Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Apple Wins Against Bloggers

CowboyNeal posted more than 9 years ago | from the subpoenas-ahoy dept.

The Courts 672

linuxwrangler writes "Saying that no one has the right to publish information that could have been provided only by someone breaking the law, judge James Kleinberg ruled that online reporters for Apple Insider and PowerPage must reveal their sources. No word yet on an appeal."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Ack. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11916050)

Ack.

Re:Ack. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11916206)

Microsoft requests to remove documents calling William Gates a pedophile fagot
Reaction on /.:: Oh, how can those fascist bastards dare defying our constitutional right that we in our very hearts [etc ad infinitum]

Apple sues bloggers for ruining Steve "Blow" Job's presentation for the GayMacCon
Reaction on ./ by Apple-apologists, paid Stevie-drones and freelance-metrosexuals: Hm, yes. They had to do this. Very sound and sensible. Hm. Yes. *cockgobblegobble*

wheee (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11916051)

wheee

A refreshing victory for common sense (4, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 9 years ago | (#11916053)

(Note: More coverage in this news.com story [com.com] )

This judge has clearly shown that he has a grasp of the fundamental issues surrounding this case, and has realized that this is not a case about whether online sites are "journalists" or about the "right to blog". It's about when it's about when the dissemination of information in the public interest clearly overrides any other legal concerns or contracts and entitles journalists to not reveal their sources - and when it clearly doesn't.

And if you're not going to RTFA, here is some of the jugde's ruling:

"Unlike the whistleblower who discloses a health, safety or welfare hazard affecting all, or the government employee who reveals mismanagement or worse by our public officials, [the enthusiast sites] are doing nothing more than feeding the public's insatiable desire for information.[1]

[...]

Defining what is a 'journalist' has become more complicated as the variety of media has expanded. But even if the movants are journalists, this is not the equivalent of a free pass.

[...]

The journalist's privilege is not absolute. For example, journalists cannot refuse to disclose information when it relates to a crime.

[...]

[The information about Apple's unreleased products] is stolen property, just as any physical item, such as a laptop computer containing the same information on its hard drive [or not] would be. The bottom line is there is no exception or exemption in either the [Uniform Trade Secrets Act] or the Penal Code for journalists--however defined--or anyone else.

[...]

The public has had, and continues to have, a profound interest in gossip about Apple. Therefore, it is not surprising that hundreds of thousands of 'hits' on a Web site about Apple have and will happen. But an interested public is not the same as the public interest."


Note that the judge did not say that Think Secret and other online sites weren't journalists; indeed, he tacitly acknowledged that they, and many others, may in fact be "journalists". But that fact is, correctly, irrelevant. In other words, online sites or bloggers may in fact be journalists; this isn't about "the right to blog". However, being a "journalist" does not automatically mean the mechanisms of obtaining information, the information itself, and the sources of the information are automatically protected by journalist shield laws and exempt from discovery, especially when otherwise applicable laws (such as the UTSA) may have been violated. In other words, when a crime may have been committed (and the burden of whether or not this information constitutes a "trade secret" still rests on Apple, even after this ruling).

Further, the judge makes no distinction between online publications and mainstream newspapers, simply a distinction that any and all information gathering mechanisms are not necessarily protected if other laws are violated. The assertion on the part of some that "these subpoenas wouldn't exist if it was the New York Times or salon.com" is baseless at best.

No doubt someone will find issue with what is or isn't "public interest" and the fact that the courts (i.e. the "government") must make such a determination and is simply shifting the importance of whether someone can be considered a "journalist" to another consideration, essentially allowing the government to decide what is "acceptable" to be leaked and what isn't, and will make arguments that this will make it easier for corporations and/or the government to hide abuses, stop whistleblowers, etc. However, all of these arguments are red herrings. The court clearly acknowledged that sources information in the clear public interest must indeed be protected. Further note that the court DID NOT rule on the merits of Apple's claim itself, i.e., that the information was in fact a trade secret: "The order of this court does not go beyond the questions necessary to determine this motion seeking a protective order against that single subpoena, and it cannot and should not be read or interpreted more broadly. The court makes no finding as to the ultimate merits of Apple's claims, or any defenses to those claims. Those issues remain for another day."

No doubt that still others will make claims that the very idea of "trade secrets" is wrong, and that the UTSA is unconstitutional. This, of course, completely ignores the basic ideas of property, including intellectual property, and good-faith agreements to not reveal your employer's secrets, not to mention fundamental ideas of ethics, and further ignores the idea that free speech is not, and never has been, absolute, in that it has ramifications. And if you interpret it to be "absolute" semantically, you must regardless also realize that speech, and indeed any action, has consequences. No one prevented Think Secret's or PowerPage's speech. No one is going to throw them in jail over it ("Congress shall make no law..."). And indeed, Apple is not even suing the sites themselves. No greater - or even lesser - purpose is served by leaking confidential information of the type in question that is protected by binding confidentiality agreements to web sites. That some people might "want to know" the information is utterly irrelevant.

