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Apple Trade Secret Suit Final Arguments Today 117

An anonymous reader writes "The final day of arguments takes place today in Santa Clara, CA, in the suit between Apple and the bloggers who outed their secrets." From the article: "Apple often dispatched cease and desist letters to the editors or these sites or initiated internal investigations to smoke out which of its employees were leaking information. But the lawsuit against the Power Page marked the first time that Apple attempted to use California law protecting corporate trade secrets to suppress the early disclosure of its product development plans by a Web media outlet. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which is representing the Does, or the unnamed sources of the alleged information leak, contends that a ruling in this case could set a precedent that determines whether online sites can qualify as journalists who can work under First Amendment protections"
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Apple Trade Secret Suit Final Arguments Today

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  • by mork ( 62099 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @04:36PM (#15177420)
    Apple have done Many Good Things (TM) but suing bloggers is not one of them.
    They should have learnt byn ow you cant control the media.
    • Bloggers should realise they cant continue to step on everyones toes without consequence, they should have realised by now that corporations dont like to sit back while their privileged information is disseminated to everyone.
    • by alfs boner ( 963844 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @04:58PM (#15177597) Homepage Journal
      This actually has *nothing to do* with whether bloggers are journalists! The judge in the case rightly realizes that, and didn't fall victim to the cries that this was a case of "blogger's rights" or any of that other shit. The judge realized that bloggers *can indeed* be "journalists", but not all bloggers *are* journalists. The cases should be decided on whether there is a clear and significant public interest. In the case of these web sites, there is most definitely not. Therefore, they are not protected.
      • There's nothing in the Constitution that says freedom of the press only applies to professionals.
        • Wow. Way to miss the point. That's not what the parent said at all. He said that what matters is whether divulging protected trade secrets is in the public interest.

          If it's found that leaking upcoming product information is beneficial to the people (highly unlikely), then the bloggers will be covered under the first amendment. If, however, it's found that leaking upcoming product information doesn't particularly benefit anyone, then PowerPage will be forced to turn over the identity of the leaker.
          • Gimme a call when upcoming products are trade secrets. Early leaks are almost always going to work in their favor by generating hype- I don't see why free publicity isn't good enough.
            • Gimme a call when upcoming products are trade secrets.

              Take a look at this [google.com] and tell me that products currently under development that a company has made good effort to keep from the public don't fall under those definitions.
            • Early leaks might also work against them by giving competitors an opportunity to plan a counter strategy.

              At the very least, shouldn't it be up to the company to decide whether to let this information out--not the press?
              • At the very least, shouldn't it be up to the company to decide whether to let this information out--not the press?

                Yes. But Apple's way of doing things really isn't the best for business. Going into an Apple store and trying to find out anything from the sales people is pointless (as you'd expect - "You'll know when I know"), but keeping customers in the dark isn't a great idea - if people make buying decisions keeping the future in mind (as any smart buyer does), that attitude could easily result in sale

                • But Apple's way of doing things really isn't the best for business

                  Maybe not for yours, but definitely for Apple's. And Apple deserves (just like any other business, including yours) to be able to find out who is responsible for causing them harm by breaking a contractual agreement. The information in question does not compel or motivate it's release in the public's interest - the principle upon which freedom fo the press is based.
                • "[...] but keeping customers in the dark isn't a great idea - if people make buying decisions keeping the future in mind (as any smart buyer does), that attitude could easily result in sales going to someone else."

                  I'm not convinced that the "smart buyer" is that smart.

                  Take computers, for example. I bought a Blue & White PowerMac G3 when they first came out. Top of the line, 400MHz, all the bells and whistles. Nobody told me that the PowerMac G4s would be out in eight months. Heck, the conventional w
          • Gimme a call when the Constitution mentions the government deciding if a particular piece of press has to benefit anyone before "freedom of the press" is "granted."

            Would really put a damper on those Celebrity rags.
            • Hey Rolfwind, your straw man called and wants his false argument back.

              The Constitution provides no protection to the press from withholding information when a crime has been committed. Over the years, journalists have gone to jail to protect their sources. As a result of this, some states have enacted whistleblower laws, to help journalists protect sources when having the information released in the first place is in the public's interest. In certain types of cases, where a company or branch of government i
        • There's also nothing in the constitution that says journalists have blanket legal immunity.
        • There's nothing in the Constitution that says freedom of the press only applies to professionals.

