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Apple vs Bloggers

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the a-doesn't-like-b dept.

271

Moby Cock writes "Jason O'Grady has posted a story on his ZDNet blog detailing the state of the current legal trouble he is embroiled in with Apple. He views it as another salvo in Apple's efforts to stamp out rumour sites posting 'trade secrets' prior to the official announcements. The discussion becomes rather pointed and goes as far as to suggest that the case is really a case in support of freedom of the press." From the article: "At issue was a series of stories that I ran in October 2004 about an upcoming product that was in development. Was it the next great PowerBook? Maybe the a red hot iPod? Maybe a killer new version of the OS? Nah. The stories about a FireWire breakout box for GarageBand, code-named 'Asteroid.' Yawn."

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Its still illegal (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15102451)

"...yawn.".

Whether or not the product in question was exciting doesn't make it any more legal to report trade secrets.

Re:Its still illegal (1)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 8 years ago | (#15102474)

It's not illegal. If anything, he would be liable for getting someone under confidence or NDA to breach. But the reporting itself should be fine.

Re:Its still illegal (3, Informative)

burndive (855848) | more than 8 years ago | (#15102525)

It's not illegal.
Yes. It is [tscm.com] .

Re:Its still illegal (1)

Elwood P Dowd (16933) | more than 8 years ago | (#15102585)

But it isn't a trade secret once your employee tells it to a reporter. Right?

Re:Its still illegal (2, Insightful)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 8 years ago | (#15102731)

Wrong, it means the employee violated the law too.

Re:Its still illegal (4, Informative)

ehrichweiss (706417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15102972)

Actually depending on the circumstances, the employee may be the only one breaking any law. Since it's not known who told him or how, it could have been overheard in an elevator which would make him innocent of any wrongdoing. Theft of trade secrets involves KNOWINGLY spreading trade secrets and there are plenty of ways he might not have known.

Re:Its still illegal (2, Insightful)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | more than 8 years ago | (#15102797)

And your medical information is no longer privileged when your doctor tells his wife. Right?

Or your lawyer his. Right?

Thought not.

Re:Its still illegal (1)

Elwood P Dowd (16933) | more than 8 years ago | (#15103087)

I would sue the pants off my doctor.

Or my lawyer.

Not their wives.

Re:Its still illegal (2, Insightful)

Firehed (942385) | more than 8 years ago | (#15102935)

But surely rumors about a true video iPod or vanilla MacBook aren't trade secrets, just theoretical upcoming product releases, right? It's not as if Think Secret et al are posting how to reverse-engineer iTMSv6 FairPlay, which most definately would be a trade secret, not to mention DMCA violation. While I can't say I love Apple protecting release info like they do, they have every right to do so, but calling release data 'trade secrets' to make rumor sites illegal is crossing the line imo.

Re:Its still illegal (1)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 8 years ago | (#15102588)

The only possible offense could be that he received or attempted to receive a trade secret that he knew to be stolen - which probably could not be proven and which is not what Apple is suing him over. Anyways, there's still no prohibition on publication, which is what I was referring to.

Re:Its still illegal (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 8 years ago | (#15103027)

18 USC 1832(a)(2) does make it illegal to publish a trade secret. It's obviously unconstitutional at least as applied to publication if not on its face, but you'll never get the Robed 9 to agree.
1832. Theft of trade secrets

(a) Whoever, with intent to convert a trade secret, that is related to or included in a product that is produced for or placed in interstate or foreign commerce, to the economic benefit of anyone other than the owner thereof, and intending or knowing that the offense will , injure any owner of that trade secret, knowingly--

(2) without authorization copies, duplicates, sketches, draws, photographs, downloads, uploads, alters, destroys, photocopies, replicates, transmits, delivers, sends, mails, communicates, or conveys such information;

Oh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15103136)

Oh shut up, you got owned. If you meant what you just said, you would have said it.

OWNED.

Re:Its still illegal (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15102589)

No. It is not [gpoaccess.gov] .

Not if... (1)

msauve (701917) | more than 8 years ago | (#15102799)

he didn't intend, or didn't know that the offense would injure the owner of that trade secret. It's not clear that Apple has suffered any injury (although they'll no doubt claim they have), but that is for the court to decide.

What he did is not a crime at this time, as that has yet to be proven. You are not a court, and you are not able to pronounce judgement.

Re:Not if... (4, Informative)

vought (160908) | more than 8 years ago | (#15102957)

he didn't intend, or didn't know that the offense would injure the owner of that trade secret. It's not clear that Apple has suffered any injury (although they'll no doubt claim they have), but that is for the court to decide.

Jason O'Grady has been publishing leaks about unreleased Apple products for over ten years. I'd say he knows exactly what he did, and that it was against the law.

Re:Its still illegal (1)

ehrichweiss (706417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15102947)

From your link:
"In General.-- Whoever, intending or knowing that the offense will benefit any foreign government, foreign instrumentality, or foreign agent, knowingly--"[emphasis mine]

Re:Its still illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15103165)

Yes. It is.
No. It's not. [state.gov]

Re:Its still illegal (1)

Nirvelli (851945) | more than 8 years ago | (#15103169)

Wrong:
1831. Economic espionage
(a) In General.-- Whoever, intending or knowing that the offense will benefit any foreign government, foreign instrumentality, or foreign agent, knowingly--
...
1832. Theft of trade secrets
(a) Whoever, with intent to convert a trade secret, that is related to or included in a product that is produced for or placed in interstate or foreign commerce, to the economic benefit of anyone other than the owner thereof, and intending or knowing that the offense will injure any owner of that trade secret, knowingly--


If anything, an article about it will generate publicity, and therefore help Apple, not hurt them.