This is a good day for the fundamental idea of rights being couple with responsibility, and the fundamental concept that actions have consequences.

Perhaps someone will learn something from this judge.

[1] Some might argue this is reason enough. Sorry, but it's simply not.

Re:A refreshing victory for common sense (1, Insightful)

ravenspear (756059) | more than 9 years ago | (#11916071)

Wow, I think that's the most insightful first post I have EVER read on /.

Re:A refreshing victory for common sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11916111)

technically, it's a third post... but your point is still valid assuming you meant first post unless you're reading at -1.

Re:A refreshing victory for common sense (2, Funny)

f0dder (570496) | more than 9 years ago | (#11916134)

pfft... he only had the whole day to compose it. /money says he's been hitting refresh on slashdot just ready to post.

Re:A refreshing victory for common sense (0, Troll)

NutscrapeSucks (446616) | more than 9 years ago | (#11916194)

Thank the boys in Apple's marketing department.

Re:A refreshing victory for common sense (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11916212)

Wow, I think that's the most insightful first post I have EVER read on /.

I don't think it's insightful at all. It is one of the most informative posts I've ever seen. It's spot on in explaining the ruling. I don't agree with the conclusion. I don't see the public interest in enforcing trade secrets laws that is more important than the chilling effect of this ruling. If this was rape or murder, sure, but violating trade secrets isn't as important of a crime to enforce.

I wish people would understand there is a difference between the three I's on Slashdot. It doesn't help to meta-moderate when someone uses the wrong I, because you're punished if you don't agree with other more lazy meta-moderaters.

Re:A refreshing victory for common sense (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11916265)

that's the most insightful first post I have EVER read

No, I believe this [slashdot.org] is the very insightful first post.

Re:A refreshing victory for common sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11916112)

Perhaps, but it seems to fit the definition of a Pyrrhic victory. Alienating the people willing to pay a premium for your hardware is generally not the best way to build your business, and using the courts is generally seen as the nuclear option in business.

Re:A refreshing victory for common sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11916142)

Alienating.

Oh please. People all over the world are banging down Apple's door to get their hands on minis, iPods, and G5s.

Dream on clown.

Re:A refreshing victory for common sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11916183)

Alienating.
Oh please. People all over the world are banging down Apple's door to get their hands on minis, iPods, and G5s.


This would indicate that ThinkSecret's page did not harm Apple -- in fact, it would seem to support the contention that it generated interest in the product. Considering that the court decision just happened, I think it's too early to claim it's a great victory.

Re:A refreshing victory for common sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11916218)

"This would indicate that ThinkSecret's page did not harm Apple"

No it wouldn't.

Re:A refreshing victory for common sense (1)

NutscrapeSucks (446616) | more than 9 years ago | (#11916223)

Please, Apple's sales figures are far below where they were back in the Performa days -- When anyone could go buy a magazine and read all about Apple's upcoming models. This secrecy crap has done nothing to sell computers, it's only about the perverse relationship between Jobs and his Fanboys.

And those people "banging down Apple's door" tend to the exact people who read the rumor sites anyway.

Re:A refreshing victory for common sense (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11916201)

The focus of this whole issue has been shifted, and I think that you, along with most people, missed the point. Apple isn't going after their customers. Apple isn't going after the rumor sites. Apple is going after someone who broke the law to provide trade secrets.

Re:A refreshing victory for common sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11916234)

The focus of this whole issue has been shifted, and I think that you, along with most people, missed the point. Apple isn't going after their customers. Apple isn't going after the rumor sites. Apple is going after someone who broke the law to provide trade secrets.

And the RIAA is going after people who break the law to provide copyrighted material. You can follow the law to the letter and still annoy your customers.

Re:A refreshing victory for common sense (5, Insightful)

SpryGuy (206254) | more than 9 years ago | (#11916140)

Does this mean that Robert Novak has to reveal his sources in the Valerie Plame story? Since that involves TREASON, which is a bit more serious than revealing trade secrets, doesn't this ruling apply there as well?

Re:A refreshing victory for common sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11916178)

I don't think "treason" means what you think it means.

Re:A refreshing victory for common sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11916222)

"I don't think "treason" means what you think it means."
Inconceivable.

Re:A refreshing victory for common sense (3, Informative)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 9 years ago | (#11916181)

Does this mean that Jeff Gannon aka James Guckert was just as much of a "journalist" as anyone else in the White House Press room? Since there is a BLOGGER in the White House now, and apparently anyone with a web site is a journalist, doesn't this apply there as well?

(Yes, I'm being a little sarcastic there.)

Or shall we stay on topic here?

And to directly answer your question, yes, Novak should reveal his source if there is ever any court action that compels him to do so. (Disclaimer: I am not familiar with shield laws on this topic in Novak's jurisdiction or Washington DC.)

And it's not treason. Treason in the US is very specifically defined as only "levying war against the United States or 'in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort,' and requires the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act or a confession in open court for conviction."