          There's nothing in the lawsuit that applies to freedom of press, so I guess that makes things even.

          Stealing Ideas != Freedom of Press.
        • by vought ( 160908 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @06:44PM (#15178271)
          There's nothing in the Constitution that says freedom of the press only applies to professionals.


          No, but journalists don't usually solicit for trade secrets to drive sales and/or views of a newspaper or web site.

          Freedom of the press relies on the principle that what the press is reporting is in the public interest. Apple's unreleased products are in no one's interest but their competitors.

          Trust me when I say this: O'Grady is a slimeball who only a few years ago solicited me for confidential information about what the wireless company I worked for was up to. He comes off as a very nice guy, promises that he'll write nice stuff about your company, and asks about things that aren't public knowledge. Of course, you're free to say no, and I did. The people at Apple were bound by contract to say no and they didn't, and from my experience, O'Grady's motivation is based purely on how many fanboys he can drive to his web site with a scoop about Apple or whoever's unreleased product.

          The EFF's tactics are bullsh*t in this case. They're trying to get political bloggers to amplify this case by pretending that bloggers won't be able to write about ANY secrets or newsworthy but confidential information.

          The key word here is newsworthy, and in a world where missing white women and rich white athletes in trouble for hiring (and possibly raping) black strippers are the biggest news items of the week, perhaps we have dropped down the well of profit-driven news to a new standard for freedom of the press. But I hardly think that's something to celebrate, especially when it's clear there are far more pressing (ha ha...er...oh, no) things to report on. Still, that doesn't keep CNN or Fox from breathlessly jumping from non-news story to non-news story.
          • vought wrote:
            > Freedom of the press relies on the principle that what the
            > press is reporting is in the public interest.

            I think it's more like
            "Freedom of the press relies on the principle that what the press
            is reporting *might* be in the public interest, and it's not wise
            to let the government (which might be corrupt) decide whether it
            is or not."
          • The EFF's tactics are bullsh*t in this case. They're trying to get political bloggers to amplify this case by pretending that bloggers won't be able to write about ANY secrets or newsworthy but confidential information.

            More than that, the EFF is employing the exact same FUD they accuse everyone else of using.

            The EFF wants you to believe that Apple is trying to distinguish between "bloggers" and "journalists," when in reality Apple is doing exactly the opposite -- requesting that both bloggers and journalist
            • The EFF-Bashing article failed to mention that the EFF helped to supplant DES (Data Encryption Standard) by building a hardware-based DES Cracker [wikipedia.org] (codenamed "Deep Crack") that decrypted a DES-encrypted message in only 56 hours. Also, the EFF protested the NSA's push to use SkipJack and the Clipper Chip. I do not know how much influence the EFF had in preventing the use of the Clipper Chip, but at least the Clipper Chip did not butt in to the workings of the soon-to-be-popular Internet.

              While I do agree th
  • This has got the best PR move you could make. Seriously, once the media picks up with this story and become major news, kiss potential Apple customers "good bye".

    And to think I was going to switch this summer....
    • Do you realize that not all bloggers are journalists? Some bloggers are indeed journalists but they do tend to follow a set of ethics. What this guy did was not in the public interest. An interested public is not the same as public interest.

      Remember the Mike Rowe incident? MSFT pressured a guy to give up a domain because it sounded the same. Are you trying to tell me that a company should not be able to do everything in their power to defend their trade secrets? Are you trying to tell me that you would be

    • Great comment! 'I was going to switch but now ohhh man...'. I don't get it. Apple does not want their secrets to be told, don't you feel the same about your secrets? I don't see why this would stop your from buying a apple computer. If you are 'switching' then odds are that your running Windows and you are already supporting the greater of the evils and should not even speak about how 'evil' apple is being here.
      • So hiding upcoming products and product changes and new releases from consumers is a good thing from a consumer point of view? Would you like to know that your $XXX purchase will be superseded in the next week by version X+1? Simple question. Many companies release that information far in advance so you can make a more educated decision.
        Here is the way I see it. Companies like to keep information and some specific technical details away from competitors to get a jump or to maintain a competitive edge.
        • Many companies release that information far in advance so you can make a more educated decision.

          Do tell. Which companies give away tactical information about the details of upcoming products?

          Does I.B.M. explain to potential customers the exact details of new servers before introduction without obtaining an NDA?