Re:Its still illegal (2, Funny)

mctk (840035) | more than 8 years ago | (#15102667)

The question is whether Steve Jobs authorized the leak. Cause then it's not a leak. Well, it is still a leak, but not one of those illegal kind. But then, of course, reporting it would be encouraged, cause, remember, it's not really a leak (the illegal kind, that is).

What about the other side of this? (1)

babbling (952366) | more than 8 years ago | (#15102836)

Ignoring whether or not it is legal, and whether or not it should be legal, it seems to me as though Apple are doing something stupid, here.

Whenever something is brewing from Google, many rumours fly around, and lots of buzz is generated. Very often, one of the rumours is the real product, but lots of buzz is generated because no one really knows for sure what is coming. It seems Apple are naturally attaining the same position as Google - lots of buzz is being generated about Apple products. That is, until Apple sue everyone who published the rumour that turned out to be correct.

Apple are morons for doing this. They should be slowly stirring the pot, like Google is. It generates speculation, excites potential customers, and probably even reveals some good future product ideas in the process! I've never seen rumours subtract from the effectiveness of a Google product launch, and I see no reason why it should be any different for Apple.

They're killing off an opportunity that any other company would pay millions of dollars for.

Re:What about the other side of this? (1)

Crizp (216129) | more than 8 years ago | (#15103129)

But when Apple squashes rumour sites, and news of it gets published, wouldn't you say even more buzz is created? "If Apple stopped this, maybe there's something to it? OMG! I can't wait to see! Ponies!"

Re:Its still illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15103020)

If the information is available to a reporter that has not signed a non-disclosure agreement with the company claiming a trade secret, then that information is no longer a trade secret. The "illegality" of non-parties to a non-disclosure agreement reporting something they have learned is dubious at best. These are not classified documents containing information pertinent to the national security of the United States. If a business can't stop its leaking, it is not the job of the government to fill the holes.

Just because your friend has contracted with you to keep a secret does not mean anyone they tell the secret to is bound by your contract. And it sure the fuck ain't the job of the government to stuff a third party's mouth.

A homo/geek slap fight! (0, Offtopic)

Shut the fuck up! (572058) | more than 8 years ago | (#15102454)

The best.

Putting quotes around "trade secrets" (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Crowhead (577505) | more than 8 years ago | (#15102462)

Doesn't make them not trade secrets.

Re:Putting quotes around "trade secrets" (2, Insightful)

Elwood P Dowd (16933) | more than 8 years ago | (#15102505)

Putting quotes around "trade secrets" doesn't make them not trade secrets.
Telling them to a reporter does though.

Re:Putting quotes around "trade secrets" (1, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#15102559)

Putting quotes around "trade secrets" doesn't make them not trade secrets.

Telling them to a reporter does though.
The main difference between a reporter and a blogger is that a reporter has the company lawyers to back him/her up.

If it was really as simple as "tell a reporter the trade secrets", then wouldn't it make sense for every big corporation to put out a newspaper/magazine and have a few reporters on the payroll to collect trade secrets? Corporate espionage happens & it'd be a lot simpler if disgruntled-employee-x could just tell a 'reporter' for the competitor some juicy information.

Re:Putting quotes around "trade secrets" (5, Informative)

dr.badass (25287) | more than 8 years ago | (#15102681)

Putting quotes around "trade secrets" doesn't make them not trade secrets. Telling them to a reporter does though.

Actually, according to the Uniform Trade Secrets Act [nsi.org] , it doesn't:

(2) "Misappropriation " means: (i) acquisition of a trade secret of another by a person who knows or has reason to know that the trade secret was acquired by improper means; or (ii) disclosure or use of a trade secret of another without express or implied consent by a person who (A) used improper means to acquire knowledge of the trade secret; or (B) at the time of disclosure or use knew or had reason to know that his knowledge of the trade secret was (I) derived from or through a person who has utilized improper means to acquire it; (II) acquired under circumstances giving rise to a duty to maintain its secrecy or limit its use; or (III) derived from or through a person who owed a duty to the person seeking relief to maintain its secrecy or limit its use; or (C) before a material change of his position, knew or had reason to know that it was a trade secret ad that knowledge of it had been acquired by accident or mistake.

Given that rumor sites operate on the principle of soliciting inside information, it's hard to make the case that they didn't know they had gotten some unless they admit that most of what they print isn't inside information (i.e., that they make it up).

Re:Putting quotes around "trade secrets" (1)

bagsc (254194) | more than 8 years ago | (#15102925)

The company can sue the employee who leaks a "secret" but once it has been leaked to the public, it's no longer "secret" - and its permissible to be published. The company has to prove that it does take efforts to keep it a secret (NDAs, etc), and if a reporter discovers it without it being leaked, then it's corporate espionage. If its leaked, then its a breach of contract with the company.

The question is how the secret became public in the first place. Obviously, if the John Doe who runs the blog is an Apple employee, a civil case will be straight-forward. If the blogger misappropriated the "secret" (ie conducted industrial espionage), then it's a criminal case - though the standard of proving guilt is significantly higher. A criminal investigation could establish if the blogger is breaking security measures or subpoena the defendant for his sources, and possibly land the blogger in Contempt.