Yes, he's already held in contempt of court. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11916253)

Yes, it does. Robert Novak is being held in contempt of court for not revealing his sources, and very well might go to jail for it.

story here [washingtonpost.com]

It's funny/sad how many people have the mistaken belief that "journalists", however one wants to define them, have some sort of legal immunity.

Re:A refreshing victory for common sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11916267)

Yes it does. Journalists don't have a free pass to break the law.

Interesting how the press has dropped the story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11916289)

Now that they're also in trouble over it.

Re:A refreshing victory for common sense (1)

delmoi (26744) | more than 9 years ago | (#11916294)

I'd say no. You could make the argument that the Valerie Plame story involves public intrest, because it revolves around alleged nepotism and poor quality research done at the CIA.

Not that Novak shouldn't be put in jail for being a douche. I'm just saying...

Re:A refreshing victory for common sense (3, Interesting)

mark-t (151149) | more than 9 years ago | (#11916152)

While it's certainly appreciable that journalists cannot refuse to disclose information when it relates to a crime, there is no hard evidence that a crime was actually committed, only an allegation that a crime was committed. That's why, IMO, the identities should have remained protected. The fact that they couldn't prove a crime had occurred _unless_ they knew the identities of the sources is irrellevant as far as I can tell and to assume otherwise is tantamount to saying that a person is guilty until proven innocent.

Although my feelings on the matter are irrellevant... the judge made his decision, I only hope that the consequences for the precedent aren't unmanageable.

Re:A refreshing victory for common sense (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11916186)

"I only hope that the consequences for the precedent aren't unmanageable."

Whatever dumbshit.

Re:A refreshing victory for common sense (2, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | more than 9 years ago | (#11916230)

Nice rebuttal [wikipedia.org]

Yeah, its great (0, Flamebait)

Sanity (1431) | more than 9 years ago | (#11916155)

I must say I feel much more secure about freedom of speech now that only those deemed to be speaking in the public interest are permitted to disclose information that a corporation doesn't want them to disclose.
No doubt that still others will make claims that the very idea of "trade secrets" is wrong, and that the UTSA is unconstitutional. This, of course, completely ignores the basic ideas of property, including intellectual property, and good-faith agreements to not reveal your employer's secrets, not to mention fundamental ideas of ethics, and further ignores the idea that free speech is not, and never has been, absolute, in that it has ramifications.
Yeah, but this isn't about those that violated an NDA, it is about those who revealed information that they obtained from someone who violated an NDA. What property right justifies the application of restrictions imposed by an agreement on someone that never signed that agreement?
This is a good day for the fundamental idea of rights being couple with responsibility, and the fundamental concept that actions have consequences.
This is a terrible day for anyone that thinks freedom of speech should trump corporate interests.

Re:Yeah, its great (1, Informative)

Leo McGarry (843676) | more than 9 years ago | (#11916198)

You don't understand the case or the ruling. Read this article [shapeofdays.com] (which I have already pimped elsewhere).

Re:Yeah, its great (-1, Troll)

Sanity (1431) | more than 9 years ago | (#11916231)

If you aren't going to do me the courtesy of responding properly to my comment, then I am not particularly inclined to respond to yours (although I do think its telling that Apple accused them of "tortious interference", the very same tool that the tobacco industry tried to use to suppress the 60 Minutes segment on Jeff Wigand, as dramatised by The Insider [imdb.com] - go Apple!).

Re:Yeah, its great (2, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 9 years ago | (#11916214)

Yeah, but this isn't about those that violated an NDA, it is about those who revealed information that they obtained from someone who violated an NDA.

Yeah. That, and the small issue that they might have broken a law doing so.

What property right justifies the application of restrictions imposed by an agreement on someone that never signed that agreement?

The fact that the UTSA says that revealing information that can reasonably be believed to have been obtained as the result of the breach of a binding confidentiality agreement is prohibited. Do you understand that NDAs or any confidentiality agreements would be meaningless if all you had to do was leak them to someone else, who in turn publicly leaks them, all with no repurcussions of any kind nor any recourse for the employer?

Re:Yeah, its great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11916291)

Journalists have are free to speak but if they publish an interview they conducted with a serial killer wanted for the murder of 15 people and then REFUSE to disclose the identity of the killer then they should expect to go to jail. Why do you think criminal Journalists should be given legal immunity?

Re:A refreshing victory for common sense (-1, Flamebait)

Otto von Bismarck (866025) | more than 9 years ago | (#11916160)

your comment is a refreshing victory for sucking up to megacorps and general apple fanboyism.

Re:A refreshing victory for common sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11916192)

Looking at your web site, it seems that you are an avid Apple fan.

Strange how your long-winded pro-Apple post forgot to mention that bias?

Re:A refreshing victory for common sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11916216)

Looking at your web site, it seems that you are an avid Apple fan.

Strange how your long-winded pro-Apple post forgot to mention that bias?


It wasn't forgotten, he simply signed an NDA with Apple.

