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Apple Ends Anti-Blogger Legal Effort 74

Posted by Zonk
from the scot-free dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Apple has decided not to appeal the decision against it in it in its case against the product-information leaking bloggers. News.com discusses the ramifications of this decision, which may make future online journalists bolder in their actions." From the article: "Court documents show the company's investigators interviewed 29 employees who had access to a key confidential document — but Apple did not examine them under oath or examine their computers. That's one reason, the appeals court said, to grant the online journalists the protective order they requested. 'Apple has failed to establish that it adequately pursued other possible means to identify the source of the information in question,' the judges said."
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Apple Ends Anti-Blogger Legal Effort

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  • by xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @02:51PM (#15714030)
    Apple didn't want to go after its internal people because it didn't want to piss them off. It wanted to go after the blogger because Apple likes to "leak" tidbits and then turn off the spigot when if feels its "leaked" test message has hit the test market. However, the blogger in this case wouldn't shut the hell up when Apple asked him too so more people got the message from a near-official source than Apple wanted. Rather than lead with a carrot ("STFU or you get no more information") Apple tried to lead with stick.
  • No brainer... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by alshithead (981606) * on Thursday July 13, 2006 @02:51PM (#15714033)
    Apple had internal investigations they could perform to at least try to find the information they wanted before filing a suit. The court correctly (in my opinion) ruled that Apple needs to pursue those avenues before granting their request.
    • Apple had internal investigations they could perform to at least try to find the information they wanted before filing a suit. The court correctly (in my opinion) ruled that Apple needs to pursue those avenues before granting their request.

      Indeed, per this detailed analysis [macworld.com], "EFF, in its appeal on O'Grady's behalf, went so far as to argue that Apple should search the home computers of employees with access to the 'Asteroid' presentation, an invasion of privacy that you would normally expect to see EFF stron
      • Not how I read it - I think there's quite a bit of MacWorld spin on it - I'm not sure I'd view as unbiased an article whose byline includes the phrase "judicial cowardice", and basically seems to mock everything other than Apple not getting its own way without hesitation.

        To my reading it was not endorsing, but suggesting if Apple was serious / sincere in its efforts to exhaust all other avenues to find the leak, it would have done so, or tried to. Since it didn't even bother investigating its employees /wor

  • Precedent? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bcat24 (914105) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @02:53PM (#15714048) Homepage Journal
    From TFA:
    The three-judge panel rejected Apple's arguments that the independent reporters were not true journalists. "We decline the implicit invitation to embroil ourselves in questions of what constitutes 'legitimate journalism,'" the court said, ruling that California's journalist shield law would protect the Web reporters.
    Any lawyers out here? Will this decision set a precedent for future cases like this, or is it only applicable to this specific case?
    • Re:Precedent? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TopShelf (92521)
      That wording may prevent it from becoming a precedent. It sounds like the panel didn't want to get into that issue, rather than make a firm declaration that bloggers should be treated as professional journalists. IANAL, but I would guess that it would take an appeal by Apple on that specific point to get them to probe that question further, and it sounds like Apple's not going down that road.
    • Re:Precedent? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Durandal64 (658649) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @03:16PM (#15714160)
      IANAL, but here's what I read from it. Basically, they said that Apple didn't have grounds for forcing Think Secret to turn over information about their source because Apple themselves didn't do everything they could internally to ascertain the source of the leak. In other words, the court ruled very conservatively in favor of freedom of the press in saying that Apple had to exhaust all other avenues of inquiry before they could even think about asking for a court order which might be construed as infringing on press freedoms. They didn't actually say that bloggers are entitled to the same protections as newspapers, TV shows, etc ... but they didn't say they weren't either. A creative lawyer could easily interpret the decision as precedent establishing bloggers as members of the press. Basically, the court ruled in the same way they would have ruled if Apple was suing the New York Times which grants weight to the idea that bloggers are in fact journalists.