Also worth noting, if Apple doesn't sue, then that could be taken as evidence they aren't trying to keep their "secrets" secret, and when something important gets leaked, they're screwed.

Re:Putting quotes around "trade secrets" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15103013)

The company can sue the employee who leaks a "secret" but once it has been leaked to the public, it's no longer "secret" - and its permissible to be published.

Sure. If Joe Blogger posts, in his public blog, extremely detailed info about the products that Apple is planning to release, and I relay the information in question, I've not broken any law. If Joe Blogger got the information in question as an inside tip from somebody he can reasonably expect to be an Apple insider who's not authorized to disclose it, then he has broken a law.

I can claim that any information I get from Joe Blogger's public blog, by virtue of being in a public blog, is public. Joe Blogger himself, however, doesn't have that defense, since he made the information public.

Re:Putting quotes around "trade secrets" (0, Troll)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 8 years ago | (#15103049)

If Joe Blogger got the information in question as an inside tip from somebody he can reasonably expect to be an Apple insider who's not authorized to disclose it, then he has broken a law.

Which is simply ridiculous.

Re:Putting quotes around "trade secrets" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15103139)

Which is simply ridiculous.

Sure. Write your representatives and ask them to change the law, or submit an amicus brief to the courts, asking them to throw out this law.

Re:Putting quotes around "trade secrets" (2, Insightful)

NutscrapeSucks (446616) | more than 8 years ago | (#15103035)

One thing to consider is that companies intentionally "leak" information all the time, especially in the computer industry where FUD is a common marketing tactic. Even Apple "leaked" their Intel plans to the WSJ and ZDNet, so they are not exempt to this rule.

So how is a publisher supposed to know if a bit of info is an illicit trade secret, or simply a marketing whisper campaign? At the very least it's plausible denability.

Re:Putting quotes around "trade secrets" (0)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 8 years ago | (#15103069)

I believe the constitution supercedes this act. Or at least it should. In America that is.

Putting a Law Around "Trade Secrets" (2, Insightful)

Black Copter Control (464012) | more than 8 years ago | (#15102678)

Putting quotes around "trade secrets" Doesn't make them not trade secrets.

And putting a law around "Trade Secrets" doesn't make them constitutionally protected.

If the government gives a corporation the 'right' to take away my constitutional rights, that's a government action -- even if by proxy.

Re:Putting a Law Around "Trade Secrets" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15102716)

Putting "tinfoil" around your "head" does not stop the "government" from controlling your "brain", Mr Black Copter Control.

Re:Putting quotes around "trade secrets" (0)

pla (258480) | more than 8 years ago | (#15102707)

Putting quotes around "trade secrets"
Doesn't make them not trade secrets.


Quotes or not, "trade secrets" count as just that - secrets.

As soon as the whole world knows about them, they lose that status.

And, for the real shocker - simply talking about them doesn't break the law! Violating an NDA does. B&E or cracking to obtain them does. Admittedly most ways of obtaining them probably break the law. But talking about them, writing about them, blogging about them? Nope.

Companies have things like NDAs precisely to keep "trade secrets" a "secret". If they counted as legally-protected IP, a company would hold a patent on them instead.


Most of these anti-blogger and anti-indy-news lawsuits you hear about involve Apple trying to force the author to reveal their sources, not something so petty as a mere cash settlement. Ironically, though, thanks to the sheer number of bloggers out there speculating on Apple's Next Big Thing (patent pending), the "source" of these leaks ends up Apple's own legal team - You can tell what they have in their pipeline by which random rumor-mills they choose to go after.

When the guy standing guard at the end of a pier with a glaringly obvious docked Trident sub answers questions like "so, do I see a Trident sub over there?" with "No Comment", they don't respond so uselessly just to piss off the blind - If he doesn't refuse to answer all questions, you can extract useful information just from what questions he won't answer.

Re:Putting quotes around "trade secrets" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15102914)

no, the guard should respond by putting a bullet in your fucking head.

Re:Putting quotes around "trade secrets" (1)

pla (258480) | more than 8 years ago | (#15103067)

no, the guard should respond by putting a bullet in your fucking head.

Uh-huh.

If you can't do better than that, I can see why you posted as an AC.

Sad. But then, Bush won, eh?

No surprise. (0, Flamebait)

reklusband (862215) | more than 8 years ago | (#15102463)

I'm a long time Apple fan, and even I'm not surprised to see this. Since Apple started making the big Ipod+Itunes money, they've started getting...well...EVIL!!! Not Microsoft evil, but definitely more lawyer oriented, as happens in big company (google, anyone?) I think this kindof stuff, combined with the recent Intel switch, will further serve to alienate the Machead fan base, but have little impact on the MUCH bigger new base of clients, which is a much larger pool. We probably won't see the old Apple again for at least a long time. Who do you think will take their spot in the market for rabid devotion?

Re:No surprise. (3, Informative)

CRC'99 (96526) | more than 8 years ago | (#15102553)

At least he gets a reply from Apple!

I just get told to get bent when I'm reporting a fault with my equipment [crc.id.au] . I'd be happy to get Apple to fix my SuperDrives.

Telling people with faulty equipment to get bent? Evil? Check on both accounts.

Re:No surprise. (1)

Solra Bizna (716281) | more than 8 years ago | (#15102568)

Who do you think will take their spot in the market for rabid devotion?