-1, Flamebait, Astorturfing, and Wrong (2, Interesting)

Alaren (682568) | more than 9 years ago | (#11916220)

I agree that the judge should not make this about whether or not bloggers are journalists. That's where our agreement ends.

"No doubt that still others will make claims that the very idea of "trade secrets" is wrong, and that the UTSA is unconstitutional. This, of course, completely ignores the basic ideas of property, including intellectual property, and good-faith agreements to not reveal your employer's secrets, not to mention fundamental ideas of ethics, and further ignores the idea that free speech is not, and never has been, absolute, in that it has ramifications."

All ad hominems concerning your surprisingly verbose first post and the possibility of astrotrufing aside, this is complete flamebait. You might as well have said that anyone who doesn't agree with megacorporate "ethics" is thusly unethical.

Utter gobshite.

You're wrong in a million ways, but the most important one is this. This particular expression of speech does not in any way present a clear and present danger to life and limb and consequently, it not only "ought" to be protected, it is protected according to the Supreme Court of the United States of America. Threatening someone's profit margin is not the same thing as threatening their safety.

Furthermore, your concepts of corporate secrecy are based in false assumptions passed on through business schools with no real concept of human nature. As Jeff Nielsen points out in The Myth of Leadership, corporate secrecy is actually damaging both financially and in the individual lives of its verious employees.

Not to mention your agreement with the judge that "stealing" information is just like stealing property... enough bandwidth has been spilt over that particularly erroneous idea.

Wow. -1 Flambait, Astrotrufing, and just plain Wrong.

Re:-1, Flamebait, Astorturfing, and Wrong (5, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 9 years ago | (#11916266)

Your entire post is irrelevant to the topic at hand, but I'll pick just this piece:

You're wrong in a million ways, but the most important one is this. This particular expression of speech does not in any way present a clear and present danger to life and limb and consequently, it not only "ought" to be protected, it is protected according to the Supreme Court of the United States of America. Threatening someone's profit margin is not the same thing as threatening their safety.

The speech IS protected. No one is going to throw the proprietors of Think Secret, PowerPage, or AppleInsider in jail over their speech.

What is NOT protected are their sources, who are breaking currently in force, legally binding confidentiality agreements to reveal the information, and the fact that the web sites, by publishing said information, are also in violation of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act, versions of which have been adopted by 45 states including California.

This is not about speech. This is not about the right to blog. And if you think it's about the employees' right to "speak" about topics covered under confidentiality agreement, apparently someone forgot to tell them, and you, that they don't have to work there if they have that little respect for good-faith agreements with their own employer.

Re:-1, Flamebait, Astorturfing, and Wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11916292)

corporate secrecy is actually damaging both financially and in the individual lives of its verious employees.
Hear that Microsoft? Release your source code. It is damaging to your company to keep it secret.

Re:A refreshing victory for common sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11916237)

I don't think you understand why people don't like this.

It's not because the judge made a mistake, or because the law doesn't side with Apple.

Apple *chose* to do this. And they *chose* who to sue.

Why on earth would Apple do this to their *supporters*? Where they really harmed by it? Or is this just Steve Job's ego and/or an overzealous legal department?

Would Apple have done this 2-3 years ago? Would they have done this before the iPod? No. Just like Google, Apple is taking their success and shoving it in our faces.

Dave Winer said it best on his blog today. Google succeeded by treating users with respect when the other search engines didn't. Apple is winning over Microsoft for the exact same reason.

But now both Google and Apple are abusing that relationship.

I was expecting Apple to go "evil", just not so suddenly and not so blatently. To me this is a step below suing someone in the open source world over some minor patent, or something along those lines. What would you think of apple if they did that?

Suing online journalists over product info (products that you want to *sell* and generate buzz over) is like punishing a 1-year old for playing too loud by beating him with a stick. Yeah, he needs to be guided in the right direction, but what the fuck?

As an Apple shareholder (only around 400 shares but I have been holding them for a LONG time), this is truly disappointing. You can hear this reverberating through all the blogs and online media outlets can't you? This is big and bad PR.

I still love Apple products but between iPod DRM and this lawsuit I can see the writing on the wall: Apple is ready to begin the downward spiral again that nearly killed it.

If Apple has any sense they will STOP THIS RIGHT NOW. We get the message. The "leaks" that gave this info to the bloggers get the message.

Re:A refreshing victory for common sense (1)

amper (33785) | more than 9 years ago | (#11916248)

I thank Dog that there is at least one judge in this country with a brain. Justice has prevailed here, people...move along, now.

Re:A refreshing victory for common sense (2, Informative)

hyfe (641811) | more than 9 years ago | (#11916257)

This, of course, completely ignores the basic ideas of property, including intellectual property, and good-faith agreements to not reveal your employer's secrets, not to mention fundamental ideas of ethics, and further ignores the idea that free speech is not, and never has been, absolute, in that it has ramifications.

1. One would assume that one finding "trade secrets" and the UTSA unconstitutional wasn't all that keen on intellectual property in the first place, and most certainly would dismiss that it has anything to do with real property. This line of argueing is thus only valid if you agree with the conclusion in the first place.