          You are confusing strategic direction for customers with "tactical" product details and descriptions. For example:

          "We will be releasing servers this year that will double performance for intricate web
    • Apple doesn't need to rely on positive press. Apple doesn't need to rely on drawing in potential customers.

      Apple's faithful will support Apple, no matter what.

      It was the Apple faithful who kept the company afloat during the dark days of Skully and Amelio. At the time I was one of them. I too used to rationalize every time that Apple screwed me over. Those who are still a part of the fold will continue to do so.

      LK
  • An opportunity (Score:1, Insightful)

    by TheJediGeek ( 903350 )
    Now would be a good time for Microsoft to offer discounts to major media outlets that use the internet. Or for Dell to offer discounts on systems. With Apple pissing off journalists, now would be a good time to get ahold of those people.
    • Cool, so I'm a journalist because I have a blog? Is every slashdotter a journalist because they have a journal?

      You want to see pissed off journalists? Force them to use windows.

  • Dupe (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    The same story ran 12 hours ago. Apple==Zealots==Page Hits
    • At least this copy of the story gets the issue at hand correct. The last story made it out to be a story about "Are Bloggers really Journalists" when, at its heart, this story is more about trade secret law than anything. The story isn't "Do bloggers have the same rights as 'real' journalists?" so much as it's "Do bloggers has the right to withhold their sources when trade secret law is at issue?"

      The metric for 'traditional' journalists in the past has been that sources may be withheld if it serves the grea
      • Two things.

        1) The story does not get it correct. The story says that Apple is suing PowerPage, which is not true.

        2) The EFF is deliberately trying to confuse the issue. They're hoping to damage Apple's reputation by confusing the issue. If the EFF is going to use SCO legal tactics, they no longer have my support.
  • 3...2...1 (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    To 500 Apple apologist comments.
  • by El Cubano ( 631386 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @04:51PM (#15177537)

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which is representing the Does, or the unnamed sources of the alleged information leak, contends that a ruling in this case could set a precedent that determines whether online sites can qualify as journalists who can work under First Amendment protections

    IANAL, so someone please educate me on this topic. If a reporter at the NYTimes comes into posession of information that is some company's trade secret and publishes it, is that protected under the first amendment? What about the Paducah Post? Does it have to do with simply bineg published? the amount circulation the periodical receives?

    • If a reporter at the NYTimes comes into posession of information that is some company's trade secret and publishes it, is that protected under the first amendment?

      Yes.

      What about the Paducah Post? Does it have to do with simply bineg published?

      They'd get protection from having to reveal their sources too.

      the amount circulation the periodical receives?

      You can run off forty copies on a Xerox machine and hand them out on a street-corner or coffee-shop, and you enjoy the full protection of the law.

      But somehow "b
      • They'd get protection from having to reveal their sources too.

        Actually, I misspoke.

        Reporters can be ordered to reveal their sources, so that the source can be prosecuted or gone after in a civil action in many cases. They can be held in contempt for failure to do so as well.

        They cannot, however, be attacked in this manner for trade secret violation.
      • by Slack3r78 ( 596506 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @05:49PM (#15177934) Homepage
        If a reporter at the NYTimes comes into posession of information that is some company's trade secret and publishes it, is that protected under the first amendment?

        Yes.

        You're only partially correct. The actual publication is most likely legal, however, the original leaker of the information is still culpable.

        But somehow "bloggers" appear to be different from "news sites", such as CNet (I dare say them announcing the move to Intel chips was a fair bit more damaging of a "trade secret" than some cancelled bit of GarageBand hardware), and shouldn't enjoy the same priviledges, despite sharing the same medium, material, and purpose.

        And this is where you, along with most of bloggers get it wrong. It has much, much less to do with the fact that they're bloggers and not a more traditional media than it does the fact that their is no basic legal right to protection of journalistic sources. Hayes vs Branzburg established the precedent that sources are only protected in the event that it serves a greater public interest and that revealing the sources would have a negative impact on the flow of information in an otherwise free society.

        What was leaked here was information that categorically falls under the very definition of a trade secret (down to the fact that the leaked slides were very clearly marked "Apple Confidential." We're not talking about Apple dumping toxic waste or something - we're talking about leaking information on an unannounced consumer electronics product which is protected under trade secret law in its own right.