You post on Slashdot and you haven't heard of Linux? :P

-:sigma.SB

Re:No surprise. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15102662)

If you really are a long-time apple fan, you would know that Apple is one of the more litigious companies, stopping at nothing in the past to protect its secrecy and "think different" ways. It all started with the "look-and-feel" suit with Microsoft...

Now that I think about it, I've actually noticed a decline in the number of lawsuits they're bringing - they seem to be receiving more than giving right now. I think that's just a sign of their success.

Re:No surprise. (1)

drgreg911 (741844) | more than 8 years ago | (#15102738)

I don't think it's going to put a dent in the Machead fan base. The Mac users who support Apple because of the image will stay because Jobs is still around with the RDF. The other group of rabid users, of which I consider myself one, will keep on being devoted because OS X is still the best environment around for our needs. If that ever changes, I'll look to something else. In the meantime, OS X just kicks ass so I couldn't care less what legal actions Apple might take.

Re:No surprise. (4, Insightful)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 8 years ago | (#15102749)

It amuses me how people on Slashdot make fun of fundamentalist values like "Jesus" and "evil," but when a company dares try to protect leaks of its future in-development technologies, it's EVIL! In fact, apparently there is "Microsoft evil" and "lawyer oriented evil."

And what is this "old Apple" crap you're talking about? Apple has always been litigious, and this claim that they will "further alienate" the fan base, as if they're alienating them now, has no basis in fact. Actually, they're doing quite well as the quarterly results call is expected to show in May.

Basically, I'm out of quotation marks here to throw around your goofy phrases.

Re:No surprise. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15102954)

See, for me...Jesus IS EVIL... As far as Apple being litigious, they're no longer in the company to company lawsuit mindset, but the RIAA mindset. The fanbase which was the less than 2% of people who used a mac as their primary machine now make up an insignificant portion of their sales, that's why it's ok to alienate them, crazy fucks that they were.

Re:No surprise. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15103011)

So I take it you're a maltheist [wikipedia.org] , then?

Re:No surprise. (1)

ktappe (747125) | more than 8 years ago | (#15103076)

It amuses me how people on Slashdot make fun of fundamentalist values like "Jesus" and "evil," but when a company dares try to protect leaks of its future in-development technologies, it's EVIL!
Since when did fundamentalists own exclusive rights to the concept of evil (and/or good for that matter)? The term "evil" as it is commonly accepted throughout the society in which most of us live means unnecessary acts that are extraordinarly against the well-being of an individual and/or group with little or no regard for social morays. That is, the entity performing the act voluntarily chooses to do it, hurts the heck out of someone else, doesn't care how badly they're hurting them, and doesn't (seem to) care what others think of it. Yep, I do think Apple's actions here fit that. And I don't see why one has to be fundamentalist to agree.

-Kurt

Re:No surprise. (5, Insightful)

vought (160908) | more than 8 years ago | (#15103014)

Since Apple started making the big Ipod+Itunes money, they've started getting...well...EVIL!!!

No, it's more like "since Steve Jobs came back Apple's had some fucking pride, discipline and follow-up"

Apple employees have been wanting O'Grady's ass in a sling for over ten years now. Since Steve returned, the level of cynicism at the company has fallen to all time lows (though by no means extinguished) and employees understand they have a stake in every last competitive advantage possible - including secrecy about unannounced products.

Every time O'Grady publishes a leak from an Apple contractor, third party, or employee, he materially damages all the hard work and expense of keeping those products secret.

Apple spends a shit load (metric) of money to keep developing products under wraps - security patrols, disguises, etc. - very similar to how large car companies develop and test new designs.

And though you can find snapshots of heavily-disguised prototype cars in the auto magazines, those photographers hunt down the testers and photograph from great distances - they're not passing along privileged information from an employee who signed a contract to keep that information secret.

In other words, if some doofus Apple employee took the new ÜberBook iPro to the Donut Wheel and someone snapped a picture and published it, neither the photographer or publisher would be liable. If the same employee sent O'Grady an e-mail about the machine, both parties would be liable for dissemination of the information.

See the difference?

Red Hot Ipods!?? (3, Funny)

AWhiteFlame (928642) | more than 8 years ago | (#15102483)

> red hot ipod.

And people thought black didn't really match the iMacs.

Symphathy for Apple (2, Insightful)

ajakk (29927) | more than 8 years ago | (#15102484)

I feel symphathy for Apple on this one. Apple makes it money by getting behind innovative products that sell well. They need to be able to project an image that they will not tolerate people releasing their trade secrets, because Apple loses significant amounts of money to people cloning their products. While a Firewire breakout box isn't a big deal, think of the amount of money that people make putting out unlicensed accessories for the iPod. Apple wants to have some time while its product is out on the market that it gets the revenue stream from accessories before cloners get their products on the market.

Re:Symphathy for Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15102496)

Fuck apple, they would fuck you if they had the chance.

Re:Symphathy for Apple (4, Interesting)

venicebeach (702856) | more than 8 years ago | (#15102518)

Yes, but the lawsuit involves a more subtle issue: who is responsible, the insider violated an NDA and leaked the info, or the person who reports on the leaked info? O'grady claims that the information was not specifically requested, and he merely reported on it when it was passed along to him. That's why they are framing it as a journalistic freedom issue. Definitely a gray area...

Re:Symphathy for Apple (1)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 8 years ago | (#15102670)

One of us doesn't understand contract law.

(Actually, I imagine neither of us really understand it, but only you have proven it.)