2. Secondly; yes, free speech has always had ramifications. Somebody most certainly broke a non-disclure contract here, and they most certainly are liable by whatever stipulated there. The kicker is however, how does this pertain to third parties in poessesion of the 'illegal information'? A great many people find the prospect that they should be held liable for publishing information gotten legally (from their point of view that is) just because whoever they got it from brok a NDA ridicilous. Not everybody accepts the notion that some information can suddenly be flagged as secret, and that you have to go around pretending not to know it. Signing away your own free speech is one thing, signing away others' is a whole different slew!

3. Moreover, I also believe quitr alot of people would be against the notion that these bloggers have to give up their sources. A potential breach of a NDA should be treated as a contract dispute, and this shouldn't have anything to do with special tradelaws, and shouldn't involve courts/police at all! It ain't the governments job to create special provions for certain kind of contracts just because somebody crybabied themselves to it. This is just artificially plugging the market something it's perfectly able to fix itself (god forbid somebody actually had to try to keep their employees happy!)

you forgot to mention something (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11916258)

:I work for the University's Division of Information Technology (DoIT) in the Platforms and Operating Systems group as the senior Apple systems engineer, supporting Apple products primarily in research and enterprise environments at the University, and running the University's Apple Support web server. In 2001, I was honored to be selected as an Apple Distinguished Educator. I'm an occasional student here at UW as well.:

You forgot to mention your ties to Apple which may cloud your judgement.

My Best Interest (2, Funny)

buckhead_buddy (186384) | more than 9 years ago | (#11916261)

My two "Mac the Knife" coffee mugs from the rumor column in MacWeek will probably rake in more on eBay after this ruling.

Gosh, I feel so sorry that the rumor mongers secrets will be revealed when they didn't want them to be, but it's all in my best interest of making money!

Hmm, where have I heard that argument before. :-)

A refreshing victory for corporate synchophants. (0)

delmoi (26744) | more than 9 years ago | (#11916277)

Yay!

Look, the judge may have a point but celebrating the victory of a corporation over an individual just seems fucked up to me.

But he also might not have a point. The 'free speech' issue isn't' about wether or not you can go blabbing your companies trade secrets, it's about wether or not someone else, someone who has not signed an NDA or anything else should be able to re-spout them. These people, who are not under contract should be able (I think) to say whatever they want without repercussion even if someone would be harmed by the common knowledge.

It's all a question of what kind of harm is being done. If someone says "Kill her." they can be charged with conspiracy to commit murder, if someone makes a bomb threat or slanders someone those are lies. But it seems to me that simply telling the truth ought to be protected under the constitution, if you don't sign an NDA.

Yet, here these people are being forced to A) name their source, or B) Go to jail (or something). They're being punished for telling the truth about something, despite the fact that they signed no NDA and were not under any contract.

Huh? (0, Redundant)

Toloran (858954) | more than 9 years ago | (#11916054)

wasn't this posted a few days ago? Or am I still dilerious with fever?

Note to self, learn how to spell dilerious.

Re:Huh? (1)

NaruVonWilkins (844204) | more than 9 years ago | (#11916079)

Mod parent up. This is a dupe.

Re:Huh? (1)

xstonedogx (814876) | more than 9 years ago | (#11916233)

A dupe from when? Five minutes ago?

GHAGLUAG (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11916087)

IS THIS A C0CK IN MY M0UTH OR AM I JUST DILER... N0, DEFINITELY A C0CK

dialing for deuterium (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11916123)

Yes, you shuold laern how to splel delirious.

What to think... (4, Insightful)

ozric99 (162412) | more than 9 years ago | (#11916055)

Do we like this because it's Apple, or do we hate this because 'geeks' lost their case...

Re:What to think... (1)

MegaManXcalibur (829621) | more than 9 years ago | (#11916120)

I belive the Apple card trumps the geek card.

Re:What to think... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11916293)

Fortunately for me, I'm a geek who doesn't like Apple OR reporters, so don't have that dilemma.

Sources (5, Funny)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 9 years ago | (#11916057)

Dear Apple,

I heard it on Slashdot.org

There was this guy, I think he was call Anthony Coward or something, and he was telling me all about the fab new stuff. ...

Re:Sources (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11916157)

and, like, my_mind = BLOWN; by this fab shit.

Re:Sources (1)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 9 years ago | (#11916203)

> Dear Apple,
>I heard it on Slashdot.org
>There was this guy, I think he was call Anthony Coward or something, and he was telling me all about the fab new stuff. ...

Oh, no you don't. No fuckin' way. Not again. One fuckin' joint and I'm unemployed, but you go on national TV and become a celebrity. Don't you dare sell me out, Ellen, or it's over like Carly and Capellas!

- The Dell Dude.

(And it wasn't even really fab new stuff.)

Apple is evil? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11916058)

head spinning ...must stop self destruct sequence..

