tom pays Bob (the poor working grunt) $1000 to give him insider information. Tom publishes said information causing company A's stock to plummet. Bob is convicted and goes to jail. Fifty people are laid off. Investors in company A lose their shirts. Tom makes a bajillion dollars by having invested in Company B and shorting company A's stock. Tom is guilty of no crime and starts looking for another desperate person, we'll call her Jane.

        Do you understand why they decided to make it against the law to knowingly publish trade secrets, especially when you are profiting from it?

    • by penguin-collective (932038) on Monday April 10, 2006 @07:11PM (#15102534)
      They need to be able to project an image that they will not tolerate people releasing their trade secrets, because Apple loses significant amounts of money to people cloning their products. While a Firewire breakout box isn't a big deal, think of the amount of money that people make putting out unlicensed accessories for the iPod.

      My, of course, you should have to get a license to sell products! Those evil add-on companies are even daring to ship their accessories in white, without a license!!!

      As for "cloning", Apple constantly clones other companies. It's the way business works. It's a good thing. If it weren't for the stuff Apple can copy freely, Apple products wouldn't be as good, since, although Apple engineers are pretty good, they can't invent everything by themselves.
      • I am not saying that people shouldn't be able to clone Apple products. I just think that Apple deserves to have some lead time before the clones come out. If Apple wanted to, they could patent everything and its brother and start a stringent enforcement campaign of its patents. So, I don't have a problem with Apple getting a few weeks of exclusivity between it and its licensees for its products. They get this couple of weeks by keeping their trade secrets actually secret as close to release as they can.
        • I just think that Apple deserves to have some lead time before the clones come out

          Well, then Apple should make sure their employees aren't talking; they shouldn't go after random people once the cat is out of the bag.

          If Apple wanted to, they could patent everything and its brother and start a stringent enforcement campaign of its patents.

          That's exactly what Apple has been doing. It's just that most of the things from Apple people like you oooh and aaah about aren't patentable--either they are obvious, or t
    • by multiOSfreak (551711) <culturejam&gmail,com> on Monday April 10, 2006 @09:07PM (#15103064) Homepage Journal
      Apple loses significant amounts of money to people cloning their products.

      Yes, but to be fair, it does take MicroSoft abour 24 to 36 months to re-innovate Apple's design features into their products. That's plenty of time for Apple to make money and then release new innovations. :)
    • by incabulos (55835)
      They need to be able to project an image that they will not tolerate people releasing their trade secrets

      They can project images all they want, but the legal reality is they have no authority to demand takedowns or threaten anyone. Patents are how they protect interfaces and devices from people that may clone them ( and then they have to be sufficiently unique and ingenious before the device in question is eligable for patent ), not Trade Secrets.

      The bottom line is, Apple are the ones behaving in a criminal
  • by dada21 (163177)
    1. Don't tell anyone who can't keep a secret.
    2. If you tell someone in the media and they leak it, cut them off from future trade secrets.
    3. Realize that telling the media in advance of a product's release can be positive even if secrets are leaked -- giving an inside scoop can get you more media coverage upon release.

    The idea of trying to protect a secret once you give it away is ludicrous. Even under a contract it is hard to enforce as Party A can tell it to their cousin who can post about it. If you wa
    • The problem with your number 1 is that Apple doesn't know who's leaking the info, hence the lawsuits to determine the sources. The problem with number 2 is that Apple isn't telling the media anything prior to the planned announcements of their products. The problem with your number 3 is that it's up to sanctioned people at Apple to determine this, not the public, not these websites, not employees at Apple.
    • by Space cowboy (13680) * on Monday April 10, 2006 @07:52PM (#15102722) Journal
      The problem with (1) is that Apple is a *big* company. They have lots of people working for them, most of whom will know *something* about some secret project/gizmo/whatever.

      Apple has a strong tradition of corporate secrecy, but what *exactly* can they do if some employee lets something slip after a few too many drinks, or for money, or for the "thrill" of revealing an exclusive ? I mean, it's not as though they're going to send 'steve@apple.com' an email the next morning confessing all, is it ?

      From what I read earlier on digg, although he makes a big deal about the money Apple make/have in the bank, he's not being sued for cash or penalities, he's being sued to reveal his source, because it's the only way Apple can find and fire the guilty employee.

      As for 'first amendment rights' being abused, I thought they were only rights that the government couldn't abuse, not that any limits on civil suits by corporations were imposed, but hell, I'm a bloody foreigner, so I'm probably wrong.

      Simon
      • The problem with (1) is that Apple is a *big* company. They have lots of people working for them, most of whom will know *something* about some secret project/gizmo/whatever.

        Apple is pretty compartmentalized - while I'm sure everyone knows *something* is coming, I'd be willing to bet that very few people have all the details.