-Peter

Re:Symphathy for Apple (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 8 years ago | (#15103073)

So wait, I can sign a contract that says I'll keep stuff secret, and other people who haven't signed the contract are bound to it? Wow! I think contract law might need a slight change in America.

Jason (and Nick) needs to memorize this phrase: (1)

jpellino (202698) | more than 8 years ago | (#15103096)

"Is this under an NDA?"
and banish this one from his vocabulary:
"Gosh, it looks legit. I think I'll tell the world."
Really. I can't believe that people who make it their business to report inside news can't understand or be sensitive to the notion that much heck, most - of what's not on the Apple press page is probably under NDA.
If it never occurred to you that any Apple employee that has detailed knowledge of unreleased products JUST MIGHT be breaking the contract and possibly law - then you need to review what we all seem to be able to guess - and we're not journalists like you claim to be.
As for the First Amendment angle, you're not Woodward and Bernstein, Apple is not subverting the government. You are not saving the world or fixing anything by telling us about improved LRF support for the next Apple doohicky three days early. I salivate over new Apple product as much as anyone - but I'm not going to risk my business to report it before the other guy. Speaking of which - for all their breathless competition - how come NOBODY - and I mean NOBODY saw BootCamp even 10 minutes early? It's not about journalistic skill - it's about the one poor shlub who's not smart enough to honor the NDA they signed finding you and figuring you can't resist the tasty nugget.
Jason, you've been a decent supporter of Apple, but that doesn't mean they're going to look the other way when you're on the receiving end of an NDA violation that is covered by law as others here have pointed out directly.

Re:Symphathy for Apple (3, Insightful)

penguin-collective (932038) | more than 8 years ago | (#15102534)

They need to be able to project an image that they will not tolerate people releasing their trade secrets, because Apple loses significant amounts of money to people cloning their products. While a Firewire breakout box isn't a big deal, think of the amount of money that people make putting out unlicensed accessories for the iPod.

My, of course, you should have to get a license to sell products! Those evil add-on companies are even daring to ship their accessories in white, without a license!!!

As for "cloning", Apple constantly clones other companies. It's the way business works. It's a good thing. If it weren't for the stuff Apple can copy freely, Apple products wouldn't be as good, since, although Apple engineers are pretty good, they can't invent everything by themselves.

Re:Symphathy for Apple (1)

ajakk (29927) | more than 8 years ago | (#15102673)

I am not saying that people shouldn't be able to clone Apple products. I just think that Apple deserves to have some lead time before the clones come out. If Apple wanted to, they could patent everything and its brother and start a stringent enforcement campaign of its patents. So, I don't have a problem with Apple getting a few weeks of exclusivity between it and its licensees for its products. They get this couple of weeks by keeping their trade secrets actually secret as close to release as they can.

Re:Symphathy for Apple (0, Offtopic)

nolife (233813) | more than 8 years ago | (#15102636)

I feel bad for Ford, imagine the money they are losing from Fram oil filters, Valvoline oil, BBS rims, Ventshade bug deflectors, Bridgestone tires, a Sears battery, and Pioneer car stereos. Oh the pity... Not to mention the all of the independent mechanics using non Ford purchased tools using manuals and guides not published by Ford. Oh the shame, I feel so bad.

Re:Symphathy for Apple (4, Funny)

multiOSfreak (551711) | more than 8 years ago | (#15103064)

Apple loses significant amounts of money to people cloning their products.

Yes, but to be fair, it does take MicroSoft abour 24 to 36 months to re-innovate Apple's design features into their products. That's plenty of time for Apple to make money and then release new innovations. :)

How to fix trade secrets (2, Insightful)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#15102486)

1. Don't tell anyone who can't keep a secret.
2. If you tell someone in the media and they leak it, cut them off from future trade secrets.
3. Realize that telling the media in advance of a product's release can be positive even if secrets are leaked -- giving an inside scoop can get you more media coverage upon release.

The idea of trying to protect a secret once you give it away is ludicrous. Even under a contract it is hard to enforce as Party A can tell it to their cousin who can post about it. If you want to control secrets, don't let them out, or don't have them in the first place.

Also, the Firewire interface for GarageBand would be awesome if it supported multiple channels (8, or more with multiple units), if it worked with the typical firewire delay, and if it was cheap. Apple could do it. I don't think it's "yawn" news since I personally know thousands of profitable small bands that use GarageBand over ProTools to record their basic EPs and do a fine job of it. I'm producing a band right now that made their demo on GarageBand and it sounds fantastic -- better than many of the ProTools recordings of the past 5 years that I've heard. Giving small bands more hardware is wise.

Insightful?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15102685)

"1. Don't tell anyone who can't keep a secret. ...

Even under a contract it is hard to enforce as Party A can tell it to their cousin who can post about it. If you want to control secrets, don't let them out, or don't have them in the first place."

What do you want Steve Jobs to do, make everything by hand himself and not get any partners (ie. Samsung) involved in any of their projects? If you have employees, if you work with third-party companies, you inevitably have to tell them what you're doing before hand before they can help you do it. And inevitably, there's going to be a hole in the chain. And a chain's only as strong as its weakest link.

Unfortunately, Apple is not a perfect entity. It is a company comprised of many imperfect individuals who'd sell their souls (or Apple's trade secrets) for a reasonable price.

Re:How to fix trade secrets (1)

stubear (130454) | more than 8 years ago | (#15102698)

The problem with your number 1 is that Apple doesn't know who's leaking the info, hence the lawsuits to determine the sources. The problem with number 2 is that Apple isn't telling the media anything prior to the planned announcements of their products. The problem with your number 3 is that it's up to sanctioned people at Apple to determine this, not the public, not these websites, not employees at Apple.