Oh Noes! (1)

Auritribe (856763) | more than 9 years ago | (#11916059)

All your base are belong to apple

l33t (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11916061)

indeed

What were they thinking. (5, Insightful)

FrankieBoy (452356) | more than 9 years ago | (#11916062)

This isn't about protecting sources, this is corporate espionage plain and simple. They're not protecting reporting sources, they're shielding criminals.

Leaking a press release early is not Espionage. (2, Insightful)

guidryp (702488) | more than 9 years ago | (#11916249)

Espionage is when Huawei steals Cisco source and uses it in its own routers.

Leaking a press release early is just more press. It is a farce and I would boycott apple if I was actually in the habit of buying their products in the first place.

Little Known Fact about this story (1, Funny)

The Amazing Fish Boy (863897) | more than 9 years ago | (#11916063)

The submitter was actually Steve Jobs, but he had to use the codename "linuxwrangler" since Slashdot couldn't post any information from an Apple employee. I mean, how can Slashdot distinguish between what Apple considers a trade secret and what they don't if Apple doesn't tell them before hand?

In a related story... (0, Troll)

moehoward (668736) | more than 9 years ago | (#11916065)


The same judge ruled that bypassing Firefox's pop-up blocking was not only allowed, but encouraged by the judicial system.

Slashdot editor's were said to no longer care about linking to pop-up ad sites, but stated that they would make it a policy when linking to dupe stories.

Article Text (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11916080)

Didn't notice it had popups (using Camino on OS X)

--ARTICLE TEXT:

Apple Wins Trade Secrets Legal Dispute

By RACHEL KONRAD, AP Technology Writer

Friday, March 11, 2005

(03-11) 16:01 PST San Jose, Calif. (AP) --

A California judge on Friday ruled that three independent online reporters may have to divulge confidential sources in a lawsuit brought by Apple Computer Inc., ruling that there are no legal protections for those who publish a company's trade secrets.

Apple sued 25 employees who allegedly leaked confidential product information to three Web publishers. The Cupertino-based company said the leaks violated nondisclosure agreements and California's Uniform Trade Secrets Act. Company attorneys demanded that the reporters identify their sources.

The reporters sought a protective order against the subpoenas, saying that identifying sources would create a "chilling effect" that could erode the media's ability to report in the public's interest.

But Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge James Kleinberg ruled in Apple's favor, saying that reporters who published "stolen property" weren't entitled to protections.

"What underlies this decision is the publishing of information that at this early stage of the litigation fits squarely within the definition of trade secret," Kleinberg wrote. "The right to keep and maintain proprietary information as such is a right which the California Legislature and courts have long affirmed and which is essential to the future of technology and innovation generally."

Free speech advocates and attorneys for the reporters criticized the ruling, insisting that all journalists should enjoy the same legal protections as reporters in mainstream newsrooms. Among those are protections afforded under California's "shield" law, which is meant to protect journalists and encourage the publication of information in the public's interest.

"This opinion should be concerning to reporters of all stripes, especially those who report in the financial or trade press and are routinely reporting about companies and their products," said Electronic Frontier Foundation attorney Kurt Opsahl, who represented the reporters.

He said the trio would appeal the judge's ruling.

Apple spokesman Steve Dowling said the ruling affirmed the company's view that "there is no license conferred on anyone to violate valid criminal laws."

The case has been widely watched in the fast-growing world of Web logs -- or blogs, Web sites that contain articles or diary entries and that recently have propelled stories into the mainstream.

Kleinberg, however, ruled that no one has the right to publish trade secrets that only could have been provided by someone breaking the law.

"The journalist's privilege is not absolute," Kleinberg wrote. "For example, journalists cannot refuse to disclose information when it relates to a crime."

In December, Apple sued several unnamed individuals, called "Does," who leaked specifications about a product code-named "Asteroid" to Monish Bhatia, Jason O'Grady and another person who writes under the pseudonym Kasper Jade. Their articles appeared in the online publications Apple Insider and PowerPage.

In a court hearing last week, Apple attorneys said that Bhatia, O'Grady and Jade weren't necessarily journalists -- merely people who disseminated product releases and other data, adding little analysis or journalistic context.

Kleinberg refused to say whether Bhatia, O'Grady and Jade were members of a protected class of journalists. He did not rule against the reporters because they wrote for relatively obscure Internet sites, he said, but because they violated trade secret laws.

"Defining what is a 'journalist' has become more complicated as the variety of media has expanded," Kleinberg wrote. "But even if the movants are journalists, this is not the equivalent of a free pass."

They said Apple was trying to curtail their First Amendment rights because they lacked the legal and financial resources of mainstream publications to fight such information requests.

"Apple is using this case as a desperate attempt to silence the masses of bloggers and online journalists that it cannot control but feels it can intimidate," Jade, who has been writing about Apple for more than eight years, wrote in an e-mail earlier this week.

___

On the Net:

PowerPage: www.powerpage.org

Apple Insider: www.appleinsider.com

Think Secret: www.thinksecret.com

Don't judge (-1, Troll)

crottsma (859162) | more than 9 years ago | (#11916066)

Well, despite Apple's desire to hunt down its own benefectors, I'm sure it's made at least one new friend, Satan.