        Apple is not suing to shut the blogs down. They're suing the leakers and have *subpoenaed* the bloggers for the indentities. Personally, I have serious doubts that the Puducah Post, New York Time, or CNN would be able to successfully argue that their sources deserve the journalistic shield protection afforded to whistleblowers in a case like this when there's a clear trade secret law violation in contention which posed no possible public danger.
        • ...sources are only protected in the event that it serves a greater public interest...

          If publishing these trade secrets assists Apple's competitors, that can only increase overall competition, which ultimately will result in lower prices for the public. Apple may not benefit, but the public will.

          • At the direct expense of Apple, which is a publicly-owned company. This point of view would result in Apple losing what competitive advantage they may have had, and thus, lessen the incenvtive to compete on anything more than in the first place.

            Trade secret laws exist in order to encourage competition, you just have to have a more complete view of competition than "If everybody can do it, then there's more competition" for this to make sense.
            • First, not all states even have trade secret laws - it's not a federal law. So what if the leaker or blogger was in one of those states? Personally, I think such laws are absurd, and so do some states - what amounts to NDA violation shouldn't be a crime but a civil matter. No matter what, an NDA violation shouldn't trump freedom of speech of someone who didn't sign the NDA, whether "journalist" or not. Like the criminalizing of copyright violation, these relatively recent laws were put into place by big
              • Once again, Apple has not called into question the right to publish the material. The actual publication of the article is not at issue. What is at issue is the leaking of the trade secret, which is part of *federal* law. Even so, California is a state with even further trade secret provisions.

                Apple is suing the *leakers*. The bloggers that published have merely been subpoenaed for the identity of the source of the leaks.

                The whole point of the concept of a trade secret is that it's up to the company to exer

          • If publishing these trade secrets assists Apple's competitors, that can only increase overall competition, which ultimately will result in lower prices for the public. Apple may not benefit, but the public will.

            That's hilarious.

            +1 teh funny! Good one!
      • I would personally argue that there has to be a parallel with libel cases here. The First Amendment says that the govenment will not legislate to restrict freedom of speech; in this case, it's being argued that juducial precedent here will also act to restrict general freedom of speech, contrary to the promises of the First Amendment. However, no-one argues when the case is about libel. In fact, it's a given that the courts' powers are needed to settle a libel case satisfactorily, so there is a precedent fo

        • Libel is lying about someone, wherein the information you provide the public isn't even true.

          But no outside 3rd parties are constricted by an NDA they didn't sign. It's as simple as that.

          However, Apple is simply trying to get the ID of the leak from the rumor sites. The argument is here whether there is a priviledge here (like attorney/client, parent/child) where the sites don't have to reveal their sources...
          • The argument is here whether there is a priviledge here (like attorney/client, parent/child) where the sites don't have to reveal their sources...

            And the law is very clear on this. Reporters do not have any such privilege, unless it can be shown that it is clearly in the public interest that the information be disseminated. Clearly, a hardware product under development does not qualify. An accounting scandal, on the other hand, would probably qualify.
    • If a reporter at the NYTimes comes into posession of information that is some company's trade secret and publishes it, is that protected under the first amendment? What about the Paducah Post?

      As I understand it; it depends on what the content of the secret is. For it to be a trade secret; it has to be something (info) valuable to the company. Ergo, a company can't claim its cafeteria menu to be a trade secret as another semi-sued person claimed earlier this week. Other than that, it can't be a mali
    • IANAL, so someone please educate me on this topic. If a reporter at the NYTimes comes into posession of information that is some company's trade secret and publishes it, is that protected under the first amendment? What about the Paducah Post? Does it have to do with simply bineg published? the amount circulation the periodical receives?

      Apple isn't suing the bloggers to have the trade secrets taken off the internet. Yes, their speech is protected, and Apple agrees. The question is whether they have the pr

  • by rossz ( 67331 ) <ogre@NosPam.geekbiker.net> on Friday April 21, 2006 @04:51PM (#15177539) Homepage Journal
    It's a bad precedence to assume you need to be a journalist to have First Ammendement protection. EVERYBODY has the full Rights of the First Ammendment. This kind of shit can get up to the Supreme Court where a ruling could decide that only journalists have that protection. Do we really want that?
    • Freedom of speech doesnt mean freedom from consequence, even if you are a journalist. A journalist still has freedom of speech, but they can be jailed for refusing to disclose sources among other things, they must accept the consequences of their actions - and true journalists do and are prepared to go to jail to protect sources.
      • Freedom of speech doesnt mean freedom from consequence, even if you are a journalist.