        One example: I'd be surprised if anyone besides ID, testing and the ad agency knew what a new product was actually going to look like until several days before release. Which explains
        • I wasn't trying to suggest everyone knows everything, what I meant was that there is/was such a culture of corporate secrecy at Apple, that pretty much all new development is secret. So anyone working on anything new is probably in the position of knowing something valuable to the rumour sites...

          Witness this boot-camp thing: apparently it's the 10.4.6 update that gives the ability to repartition the drive non-destructively. So the developers working on that were key to Boot Camp being possible.

          And by valuab
      • As for 'first amendment rights' being abused, I thought they were only rights that the government couldn't abuse, not that any limits on civil suits by corporations were imposed, but hell, I'm a bloody foreigner, so I'm probably wrong.

        You are probably correct, but allowing courts to rule, even in civil cases, on speech issues is effectively a government endorsement of the restriction of freedom of speech, as it is a government entity (the courts) enforcing a decision upon the individual, etcetera.

    • When I was at Apple, I had no problem keeping secrets from leaking from Engineering. Every time I disclosed information to a new person on the project http://www.apple.com/airport/ [apple.com], I started the meeting by saying that if you spoke to anyone about this project you would be fired. Remarkably, no problems.
    • "Three people can keep a secret if two of them are dead."
  • Yawn yourself... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by monktus (742861) on Monday April 10, 2006 @07:09PM (#15102510)
    Just because the product in question isn't about the new 8 GHz opticore PowerBook, a yawn certainly isn't necessary. In fact, a FireWire interface from Apple would be pretty damn exciting news. Remember that one of Apple's strongest niches is in music production; not only have Macs been the industry standard platform for pro audio for years, Apple of course now own Logic. A FireWire audio interface would be a smart move, especially since Digidesign's recent purchase of M-Audio.
    • Right, but a pro isn't going to use a low end FW interface. There are already tons of excellent quality cross platform FW interfaces on the market. Also, even though Macs are still common in studios they don't have anywhere near the dominance they once had. Even Pro Tools, the defacto multitrack standard these days concentrates as much on it's Windows versions as much as it OSX counterpart. For me, I use PCs to do audio production because of costs. Most of the time you pay a premium for the same sort of sof
    • Oh, you mean like their already announced and available collaboration with Apogee to produce an ieee1394 interface to work with logic?
  • Oh whatever... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CODiNE (27417) on Monday April 10, 2006 @07:16PM (#15102555) Homepage
    Let's just quit the games and cries of "FWEEDOOOM!!!" and face the facts. This isn't about bloggers getting protection and freedom of the press, this is about NDA's and posting, yes, "trade secrets". This is already legally established for members of the press, journalists don't get protection when they break the law, neither should they. He'd be in the same legal trouble if he worked at the Washington Post, in fact he'd probably have lost his entire career over this.
  • by mgabrys_sf (951552) on Monday April 10, 2006 @07:39PM (#15102676) Journal
    Freedom of speech isn't the same thing as freedom from consequences - reasonable or otherwise.

    There's also litigation bombs potential pertaining to libel and slander. You can choose to engage in libel and slander - but don't expect a free ride. Same thing here - you can spill the beans all you want. Just don't expect not to get a friendly reminder if the target decides to take action. And trust me - no one in this country needs to justify calling a lawyer - that's sorted out later.

    I particularly love it when people cite newspapers as somehow being above the legal-fray that the little boy blogger gets.

    I used to work for Pulitzer Publishing - and we used to get PILES of notifications from readers, companies, sponsers, sources - you name it. Just because there was a legal office - doesn't mean that they were playing foosball in there. We got whacked upside the head all the time. Next time you look at the local paper - check around the masthead for "corrections". Those usually are the result of an editor getting a friendly rejoinder from the legal department.

    In otherwords bloggers - welcome to the club - there's plenty of legal bullshit to go around not to share. Enjoy!
    • Freedom of speech isn't the same thing as freedom from consequences - reasonable or otherwise.

      If someone brings you to trial, and the court rules that you did something wrong, then you are subject to their will. That is the exact opposite of freedom. This is not a difficult concept.

  • by angrychimp (885088) on Monday April 10, 2006 @07:47PM (#15102701)
    The reason I'm upset with Apple here is that according to this blog post, Apple went after the ISP first. That to me is a low blow. The ISP doesn't want to get in trouble with a corporate entity of Apple's size, so they'll do whatever they need to in order to get out of the crosshairs of a lawsuit.

    The other problem is that the blogger mentions that the information he received was not identified as "confidential" or a "trade secret". When asked to remove the information, he compiled (again, according to his account). To me it appears that this guy did was he was asked and only did what any gossip columnist would have done in a print publication. This concern here (and what apparently brought in the EFF) was that if this had been a print publication, it would have been expected that the reporter would have been covered by first amendment rights. Whether or not that entitles Apple to seek the identity of the informant is a job for the courts. I personally feel that the informer should be punished.
    • by smart2000 (28662) <karl@karlkraft.com> on Monday April 10, 2006 @11:24PM (#15103638) Homepage
      The reason I'm upset with Apple here is that according to this blog post, Apple went after the ISP first. That to me is a low blow. The ISP doesn't want to get in trouble with a corporate entity of Apple's size, so they'll do whatever they need to in order to get out of the crosshairs of a lawsuit.