      As for hard precedent, this ruling says that you can't just go after bloggers for their sources as a first resort just because they're not traditional media outlets. You have to show that you've turned up dry on every other reasonable avenue of investigation. It establishes that bloggers have at least one of the same protections that other media do.
      • Well, actually it was never about "bloggers" at all, because ThinkSecret is not a blog. It's probably more accurate to call it an online trade journal that publishes original content and news briefs. IIRC, the guy also writes ocassionally for ZDNet. I don't believe the courts expended much if any effort considering his legitimacy.

        It's only the monomania of certain members of the 'blogosphere' that have somehow redefined everyone who does online publishing as "bloggers" twisting this case into a question abo
        • There's very definitely an element of this pervading the *cringe* "blogosphere". This self-aggrandisement whereby you are "promoted" to the title of journalist (usually by yourself or others on your reciprocal "blogroll") and the ego massage begins, and every episode of grandstanding brings in more clicks and more Google text ad revenue, and you start to get more and more convinced that you are a "professional". Being paid for something, especially indirectly, does not make you a professional, and a lot of
      • Re:Precedent? (Score:2, Informative)

        by SpeedyBandito (789964)
        Just a quick note - this ruling has nothing to do with ThinkSecret. The article is referring to a separate suit dealing with AppleInsider. The ThinkSecret case is still very much alive.
    • Re:Precedent? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Todd Knarr (15451) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @03:21PM (#15714186) Homepage

      If I remember the text of the ruling correctly, the judge didn't completely refuse to visit the question. He said that he wasn't going to visit the question of whether they were journalists or not because he didn't have to. In this case they were acting as journalists, which was sufficient for the purposes of determining whether the shield law applied in this case regardless of whether or not they were journalists in a broader sense. This is actually a better ruling than merely saying bloggers are journalists. If taken as precedent it basically says that anyone is protected as a journalist when they're acting as a journalist, whether they're a full-time journalist or not.

      • Someone mod the parent +Insightful...it's not just "interesting", sheesh, it's much more than that.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    "Apple has decided not to appeal the decision against it in it in its case against the product-information leaking bloggers. News.com discusses the ramifications of this decision, which may make future online journalists bolder in their actions."

    i'm lost...
    • That brought to mind a new band name, "itin"XS ...
    • "Apple has decided not to appeal the decision against it in it in its case against the product-information leaking bloggers. News.com discusses the ramifications of this decision, which may make future online journalists bolder in their actions."

      I think it is just buffering. Somebody must have tried to send another internet through the tubes.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The new yMac quad core Intel pod connect system with Jaguar will be released next week with integrated XEN virtual machine that can run both OSX and Vista in parallel.

  • OK, so let's puts this news to use. I heard Apple's new Mac Pro will be a Octo-Woodcrest Mac at 3.5 Ghz a piece - Intel has stated they can only go up to 3.0 ghz but I think Apple has a secret deal with Intel under the table. They will start out at a base of $700 with 512 MB RAM, an unannounced ATI X3200, and dual 500 GB IBM Hitatchi laptop drives. The LCD's will be built into the side of the machine, and will be 30". I have confirmed this report with my best friend, Andy. {;o)
  • by growse (928427) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @03:38PM (#15714290) Homepage
    Interesting. If we have laws in countries which protect specific groups of people (for example, "journalists"), we should probably define better what a "journalist" is. Wikipedia reckons it's
    journalist simply meant someone who wrote for journals ... In the past century it has come to mean a writer for newspapers and magazines as well ... Regardless of medium, the term journalist carries a connotation or expectation of professionalism in reporting, with consideration for truth, fairness, balance, decency and ethics.
    That said, dictionary.com says that a journalist is:
    1. One whose occupation is journalism.
    2. One who keeps a journal.
    Wonderfully insightful there. in any case, it seems that the definition is vague enough to say that a journalist is "anyone who frequently writes and publishes current affairs information", which neatly covers newspapers, magazines and bloggers (despite the fact that their "consideration for truth, fairness, balance, decency and ethics" is sometimes highly questionable). This should be enough to put an end to the "lets sue people with no money and aren't corporations" madness that apple seem to have been infected with.
    • ...which neatly covers newspapers, magazines and bloggers (despite the fact that their "consideration for truth, fairness, balance, decency and ethics" is sometimes highly questionable).