        To a certain extent. Slander, for example, is not protected, although to sue, you need to proove damages.

        Incidentally, how much damage did Apple really suffer? Their lawsuit is frivolous; they suffered little or no damage from the publishing of the leaks, and perhaps even benefited from them. The information would have been released at a later date anyway.
        • Apples lawsuit isnt about damages, they arent seeking monetory compensation from loggers, they are seeking the name of the person in their organisation that obviously cannot keep their mouth shut even tho they are paid to do exactly that. Yes the information would have come out eventually, but its the time and manner of that release which is what makes the information so important - it enables competitors to alter their own strategies to compete and thus gives them an unfair advantage that they wouldnt hav
    • I've posted this in another thread, but the basic thing is this - the metric of whether sources are protected in the past has been if maintaining the anonynomity of the sources of the leaked information serves the great public good. This is why the leaker of the Pentagon Papers was protected.

      In this case, I think you're going to have a pretty hard time arguing to a judge that leaking information on an unreleased consumer electronics product (which is protected under trade secret law) is somehow in the inter
      • "the metric of whether sources are protected in the past has been if maintaining the anonynomity of the sources of the leaked information serves the great public good. This is why the leaker of the Pentagon Papers was protected."
        Would the the 'Halloween Documents' [opensource.org] be eligible ? could MS sue under trade secret for divulging them to the public ? why ? why not ?
        • That's actually a really good question I wish I knew the answer to. :-)

          I'd say there's certainly a good possibility they'd be conisdered protected, especially given the anti-trust investigations into Microsoft, but I certainly can't say one way or another with any kind of definitive confidence.

          At any rate, it's certainly a much more complicated question than the Apple trade secret issue IMO.
    • Wait, so the first amendment gives you the right to refuse to submit to a subpoena in contempt of court? Which country's constitution is this?
    • "It's a bad precedence to assume you need to be a journalist to have First Ammendement protection."

      There are three issues here.

      1) The first amendment protection of the Press applies was intended to protect the right to have yourself heard.

      2) The Supreme Court has issued a decision just a few years ago saying that anyone acting in the capacity of a journalist, whether full time, part time, for a professional organization, a school paper, or even just a one time fancy, is considered a journalist and is entitl
  • by alfs boner ( 963844 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @04:54PM (#15177558) Homepage Journal
    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.
    • Wrong. Sorry. (Score:1, Flamebait)

      by hummassa ( 157160 )
      Disclosing trade secrets has done and does do appreciable damage to the company for whom they are secrets.

      ???!!!

      Disclosing Apple's "trade secrets" in casu means telling the public about some upcoming launch -- and this will enhance the hype about the launched product, thus enhancing sales (I would know, I do have a fifth-gen iPod... which was hyped this exact way). Absolutely no harm was done: hell, I think the offending Doe could even prove in court that he actually leaked the launch to HELP Apple's sales.
      • Disclosing Apple's "trade secrets" in casu means telling the public about some upcoming launch -- and this will enhance the hype about the launched product, thus enhancing sales

        What you discounting is the ability for competitors to make similar announcements on the same day (or beofre) that look just as good, based on this information. The idea that only good can come of secrets being leaked is madness.
        • Face the facts: (Score:1, Flamebait)

          by hummassa ( 157160 )
          There is _no_ competitors. Where an Apple product is in -- especially iPods -- its market share is segregated and guaranteed.
          • The people taking up the other 20% of the market would be very amused to hear you claim the iPod marketshare is locked, or in any way "gauranteed" - there have been plenty of other products with a huge marketshare, that are now relics because the company mistepped. Remember Walkmans? Back in the day they were just like iPods are now.
      • It causes no harm? Did you notice how the stock price tanked when Apple announced the HiFi and Mac mini intel instead of the rumoured products? Have you noticed that asteroid has not seen the light of day yet?
      • Yes, you're right. It can generate hype. It can also have a detrimental effect by giving information to competitors who may attempt to diffuse some of the hype with their own press releases, promotions, or advertisements.

        At the very least, I don't think it's up to the individual employee to decide whether Apple should use "stealth" marketing via rumor sites. Apple has a legitimate beef with the employee in question.
    • This is no different. Disclosing trade secrets has done and does do appreciable damage to the company for whom they are secrets.