Re:How to fix trade secrets (4, Insightful)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 8 years ago | (#15102722)

The problem with (1) is that Apple is a *big* company. They have lots of people working for them, most of whom will know *something* about some secret project/gizmo/whatever.

Apple has a strong tradition of corporate secrecy, but what *exactly* can they do if some employee lets something slip after a few too many drinks, or for money, or for the "thrill" of revealing an exclusive ? I mean, it's not as though they're going to send 'steve@apple.com' an email the next morning confessing all, is it ?

From what I read earlier on digg, although he makes a big deal about the money Apple make/have in the bank, he's not being sued for cash or penalities, he's being sued to reveal his source, because it's the only way Apple can find and fire the guilty employee.

As for 'first amendment rights' being abused, I thought they were only rights that the government couldn't abuse, not that any limits on civil suits by corporations were imposed, but hell, I'm a bloody foreigner, so I'm probably wrong.

Simon

Re:How to fix trade secrets (2, Insightful)

vought (160908) | more than 8 years ago | (#15103033)

The problem with (1) is that Apple is a *big* company. They have lots of people working for them, most of whom will know *something* about some secret project/gizmo/whatever.

Apple is pretty compartmentalized - while I'm sure everyone knows *something* is coming, I'd be willing to bet that very few people have all the details.

One example: I'd be surprised if anyone besides ID, testing and the ad agency knew what a new product was actually going to look like until several days before release. Which explains why we've never seen even a picture of new Apple product more than a couple of days before an announcement over the past few years.

Oh agreed! (1)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 8 years ago | (#15103070)

I wasn't trying to suggest everyone knows everything, what I meant was that there is/was such a culture of corporate secrecy at Apple, that pretty much all new development is secret. So anyone working on anything new is probably in the position of knowing something valuable to the rumour sites...

Witness this boot-camp thing: apparently it's the 10.4.6 update that gives the ability to repartition the drive non-destructively. So the developers working on that were key to Boot Camp being possible.

And by valuable, I mean "worth cash". They generate hits on pages (with adverts) effectively funded by Apple's not-so-diligent employees, after all... I've no problem with people speculating (I'll even applaud if they get it right!), but I'd be pissed off if I was in Apple's shoes, and some company/individual was making it its/his business to ruin mine. And even then, they're not trying to stop him, they're trying to stop the employee from doing it again (presumably by firing him/her).

Simon

Re:How to fix trade secrets (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 8 years ago | (#15103094)

As for 'first amendment rights' being abused, I thought they were only rights that the government couldn't abuse, not that any limits on civil suits by corporations were imposed, but hell, I'm a bloody foreigner, so I'm probably wrong.


You are probably correct, but allowing courts to rule, even in civil cases, on speech issues is effectively a government endorsement of the restriction of freedom of speech, as it is a government entity (the courts) enforcing a decision upon the individual, etcetera.

Re:How to fix trade secrets (1)

Swift2001 (874553) | more than 8 years ago | (#15102871)

Yes, but your pointers don't apply to the rumor sites, which don't come to press conferences, and so on. Their entire modus operandi is to seek illicit, or unapproved sources of information. In political reporting, you have a big exception: is it in the public interest to know, and does the government have a legitimate interest in keeping it secret (troop positions and the like)?

But this is private information, that the corporation does not want to have known until a certain date. They don't tell the NY Times, or ZDTech, or C/Net. Some rumor sites dig up the dirt by finding insiders who are not authorized to divulge the information. No public interest is served; it's just fun. You can't cut off the rumor sites, they don't get authorized info.

Re:How to fix trade secrets (2, Funny)

lesv (258710) | more than 8 years ago | (#15102950)

When I was at Apple, I had no problem keeping secrets from leaking from Engineering. Every time I disclosed information to a new person on the project http://www.apple.com/airport/ [apple.com] , I started the meeting by saying that if you spoke to anyone about this project you would be fired. Remarkably, no problems.

Re:How to fix trade secrets (1)

hunterx11 (778171) | more than 8 years ago | (#15103085)

"Three people can keep a secret if two of them are dead."

Yawn yourself... (3, Interesting)

monktus (742861) | more than 8 years ago | (#15102510)

Just because the product in question isn't about the new 8 GHz opticore PowerBook, a yawn certainly isn't necessary. In fact, a FireWire interface from Apple would be pretty damn exciting news. Remember that one of Apple's strongest niches is in music production; not only have Macs been the industry standard platform for pro audio for years, Apple of course now own Logic. A FireWire audio interface would be a smart move, especially since Digidesign's recent purchase of M-Audio.

Re:Yawn yourself... (1)

DaveCBio (659840) | more than 8 years ago | (#15102900)

Right, but a pro isn't going to use a low end FW interface. There are already tons of excellent quality cross platform FW interfaces on the market. Also, even though Macs are still common in studios they don't have anywhere near the dominance they once had. Even Pro Tools, the defacto multitrack standard these days concentrates as much on it's Windows versions as much as it OSX counterpart. For me, I use PCs to do audio production because of costs. Most of the time you pay a premium for the same sort of software on a Mac. Even identical plug-ins are often more expensive for the Mac version. I assume this is because they figure they have less potential market to recover the dev costs.