      Yea, and the bloggers aren't much better.
    • That said, dictionary.com says that a journalist is:
      1. One whose occupation is journalism.
      2. One who keeps a journal.
      Wonderfully insightful there.

      That's because you're using an "online" dictionary. Merriam Webster says:

      1. a person engaged in journalism; especially : a writer or editor for a news medium b : a writer who aims at a mass audience 2.One who keeps a journal.

      The second term doesn't apply in the current context- it covers usage such as "Mary's journalistic habits brought her no

  • Dude... let's make a podcast out of this! [ifilm.com] That'd be mad stoooopid!
  • I sincerely thought the headline read, "Apple Ends Anti-Legal Blogger Effort."
    thanks, I'm here all week

    On topic, though... which is worse?:
    1) The release of leaked information (before the time suits the business interests), or
    2) The negative PR of having a large company go after a blogger, or
    3) The negative (I guess some might argue, positive?) net effects of lawsuits - lawsuits that are used to attempt to control business?

    It is important for businesses to protect themselves, yes... but I think ba
  • no more juicy info from "As Seen on TV"? Oh wait...
  • by stefanb (21140) * on Thursday July 13, 2006 @04:35PM (#15714639) Homepage

    I think what people are forgetting here is when Apple started this drastic course against the rumor sites: just weeks before the announcement they would be switching to Intel processors.

    In hindsight, it's clear to me that they wanted to send a strong signal to all potential leaks that they would be found out--"just look at what happened to the people who were talking about some random Firewire audio interface"--and for the most part, they've succeeded. Remember that Apple must have been in serious negotiations and preparations with Intel for at least half a year, if not longer, and keeping this secret from both Motorola and IBM was most certainly really important to the entire process.

    • Your comment actually makes the most sense out here. After all, the apple product cyle [misterbg.org] website may be a joke, but as every joke it's based on at least some truth, in this case that the enthusiasm of apple buyers starts with 'leaked' information. So normally, when a new ipod is on the release, apple can only be happy with these 'leaks'. But since this ibm/intel switch would likely refrain apple costumers from buying machines until it is sure that they can use them in the future, and apple probably didn't wan
    • If there was a +6 insightful, you'd get it. It makes a lot of sense.

      However, the case was filed on December 13, 2004 [com.com]. The switch to Intel was announced in June 2005. [wikipedia.org]

      So, it was a couple of months, not a couple of weeks between their filing suit and the big switch announcement.

      Also, its worth noting that it must have worked, because everyone was in the dark about Apple's intentions.
  • "Spilled The Beans"

    Origin:

    "When votes were taken in Greece, white beans indicated positive votes and black beans negative. Votes had to be unanimous, so if the collector 'spilled the beans' before the vote was complete and a black bean was seen, the vote was halted".

    It's very likely Apple knew/knows who spilled the beans - Jobs isn't stupid. So did Jobs/Apple then set out to find out the truth or was it all about to intimidating jounalists (you know - people who write stuff for public consumption).

    Well ..

  • by Anonymous Coward
    As big a control freak as Steve Jobs is, he would have continued to pursue the matter despite it being a first amendment issue. But I bet Apple lawyers told him it was a lost cause. Just goes to show you that Apple can be just as evil as Microsoft.
  • I could have been the one informing bloggers of what Apple might do. So- no case. :)

    http://apple.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/07/10/ 0345252&threshold=-1 [slashdot.org]

    http://apple.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=190729&c id=15694587 [slashdot.org]

    http://science.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=167849 &cid=14013426 [slashdot.org]

    (first you tell Apple what to do, then everyone else what Apple might do :)

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