      True that disclosing trade secrets can cause financial damages, although I fail to see how much financial damage Apple really suffered. These products were up and coming press releases anyway.

      However I'd argue that thinksecret benefited Apple more than they harmed Apple. They added to the hype about Apple's coming products, and I'd argue more people payed attention to see if thi
    • by Slack3r78 ( 596506 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @05:32PM (#15177839) Homepage
      It's nice to see some Slashdotters are finally picking up on the true issues at hand in this case.

      Here's the quick summary:

      The being sued in this case apparently violate their NDA with Apple, leaking information on unannounced products to the bloggers. This is in direct violation of any contracts they mave have with Apple and trade secret law. Bloggers in turn post this information online. Apple sues the Does, and subpoena the bloggers for their identities. Bloggers try to fight subpoena on journalistic shield grounds under protections traditionally afforded to whistleblowers.

      So that's where we are now. The problem for the bloggers is that that protection has generally been afforded when it serves the greater public good - the case I've cited again and again on this point is the NY Times and the Pentagon Papers. They have to prove that the leaking of the information was somehow in the interest of the great public good to win that kind of protection.

      The biggest problem they have is that, rather than even attempt to argue this point, the EFF's lawyers more or less tried to turn this into a vague First Ammendment issue, arguing for protections which have never traditionally been afforded to the media, regardless of their chosen medium. And the judge basically took them to task for it in a previous brief. If anyone can find the PDF of the ruling from this [slashdot.org] previous Slashdot story, I'm sure there'd be some karma in it for you. It covers everything from previous cases to the fact that the documents in question were very clearly labeled "APPLE CONFIDENTIAL." It's incredibly well written and documented, and really should be read by anyone who wants to better understand the core issues of this case.
      • The "Pentagon Papers" case had nothing to do with protection of sources (though the newspapers did not reveal their sources). It was about the right to publish at all. The Supreme Court determined that the US government could NOT prevent publication of the papers merely because they were classified; why the Slashdot anti-free-speech brigade seems to think the label "Apple Confidential" can legitimately provide stronger protection is something I don't understand.
    • Uhm, this poster just blatantly PLAGIARIZED my previous comment from an earlier article about this same issue.

      Proof? My Comment [slashdot.org]

      Karma whore.
    • 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.

      If someone makes a public statement, that's not the same as a secret whispered in a dark hallway. If the insider information is made public, there is no transgression because it is no longer "insider" information.

      That's the point of journalism, statements are made in public whe
  • by Facekhan ( 445017 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @05:03PM (#15177640)
    I find it difficult to conceive that a court will rule that the first ammendment protection of the press only covers those with multibillion dollar media conglomerates or old family owned newspapers behind them. Freedom of the press is freedom of speech as it applies to written or photographic material and should be no less free than speech and is not limited to those with journalism degrees.

    Whether the trade secret law applies may be another matter beyond my knowledge, but the fact is that the website in question did not sign a non-disclosure agreement with Apple and is free to publish what it likes provided it is not libelous. That includes publishing information that Apple insiders chose to disclose to the site in violation of their agreements with Apple not to do so. Apple is obscessive about secrecy and it will just have to learn to live with leaks or Steve Jobs will just have to close the company down, fire all the workers and hire oompa loopas.
    • Whether the trade secret law applies may be another matter beyond my knowledge, but the fact is that the website in question did not sign a non-disclosure agreement with Apple and is free to publish what it likes provided it is not libelous.

      Those two statements are pretty contradictory - the first part says you don't understand trade secret law, the second claims that the person has the right to publish anything that falls into his hands regardless of it being a trade secret.

      Apple is free to do what they ar
  • by gnasher719 ( 869701 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @05:11PM (#15177699)
    Really, they are nonsense. Whether a blogger is a journalist or not is a completely unimportant sidenote in this whole case. It is 99.9 percent sure that the decision will be absolutely the same, whether a journalist publishes trade secrets or a blogger. The only difference is that an experienced journalist would most likely not have the stupidity to do such a thing, and a journalist working for any newspaper would be confronted by the newspaper's legal team that would stop him before he gets everyone into trouble.

    Then EFF's brilliant argument that Apple should have had all their employees pass lie detector tests or ask them to declare under oath that it wasn't them who leaked the information. So what would happen if Apple tried that?

