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Apple Pushes to Unmask Product Leaker 255

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,, 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, 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 MaestroSartori ( 146297 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @05:59AM (#15171610) Homepage
    There's at least one Garageband specific controller that I know of - it's the M-Audio iControl []. And I don't use Apple stuff or follow gear stories particularly closely, so I dunno much about it other than that it exists :)
  • by jcr ( 53032 ) < .ta. .rcj.> on Friday April 21, 2006 @07:05AM (#15171756) Journal
    Not exactly. What's missing from your first scenario is the fact that the blogger actively solicits people to break trade secret law. That makes him a participant, not just a reporter.

  • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @07:07AM (#15171761)
    Sigh. I do so wish people would do the slightest bit of research on the law before firing off dumb responses like this:

    Classified information is different than confidential information from a company. Classified information is a legal secret, the government has declared that the information is not to be distributed, and those that do can be punished. That includes third parties. IF someone gives you classified info, you legally can't give it to anyone else.

    NDAs are different, NDAs are a contract between two entities not to reveal something. However contracts are not transitive. If you signa contract with company X, I am not bound by the same contract. If I find out the information covered by NDA (let's day you threw it away and I found the paper) I'm not bound to keep it secret.

    Oh, and something to note: Even when we are talking about classified information, with national security at stake, the right to freedom of the press still can trump. Look up information on the Pentagon Papers, if you are interested. The New York Times published top secret documents that had been leaked to them. The Whitehouse tried to stop them, the Supreme Court rules 6-3 that they couldn't.

    Either way, the handling of real classified information relates not at all to private contracts (NDAs).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 21, 2006 @07:28AM (#15171815)
    And unless Apple starts selling OEM compies of Windows with their machines, Apple users will be forced to pay full retail price for Windows, which is...a couple hundred bucks.

    Or just buy a mouse and get an OEM copy, like everyone else.
  • by skinnygmg ( 964698 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @07:44AM (#15171845) Homepage
    A journalist is a person who practices journalism, the gathering and dissemination of information about current events, trends, issues and people.

    Reporters are one type of journalist. They create reports as a profession for broadcast or publication in mass media such as newspapers, television, radio, magazines, documentary film, and the Internet. Reporters find the sources for their work, their reports can be either spoken or written, and they are generally expected to report in the most objective and unbiased way to serve the public good.

    Depending on the context, the term journalist also includes various types of editors and visual journalists, such as photographers, graphic artists, and page designers.

    Origin and scope of the term In the early 19th century, journalist simply meant someone who wrote for journals, such as Charles Dickens in his early career. In the past century it has come to mean a writer for newspapers and magazines as well.

    Many people consider journalist interchangeable with reporter, a person who gathers information and creates a written report, or story. However, this overlooks many other types of journalists, including columnists, leader writers, photographers, editorial designers, and sub-editors (British) or copy editors (American). The only major distinction is that designers, writers and art directors who work exclusively on advertising material - that is, material in which the content is shaped by the person buying the ad, rather than the publication - are not considered journalists.

    Regardless of medium, the term journalist carries a connotation or expectation of professionalism in reporting, with consideration for truth and ethics although in some areas, such as the downmarket, scandal-led tabloids, the standards are deliberately negated.
  • by dangermouse ( 2242 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @08:51AM (#15172161) Homepage
    1) What we have here. A source leaks information from a company to a website (blog), who then publishes it. The website operator (blogger) did nothing wrong, they violated no law. The person leaking it broke an NDA, but that's not their concern.

    Yeah, maybe that's what you want the law to be. Here's what the law [] actually says:

    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 owner of that trade secret, knowingly-- ... (3) receives, buys, or possesses such information, knowing the same to have been stolen or appropriated, obtained, or converted without authorization; ...

    In other words, if you receive what you know to be stolen trade secrets, you're in violation of the law. There's nothing in the law that I can find that exempts some special "journalist" class.

  • by mikkelfunck ( 969860 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @10:45AM (#15173298)
    Freedom of speech should count for everyone equally anyway.
    Not if you signed a NDA - then you gave up your right to tell about matters that concern Apple

"This is lemma 1.1. We start a new chapter so the numbers all go back to one." -- Prof. Seager, C&O 351