Re:Don't judge (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11916103)

Ever since Bill Gates befriended Satan, Steve jobs has been playing catch-up. Today at 1 infinite loop Mr. Jobs stated "Hey, if Bill can be in league with Satan to dominate the world, then I can do it better and more stylishly"

Re:Don't judge (0, Troll)

madpuppy (96129) | more than 9 years ago | (#11916168)

You better watch yourself, The Apple apologist are gonna' throw burning hot caramel apples at you!

they are sticky, gooey and crunchy at the same time.

the apples, not the apologists...

judge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11916269)

No. I think I'm sticky, gooey, and crunchy too.

Appeal (5, Informative)

Valiss (463641) | more than 9 years ago | (#11916067)

From Slashdot:
No word yet on an appeal.

From the article:
He said the trio would appeal the judge's ruling.

Oi, this is getting bad. I mean, do the submitter read the articles they submit?

Does the submitter read the article? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11916100)

Why should he be the only one?

Robert Novak (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11916102)

should be sweating about now.

Viva La Revolution (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11916073)

Get your guns.

Re:Viva La Revolution (4, Informative)

aristotle-dude (626586) | more than 9 years ago | (#11916132)

I don't think you understand how the commmon law legal system. Laws under common law are not codified but rather interpreted based on the spirit of the law and past decisions by previous judges.

This helps to ensure that the legal system cannot simply apply the letter of the law and steamroll over everyone. It also helps to prevent people from using laws to shield illegal activity.

Not a common law legal system. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11916262)

That's a myth. US law is not based on "common law". It is based on the U.S. Constitution.

U.S. Constitution protects freedom of speech for all citizens.

I'm mean C'mon, Dan Rather doesn't have to reveal sources, why should bloggers?

So, does Bob Woodard have to give up Deep Throat? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11916081)

That's what this ruling means.

How about the Pentagon Papers in the Vietnam War?

Re:So, does Bob Woodard have to give up Deep Throa (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11916105)

Would it kill ya to read before commenting? Seriously, read the ruling. It says the exact opposite of what you said.

In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11916091)

Steve Jobs today said, I SWEAR I didn't mean to submit that news to Think Secret...

Shameless link peddling (5, Informative)

Leo McGarry (843676) | more than 9 years ago | (#11916093)

This blogger, whom I have become completely addicted to, wrote the best article I've read on the subject [shapeofdays.com] . It deals with only one of the several lawsuits filed, but the points he makes are real thought-provokers.

Sorry for being such a shameless pimp, but I really think people who are interested in this Apple story would be interested in this article.

(I got the link from MacSlash last weekend.)

Re:Shameless link peddling (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11916252)

The heart of the matter:

"[If Ciarelli] reported that Apple was dumping toxic chemicals into the groundwater behind their corporate headquarters, that would clearly be an important story, one which the public would have an obvious right to know. It would also clearly be a trade secret. In that case, the public's right to know trumps company's right to protect its trade secrets.

"But we're not talking about illegal dumping here. We're not talking about blowing the whistle. We're talking about the disclosure of specifications and prices for upcoming products, details that were obtained by convincing Apple employees to break their confidentiality agreements."

The source... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11916094)

was a random gossip generator!

not a judgment on Apple's claims! (5, Interesting)

scbomber (463069) | more than 9 years ago | (#11916106)

This ruling is solely concerned with whether the journalists are entitled to be protected from Apple's subpoena of their records. Quoting the ruling:

"The order of this court does not go beyond the questions necessary to determine this motion seeking a protective order against that single subpoena, and it cannot and should not be read or interpreted more broadly," the judge said. "The court makes no finding as to the ultimate merits of Apple's claims, or any defenses to those claims. Those issues remain for another day."

This spells the end of the magazine (4, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | more than 9 years ago | (#11916116)

Because nobody will want to tell them anything anymore, since they have no guarantee of identity protection.

Re:This spells the end of the magazine (1)

Rii (777315) | more than 9 years ago | (#11916213)

Nobody will tell them anything and sign their name anymore. They'll just always be anonymous now, with some sort of proof they're from apple. Maybe a lock of Steve Job's hair, I dunno. Yes, the magazine may get some bum stories, but it doesn't have to mean no more information.

Re:This spells the end of the magazine (5, Interesting)

Shinzaburo (416221) | more than 9 years ago | (#11916228)

We could only be so lucky. Honestly, I won't mind too much if this hubbub results in ThinkSecret and the rest of the rumor mill going belly-up. Much like the judge mentioned in his ruling, I don't believe the "information" those sites provide actually serves the public interest. If the prognosticating were half-way reliable, perhaps it might have value to those to need to make purchase decisions. But it's not half-way reliable, so there really isn't any value being provided.

Those sites just take all the sizzle out of Apple's announcements, leaving people unnecessarily disappointed and let down. Good riddance to them.