    Where I work this would happen:

    Lawyer: Dear developer #1, please take this lie detector test.
    Developer #1: F*** off.
    Lawyer: Take this lie detector test or you will be fired.
    Manager: F*** off. You are not going to fire any of my developers.

    Lawyer: Dear developer #2, please take this lie detector test.
    Developer #2: F*** off.

    And so on. Seriously, would any of the readers here be willing to take a lie detector test in a situation like that? What a piece of nonsense.

    • Seriously, would any of the readers here be willing to take a lie detector test in a situation like that? What a piece of nonsense.

      Do you think that oh, maybe that is the EFF's point? If the people who are already under contract aren't willing to play along with such invasive tactics, why then should the website owners, who have no contract with Apple, be required to do so?

      Before you claim it is not the same thing, think about it - leaks are the bread and butter of a rumours website, thus the identity of l
      • '' Do you think that oh, maybe that is the EFF's point? If the people who are already under contract aren't willing to play along with such invasive tactics, why then should the website owners, who have no contract with Apple, be required to do so? ''

        No, that wasn't EFF's point at all. Their point seems to be that Apple in their opinion should first do anything to get the truth out of its developers, no matter what the cost to the company and the developers (and the cost if Apple did what EFF wants them to
        • I don't think I'll be donating to EFF anymore. What are they thinking? Why are they stooping to such low tactics? Is Boies Schiller doing pro bono work for the EFF these days?
        • No, that wasn't EFF's point at all. Their point seems to be that ...

          No - your misinterpretation of their point seems to be what you wrote. If you are going to be sticking words in their mouth then might as well just go all out and say that the EFF is defending Hitler. If you are going to set up strawmen might as well do it right.
    • Actually, I would. Lie detectors are lots of fun. Hold your breath, think fearful thoughts, do all sorts of things so that they get inconclusive readings.

      "Well, we're pretty sure John Smith did not send the information to the web site. However, we're not sure his name is really John Smith and he may have kidnapped the Lindbergh baby."
    • That would be the only fair way to do this. The only people Apple has any coercive right over are their employees, with whom they presumably entered into binding contracts. If anyone is going to be forced to testify, it should be the employees who were sworn to uphold these secrets, as opposed to innocent people who repeat rumours.

      The blogger isn't going to be liable for releasing trade secrets unless, very unlikely, the employee who leaked the information also specifically notified them of the trade-secret
  • So now you need specific credentials to acquire First Amendament protections. Silly me. That's what I get for believing that the law and especially the Constitiution applied to everbody. Funny that I don't see journalists specifically mentioned in the amendment. How did it get to be that only they deserve that protection? Is this something like only well regulated militias are permitted to keep and bear arms, as opposed to the right of the people? Well, if Apple wins, it's just another nail in the coffin fo
    • (Score:0, Overrated)

      Yeah, really. The First Amendment is overrated...Don't get too upset when they come after you.
  • For those of you having trouble understanding how this case is more about leaking private information than it is about protecting free speech, just think of it in terms of kindergarten ethics.

    You don't have a right to gossip; in fact you have a responsibility to refrain from it when it hurts others. Gossip is meddling and a breach of trust.

    On the other hand, when the topic at hand is about a real risk, and of concern to the person you're talking to, then it isn't gossip, it's whistleblowing. In that case

  • Since when do you have to be a journalist to realize your First Amendment Protections...???

    I thought those were extended to everyone...

    Maybe I was wrong?
  • So Apple have something to hide... they must being doing something wrong! Isn't that why all citizens are being wiretapped and endlessly monitored? Don't kid yourselves it is ALL of you! Why are corporations the only ones who are allowed privacy? I declare myself as a corporation. Don't talk to me, go through my company. Hey, if that dies, i'll just start another. Don't blame or prosecute ME, it was the COMPANY! The internet is a democracy because you can say whatever the hell you want! As soon as
  • I'm still waiting for somebody to actually sue Power Page - namely a maker of any product similar to the rumored Asteroid product, because PP's spreading of FUD that hurt their sales.

    Anyway, almost all reports (including those by "real" journalists) ignore an important part of the original ruling [daringfireball.net].

    Whether he [Jason O'Grady] fits the definition of a journalist, reporter, blogger, or anything else need not be decided at this juncture for this fundamental reason: there is no license conferred on anyone to vi

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