Apple's benevolence (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15102531)

Articles like these make me wonder why Apple is praised as more ethical than Microsoft. Apple controls the hardware, actively squashed [wikipedia.org] clones, has a history [gripe2ed.com] of suppressing [slashdot.org] MAC OS RUMORS [appleturns.com]

What if..? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15102544)

What if Apple had not hit the iPod jackpot? Would they still be suing small-time bloggers?

The saddest part of this story is (from a consumer point of view) how a loyalist is kicked in the nuts by the company he/she has loved.

Re:What if..? (3, Insightful)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 8 years ago | (#15102767)

What if Apple had not hit the iPod jackpot? Would they still be suing small-time bloggers?

Hell, yeah, Steve Jobs instituted a strict "no leaks" policy when he returned to Apple. A few people got into trouble, including one lady who inadvertently had the upcoming "Think Different" ad budget published in an industry newsletter.

The saddest part of this story is (from a consumer point of view) how a loyalist is kicked in the nuts by the company he/she has loved.

Since when do "loyalists" have the right to kick a company in the nuts by blabbing about all its secret in-development products? I love the way people on Slashdot assume they have the "right" to absolutely anything at anyone's expense, especially if it's a company. Because companies are evil, right? Yawn.

Re:What if..? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15102843)

I think you are being overly critical. Hype is like oxygen for Apple and unsubstantiated rumors are half the reason people are interested in Mac World. It isn't like people are wondering what Jobs will wear. It is a synbiotic relationship and Apple is trying to have it both ways beacause they are, in fact, an evil-ish corporation.

Re:What if..? (5, Insightful)

vought (160908) | more than 8 years ago | (#15103062)

Since when do "loyalists" have the right to kick a company in the nuts by blabbing about all its secret in-development products? I love the way people on Slashdot assume they have the "right" to absolutely anything at anyone's expense, especially if it's a company. Because companies are evil, right? Yawn.

Fuckin' A. Maybe Jason should have to pay Apple back for the development costs of the product - or maybe just the costs of keeping the product secret, including security patrols, badge readers and the maintenance of, printing of employee handbooks that explicitly detail the company's NDA policy, heck - even down to the software they're probably now using to monitor their network for e-mail going to...Jason O'Grady.

JD, you got in trouble because you did something wrong and you knew it. Buck up, and don't use ZDNet's blog to get sympathy - it only makes you look pathetic.

Re:What if..? (1)

NutscrapeSucks (446616) | more than 8 years ago | (#15103138)

Hell, yeah, Steve Jobs instituted a strict "no leaks" policy when he returned to Apple

(Repress urge to make George Bush Joke)

I mentioned this elsewhere, but Apple leaked the fact they were switching to Intel to the Wall Street Journal. It's almost certain that leak was authorized.

Oh whatever... (5, Insightful)

CODiNE (27417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15102555)

Let's just quit the games and cries of "FWEEDOOOM!!!" and face the facts. This isn't about bloggers getting protection and freedom of the press, this is about NDA's and posting, yes, "trade secrets". This is already legally established for members of the press, journalists don't get protection when they break the law, neither should they. He'd be in the same legal trouble if he worked at the Washington Post, in fact he'd probably have lost his entire career over this.

Re:Oh whatever... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15102594)

RTFA. The journalists broke no law by posting the info. The 1st Amendment guarantees this.

Fanboy.

Re:Oh whatever... (2, Insightful)

Thnikkaman (818752) | more than 8 years ago | (#15102659)

That's exactly the GP's point. The 1st Amendment does NOT let you assist others in breaking their NDAs. It's against the law to publish trade secrets and this blogger is trying to get sympathy from people who think Apple is picking on him. He's not being sued for money or anything like that. Apple just wants to know who gave him the information so they can plug the leak. He's hardly a martyr for civil rights as he'd like us to believe.

Re:Oh whatever... (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#15102827)

The 1st Amendment does NOT let you assist others in breaking their NDAs. It's against the law to publish trade secrets

There's been no amendment to the Constitution that alters any part of the first amendment. As it is the source of all law, any federal law (trade secrets) that contradicts it is void. It's just that nobody notices.

Re:Oh whatever... (1)

Thnikkaman (818752) | more than 8 years ago | (#15102859)

The courts disagree. Ever heard of slander or libel?

Re:Oh whatever... (1)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 8 years ago | (#15102913)

I think his point is that the courts are wrong.

Re:Oh whatever... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15103057)

There's been no amendment to the Constitution that alters any part of the first amendment.

All this means is that any restrictions on speech can only be predicated on protecting other rights. For example, your right to engage in commerce, which requires that you (or indirectly, the business ventures that you own shares of) be able to control which information is disclosed to the public, and when.

Re:Oh whatever... (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 8 years ago | (#15103093)

rights explicitly laid down in the constitution must always supercede implicit rights, expecially implicit rights of corporations

Re:Oh whatever... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15102728)

Maybe you should read the article.
A Santa Clara County judge decided that journalists and their sources lose constitutional protection when they publish information that a business classifies as a "trade secret."
When they stepped over the line and posted "trade secrets" they broke the law. This is being argued, but currently, that's the ruling handed down by the judge. Until/if it is overturned it stands.

Re:Oh whatever... (1)

mantar (941076) | more than 8 years ago | (#15102850)

I don't disagree with your statements, but this is not about NDA's. This guy never entered into an NDA with Apple. NDA means Non-Disclosure AGREEMENT and requires the consent of both parties. If anything, he might be guilty of corporate espionage.