Apple "Wins" Highly Misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11916119)

Saying Apple "wins" in the headline doesn't take into account the numerous reversals these type of cases tend to take.

While it isn't clear that it will be appealed, if it is, the next decision may be quite different.

But leave it to SlashDot's unique ability to confuse while trying clear things up...

And yet, on the other hand... (4, Funny)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 9 years ago | (#11916122)

People who publish trade secrets that might hurt a company are forced to reveal their sources, but people who publish Top Secret documents are protected. (Anybody remember that stupid ruling on The Pentagon Papers?) I guess that proves that businesses are more important than National Security.

Re:And yet, on the other hand... (3, Insightful)

aristotle-dude (626586) | more than 9 years ago | (#11916146)

That's because freedom of press is supposed to protect against government abuses. Without a free press, it is difficult to keep the government accountable to the people.

What you seem to be confused about is that companies, like people have rights which have to be considered.

Re:And yet, on the other hand... (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 9 years ago | (#11916215)

What you seem to be confused about is that companies, like people have rights which have to be considered.

You make a good point, but miss mine. Apple had every right to protect its trade secrets. I see nothing wrong with what they did, and if insiders violated NDAs, they deserve what they get.

Granted, the Pentagon Papers shouldn't have been classified Top Secret, because they didn't qualify, but that's what they were. Whoever leaked them broke the law in doing so, and the newspaper had no right to posess or read them. By not turning them over to the apropriate authorities, they broke the law, and by publishing them, they broke it again. Instead of being punished, they were commended. My feeling is that they should have been convicted, given the maximum sentance and an instant, complete pardon because it was in the national interest to reveal the abuses involved. The conviction and sentance would act as a reminder to anybody wanting to follow their footsteps that they do so at their own risk.

Re:And yet, on the other hand... (3, Informative)

Kiryat Malachi (177258) | more than 9 years ago | (#11916245)

There is an exemption in the law for information that is in the public interest; as such, the whole conviction/pardon thing would be ignoring the law, not following it.

In other words, the papers did NOT break the law, since they fell under what is commonly called a "whistleblower" exemption.

Re:And yet, on the other hand... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11916229)

That's because freedom of press is supposed to protect against government abuses. Without a free press, it is difficult to keep the government accountable to the people. What you seem to be confused about is that companies, like people have rights which have to be considered.

There is plenty of reason to be confused about the line between the government and companies in America these days. If you don't understand the danger of what is happening, you're part of the problem.

Did you get the memo? (1)

swb (14022) | more than 9 years ago | (#11916167)

You know, the one where "corporate business" *is* the new national security?

Re:And yet, on the other hand... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11916180)

and then why is it that G Liddy went to for not revealig who Deep Throat was/is?

Robert Novak and Ambassador Wilson's wife (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11916127)

This case means then that it was not legal for Novak to print the information that Wilson's wife was a covert CIA agent. Novak has been protecting his 'sources' in the Whitehouse using the same argument.

Hopefully, this is gonna blow that up!!!

Novak...what an ugly, sick pig.

All the more reason we need anonymous networks... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11916130)

It's not about MP3s. It's not about warez. It's not about whistleblowers.

They'll keep chipping away at what we can do.

We need a network that works like the internet, but has all the features that it does. Maybe someone would like to run an "Apple secrets" website on MetaNTWRK [fshell.org] ?

His name is.... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11916150)

Anonymous Coward.

Catch me if you can :)

Apple's Profit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11916166)

What if Apple profited from the sale of one of their machines to someone who read that illegal information? along the lines of profiting from the proceeds of crime or something. blah. i'm going to bed

Good! (4, Insightful)

pair-a-noyd (594371) | more than 9 years ago | (#11916202)

The employees stole and disclosed company trade secrets. The broke the law and are criminals, they should be treated as criminals.

The people that published this material are accessories to a crime and should also be treated as criminals.

This isn't about free speech, this is about a crime.

The Rule of Law (4, Insightful)

Viking Coder (102287) | more than 9 years ago | (#11916204)

Saying that no one has the right to publish information that could have been provided only by someone breaking the law

It's about time Robert Novak was thrown in jail for outing Valerie Plame!

Oh - we're just talking about Apple insiders? Who gives a fuck?

Zeig Heil apple! (0, Troll)

the_Bionic_lemming (446569) | more than 9 years ago | (#11916241)

I don't understand how apple is harmed by, let's say, the reveiling of a sub 500.00 low powered apple?

These "secrets" that apple is suing online bloggers for are really nothing worth being "secret" about.

Cripes, Apple, Lighten up - Get in the mainstream by being more open and receptive to the online community instead of turning to litigation over the equivalent of a mountain from a molehill.

Giambi (1)

brjndr (313083) | more than 9 years ago | (#11916247)

Jason Giambi's grand jury testimony was leaked to the SF Chronicle. That's how we all new he admitted to using steroids. Those transcripts are sealed, but someone broke the law and released them. Shouldn't that person be found and punished too?
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?