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Apple Pushes to Unmask Product Leaker 255

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the say-what-you-must dept.
Zack Wells writes "Should online journalists receive the same rights as traditional reporters? Apple claims they should not. Its lawyers say in court documents that Web scribes are not 'legitimate members of the press' when they reveal details about forthcoming products that the company would prefer to keep confidential. That argument has drawn stiff opposition from bloggers and traditional journalists. This is related to a case of an Apple news site, PowerPage.org, who leaked information about a FireWire audio interface for GarageBand that has been codenamed 'Asteroid.' The subpoena is on hold during the appeal. In the lawsuit, filed in late 2004, Apple is not suing the Mac news sites directly, but instead has focused on still-unnamed 'John Doe' defendants. The subpoena has been sent to Nfox.com, PowerPage's e-mail provider, which says it will comply if legally permitted."
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Apple Pushes to Unmask Product Leaker

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  • by Stevecrox (962208) on Friday April 21, 2006 @05:51AM (#15171597) Journal
    Over the last few years I've seen companies fire employee's over their blogs, its not exactly a new idea. Ok in this instance the person used a online news site to 'get the information out'. It seems pretty clear whats going to happen. This employee probably broke a confidentiality agreement as well, these aren't things whicvh you can choose to ignore because your excited about your campanies new product. As much as bloggers like to be considered the new form of journalism they aren't, they are just people (often with overinflated ego's) who want to have their say.

    But I have to ask if that person had gone to a newspaper where would we be legally?
  • by mcai8rw2 (923718) on Friday April 21, 2006 @05:51AM (#15171598) Homepage
    The differences in laws that are applicable ONLINE and in RL are quite significant. I remember a time when if an online shop published the wrong price on thier ecommerce website that they were abound to honour orders placed for goods at that price.

    That was changed.

    Being that the online world is intensly different to RL, i would have suggested that certain aspects of everything should be governed differently on the net as in RL

    Different countries have different laws...prephaps we should think of the net as a 'different country' in its own right, as opposed to an extension of the host country? And thusly, apply a separate set of laws.
  • by jcr (53032) <jcr@nOspAm.mac.com> on Friday April 21, 2006 @06:25AM (#15171664) Journal
    Seems more like a personal vendetta then a business...

    Would you care to guess what product secrecy is worth to Apple, in dollar terms?

    They're exercising their fiduciary duty to find and stop these leaks.

    -jcr
  • Legally permitted?? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by StringBlade (557322) on Friday April 21, 2006 @06:37AM (#15171695) Journal
    The subpoena has been sent to Nfox.com, PowerPage's e-mail provider, which says it will comply if legally permitted.

    Was that supposed to be legally compelled or is the email provider anxious to give up their information?

  • by jcr (53032) <jcr@nOspAm.mac.com> on Friday April 21, 2006 @06:43AM (#15171709) Journal
    Apple users will be forced to pay full retail price for Windows

    If, god forbid, I ever needed a copy of windows, I'd pick it up for twenty bucks from any Linux user I know who got it with his Dell and never wanted it in the first place. First sale doctrine and all that.

    -jcr
  • by vague disclaimer (861154) on Friday April 21, 2006 @08:08AM (#15171948)
    When any high end car maker announces a new/cool model, it will make the front pages of all the car mags,

    Time is not a car mag. Or a Mac mag, or a PC mag or any other kind of trade or consumer mag. It is one of the world's major news titles. It doesn't have the choice of putting a Mac or a Dell on its cover, it has the choice of putting a Mac or George Bush...or JK Rowling....or Manny Ramirez...or Romano Prodi...or Tom Cruise....or anyone else who happens to be top of the news agenda at the time.

    With an exclusive a Mac isn't even *on* the news agenda for Time.

    If you do not understand that distinction then you do not understand how publishing works.

  • by johnpaul191 (240105) on Friday April 21, 2006 @09:16AM (#15172352) Homepage
    the story on the rumor sites was that Apple ran into some last minute issue with the hardware. who knows if the whole thing was a ruse? like other people mentioned, mAudio is just company that makes gear that works with GarageBand.app. i know Apple sells the mAudio devices in their stores (online and brick+mortar), so it is not like they are hard to find. for Apple to get into that market, they must think they can make a device that has some feature the others are lacking. Apple may make one for the heck of it, but it also may be tied into software features that never came to GarageBand. the device was supposed to be released at MacWorld SanFran and that's when Apple traditionally updates the iLife suite (which includes GarageBand).

    Apple has had products incredibly close to production and scrapped them. Steve Jobs did acknowledge a year or two ago that Apple almost released a pda-like device again but scrapped it along the way. the super secret R+D lab must have tons of devices that have never seen the light of day (at least not yet).

    i do agree that Apple seems REALLY REALLY hellbent on finding this specific leak. nobody but Apple insiders would know why. maybe that pool of people have possible access to other upcoming products that are a lot more important. maybe it was all a ruse to flush out a leak, maybe they are just pushing it on principle. it seems weird though. it will be interesting how it shakes out. i can see how leaking company design secrets is not seen the same as letting a reporter know that Company ABC is dumping toxic waste into a stream or leaking info about Enron's shadiness.
  • by lowe0 (136140) on Friday April 21, 2006 @09:22AM (#15172407) Homepage
    "So what exactly is the difference between a 'blogger' and a 'journalist'?"

    The consequences. Just because you don't see it doesn't mean Apple doesn't take action against journalists who release confidential information - good luck ever getting early info out of them again, after burning them once. Hell, Apple will burn anyone who releases confidential information - look at ATI for an example.

    The problem is, Apple doesn't have a relationship with the bloggers that they can use as a carrot. The stick (litigation) is all they've got.
  • by smart2000 (28662) <karl@karlkraft.com> on Friday April 21, 2006 @09:44AM (#15172611) Homepage
    I am the person who has the subpoena and the information covered in that subponea. The judge doesn't "permit" me to hand it over, I am compelled to hand it over. It isn't my choice, if I don't obey, I go to jail. The subpoena also covers my personal e-mail as well.
    Cnet never called me to discuss the article they wrote, but that is no surprise as they are sloppy in their understanding of the law as well.
    P.S. At the very end of their article you will find a disclaimer that O'Grady now writes for them.

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