      You are upset for the wrong reasons then.

      I'm the ISP / person who was subpoenaed. I have no problem telling a company the size of Apple to pound sand, I've done it twice before and been successful. When I received the initial request I refused it because it wasn't a subpoena signed by a judge.

      I don't feel threatened at all by Apple. At no point has Apple or their lawyers ever "intimated" me. On the other hand the EFF has attempted to coerce and intimidate me in this matter. Their legal filings imply that my conversations in response to the subpoena from Apple were violations of federal law. The EFF cherry picks what parts of the case they want to display on their web page. Meanwhile I have a foot tall stack of filings from the case.

      Jason has left out that the reason that I got into the loop at all is because he used my phone and address instead of his for his domain registration. He has since changed it to a PO Box.

      His article twists words ("...can sue any journalist..." to make it seem like he is being sued. He isn't. What has been requested is that he return the material that they have asserted is their trade secret, namely the documents that the leaker sent to him.

      The assumption is that Apple would be able from the documents to tell who leaked the material. Jason asserts that they don't say "Confidential" or "Trade Secret" anywhere on them. Given the Apple attitude towards secrecy, I somehow find that unlikely.

      • Exactly! (Score:3, Interesting)

        by tgma (584406)
        Thank you for a very interesting post.

        Everyone knows that Apple protects information about forthcoming products - that's why the rumour sites exist. So it's disingenuous for Jason to say that he didn't know that the information was a trade secret or confidential. If anyone should know that Apple doesn't want to publish this information, it should be someone who attracts readers to his site with the promise of access to that information.
  • by monoqlith (610041) on Monday April 10, 2006 @09:27PM (#15103171)
    To me, Apple's defense of its trade secrets is warranted and does not constitute violation of free speech.

    Certain business language such as stock trading information, executive orders, are priveleged outside of the realm of free speech. That is, utterances such as someone giving insider trading information can have active results that cause harm to people; it thus qualifies as conduct, since it has a locutionary force that separates it from harmless, mundane speech. Similarly, an executive telling an accountant to shred documents regarding financial figures is a violation of business conduct laws, and a general telling his subordinates to murder innocent civilians violates war crimes laws.

    This is no different. Disclosing trade secrets has done and does do appreciable damage to the company for whom they are secrets.

    Whether or not it is sensible for Apple to go after blogs to protect its trade information is a matter I haven't really decided on. However, to me, it makes sense in the same way as Rudolph Guiliani's policy of going after small-time lawbreakers to deter the bigger offenses - go after jaywalking, so that it looks like you're tough on crime in general. Similarly, Apple is obviously protecting what appears like trivial information about an upcoming product to prevent bloggers from thinking they can get away with disclosing larger trade information.

    Apple obviously made the wager that allowing people to disclose trade secrets at all damages them in such a way that all the free advertising in the world can't make up for. I'm not sure I would have made the same wager, but I can respect Apple's decision to make it.

    • The problem is, as someone outside Apple I'm not neccesarily obliged not to disclose their trade secrets no matter how much damage my disclosure might do to Apple. In fact, as an outsider the only times I am obliged to keep their secrets are if a) I've signed a binding NDA with them or b) I'm aware when the information's given to me that it's being given in violation of an NDA or other obligation not to disclose it. The burden of maintaining secrecy falls almost entirely on Apple, and if they fail to mainta

  • two scenarios (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Khashishi (775369) on Monday April 10, 2006 @10:19PM (#15103372) Journal
    1. If the blogger signed a NDA, Apple has every right to sue his ass off.

    2. If the blogger didn't sign an NDA, how can he be any way responsible for any damage?

    If somebody else signed an NDA and passed the information to a media outlet, the signer did the infringement, not the media.
  • First Amendment (Score:3, Informative)

    by Ash-Fox (726320) on Monday April 10, 2006 @10:22PM (#15103384)
    > It's about the First Amendment. If we don't have a free press and protection under the First Amendment large corporations can sue any journalist publishing something that they don't agree with.

    First Amendment protects your right of speech against the government, not against corporations. You'd think Americans would know their constition a bit better.

    Corporations have every right in the United States of America to attempt to sue people for things they say.
  • This killed me: The stories about a FireWire breakout box for GarageBand, code-named 'Asteroid.'

    The story is = The story's != The stories

    'stories' means plural story, not 'story is'.

    OK,OK, maybe grammar geek needs to get laid, but still!

God may be subtle, but he isn't plain mean. -- Albert Einstein

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