No, he views it as more publicity! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15102616)

Powerpage has such a poor prediction record that I'm amazed that he actually did score a genuine leak. I guess this is supposed to boost credibility for the other 99 percent of Powerpage predictions that come from some combination of monkeys flying out of his butt and rereadings of Nostradamus.

plural vs contraction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15102646)

The stories about a FireWire breakout box for GarageBand, code-named "Asteroid."

You'd think that someone like O'Grady would be able to use the correct form of story's here. (It's a contraction for 'story is,' not the plural form of the word.)

No lawsuits for the big guys? (5, Insightful)

mgabrys_sf (951552) | more than 8 years ago | (#15102676)

Freedom of speech isn't the same thing as freedom from consequences - reasonable or otherwise.

There's also litigation bombs potential pertaining to libel and slander. You can choose to engage in libel and slander - but don't expect a free ride. Same thing here - you can spill the beans all you want. Just don't expect not to get a friendly reminder if the target decides to take action. And trust me - no one in this country needs to justify calling a lawyer - that's sorted out later.

I particularly love it when people cite newspapers as somehow being above the legal-fray that the little boy blogger gets.

I used to work for Pulitzer Publishing - and we used to get PILES of notifications from readers, companies, sponsers, sources - you name it. Just because there was a legal office - doesn't mean that they were playing foosball in there. We got whacked upside the head all the time. Next time you look at the local paper - check around the masthead for "corrections". Those usually are the result of an editor getting a friendly rejoinder from the legal department.

In otherwords bloggers - welcome to the club - there's plenty of legal bullshit to go around not to share. Enjoy!

Re:No lawsuits for the big guys? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15102713)

Freedom of speech isn't the same thing as freedom from consequences - reasonable or otherwise.

While I agree with the sentiment, this as it stands is nuts. If you'll be sent to Guantanamo for saying something reasonable, you're not "free to say it", and any society where that's the case is on its way to despotism.

Re:No lawsuits for the big guys? (1, Insightful)

quanticle (843097) | more than 8 years ago | (#15102727)

Freedom of speech isn't the same thing as freedom from consequences - reasonable or otherwise.

Yes it is. If you say or write something offensive to me, I do not have a right to take you to court, and neither does the government.

The issue here is that some types of speech are excepted from the ususal free speech rules. Trade secrets, libel/slander, and hate speech (in some cases) are examples. This guy's speech happened to fall into one of the above categories, and therefore he is open to legal action.

Re:No lawsuits for the big guys? (5, Insightful)

mgabrys_sf (951552) | more than 8 years ago | (#15102825)

re:"I do not have a right to take you to court, and neither does the government"

What a lovely world you live in - here's the real one.

You can be sued for anything - at anytime - for any reason - and here's the kicker - unlike the UK? If you win - the other guy doesn't have to pay your legal expenses. Which means you could be a winner - but bankrupt. Way to go winner!

Re:No lawsuits for the big guys? (1)

ehrichweiss (706417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15102888)

So was this guy supposed to call up Apple and say "Hey, I heard a rumor about this thing you're coming out with but no one else knows about it. Is it a trade secret????"

IANAL but last I heard trade secrets are only illegal to spread if you are under a non-disclosure agreement, otherwise it's just information I heard on the street. So if this guy wasn't under an NDA, he's in the clear for the most part. It won't stop the retarded corps from hassling him but it wouldn't be a big deal to get them off his back either.

Re:No lawsuits for the big guys? (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#15102847)

Freedom of speech isn't the same thing as freedom from consequences - reasonable or otherwise.

If someone brings you to trial, and the court rules that you did something wrong, then you are subject to their will. That is the exact opposite of freedom. This is not a difficult concept.

So NO to Apple Astroturfing (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15102694)


I think one of the best sites about Apple is mac-sucks.com [mac-sucks.com] .

Pretty funny and is in stark contrast to usual Apple's astroturfing.

Attacking the weak link (4, Interesting)

angrychimp (885088) | more than 8 years ago | (#15102701)

The reason I'm upset with Apple here is that according to this blog post, Apple went after the ISP first. That to me is a low blow. The ISP doesn't want to get in trouble with a corporate entity of Apple's size, so they'll do whatever they need to in order to get out of the crosshairs of a lawsuit.

The other problem is that the blogger mentions that the information he received was not identified as "confidential" or a "trade secret". When asked to remove the information, he compiled (again, according to his account). To me it appears that this guy did was he was asked and only did what any gossip columnist would have done in a print publication. This concern here (and what apparently brought in the EFF) was that if this had been a print publication, it would have been expected that the reporter would have been covered by first amendment rights. Whether or not that entitles Apple to seek the identity of the informant is a job for the courts. I personally feel that the informer should be punished.

Re:Attacking the weak link (1)

dingen (958134) | more than 8 years ago | (#15102759)

When asked to remove the information, he compiled

Ah yes, obviously a very smart move to cover your sources.

Missing the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15102796)

I think lots of people are very badyly missing the point. _ANYTHING_ that is not illegal a company could declare to be a "trade secret". If you were to discluse say some very unethical, but legal behavior, you could land in massive trouble if this type of legal ruling was allowed to stand. What exactly do you think gives news papers any rights to publish any information that a company find damaging in the first place????? SHOW me were you have a license to discuss that information? Didn't you read the EULA where you gave all your rights away? Yes the first admendment will still be around its just that effetively you will _rarely_ be able to use it.
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