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Apple Gives up 'Asteroid' Subpoena Attempts

Discussion in 'MacRumors News Discussion (archive)' started by MacRumors, Jul 12, 2006.

  1. macrumors bot



    CNet reports that Apple has abandoned its legal efforts to force a PowerPage and AppleInsider to release information about the source of leaked information about an unreleased Apple product (Asteroid).

    Part of the reason that the subpoena had originally been denied was that Apple had not adequately performed their own internal investigation before proceeding with the subpoena. The case drew national attention due to the potential impact this would have on web journalism.

    Apple's original lawsuit against the leakers, of course, remains active, but Apple will have to use another method to find their identities. Meanwhile, Apple's direct ThinkSecret lawsuit remains active.
  2. macrumors 6502a

    Seems to me Apple should hae done their homework before proceeding with this lawsuit;). Perhaps they just wanted to put the fear of God into sites to stop the flow of leaks
  3. macrumors 6502a


    So, has Apple found the loose lipped employees? Or, is Apple ready to release Asteroid and giving up the attempt?
  4. macrumors 6502

    I think they will just give up. They aren't going to stop the machine of information. If they trounce thinksecret, another one will pop up.
  5. macrumors 68020


    does anybody think they actually will release asteroid?
  6. macrumors member


    Yes it is going to be/or was either
    a. a program where that a secret is told to many differnt people and the people that leak the info will be struck by an asteroid. :rolleyes:
    b. A program to destroy microsoft. :rolleyes:
    c. a computer that will out power all but be in an encloser no larger than a mac mini! :eek: :rolleyes:
    d. a fake product apple designed stuff for to see if they could find a leak :rolleyes:

    all i know is apple wants to keep things secret because it word gets out 5 months b4 a major upgrade then people will not buy apple products until they release it.

    also for instance we know the mac pro is comin soon well i have friends and cohorts that once releaced they will order one or two as the case may be.
  7. macrumors 68020


    um, asteroid was a firewire audio interface. i asked about the asteroid ever possibly coming out, not apple's attitude towards leaks.
  8. macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Maybe now Apple will focus on what will make them and shareholders more money, than chasing after rumors.
  9. macrumors 68030


    I'm with one of these these two, either they used the midi and guitar jacks to disguise mac mini development or steve had them take a mini prototype, add the jacks and used it to sniff for leaks.
  10. macrumors 65816

    If plans for a product got out before that product was released, that probably won't make Apple quite as much money.
  11. macrumors 6502a


    But, it still makes more money than not releasing the above product at all.
  12. macrumors regular


    that is very, very true. i think they scrapped asteroid altogether.
  13. macrumors 68000


    I read somewhere that it was released just under another company (i.e. Apple sold it to company-X).

    Yes, I remember reading that it was the iControl from M-Audio That could very well be a load, though.

  14. macrumors 65816


    I'm no lawyer, but couldn't have Apple sued in federal court, as it's my understanding there's no press shield law at that level?
  15. macrumors 6502a


    While I get what apple wanted to do with the subpeona, I think that its a good thing they didnt get that far with it, bloggers arent really journalists, but apple should work on closing internal leaks rather than trying to sue real (if you can call TS real) journalists for doing their job.
  16. macrumors member

    No - the company is seeking to find out information for a suit under California's Trade Secrets law against various "John Does" (it isn't suing the sites themselves). That means it can't subpeona for information connected to the case in a different court. What's more, even if it could, it would fail: there are long-standing "protection of journalism sources" precedents in Federal cases.
  17. macrumors member

    The bloggers/journalist divide is completely irrelevant to this case. O'Grady, Bhatia et al are journalists: the fact that they publish on the web is irrelevant.
  18. macrumors member

    I've seen this repeated again and again, and never seen a single shred of tangible evidence for it. Think Secret reported the release of the Mac mini before it happened (and it being sued for it): has that prevented it becoming a success? Has it allowed anyone else to copy it? No, of course not.

    Can anyone give an example of where a story about an Apple product before its release has allowed a competitor to copy it? Or meant that it was less of a success in the market place?
  19. macrumors 6502a


    I was under the impression that the big issue with this case was that Apple was taking on the right of journalists to publish things that may or may not be secret and more specifically how they obtained the information. The fact that the leaks about asteroid started online is relavant , primarily because if apple succeeds with the subpoena web journalism wont be taken as serious as print journalism and wont be governed by the same rights and laws ect, and thats where bloggers do come in, certain reputable bloggers are considered journalists... but thats only as far as I understand the situation... might be 100% wrong.
  20. macrumors 6502a


    But the reason Apple pursued ... is why they lost

    Apple lost this lawsuit solely on the fact of the angle they chose to prosecute it from ... are bloggers journalists? That wasn't the meat of the case. The thing they should have gone after was "can ANY journalist post trade secrets?"

    The answer is NO!
  21. macrumors 6502a


    Actually, I'm embroiled in a lawsuit now ... that is questioning whether my blog is that of a journalist and capable of publishing "news and news commentary"

    My blog IS a news and news commentary outlet ... I gather news and report and comment on news. It's not that you just say you are a journalist ... it's that you are.

    You're right, a lot of people are claiming the term and abusing it ... and even though I dislike OGrady very much ... his site is news and news commentary ... however redundant and "unethical" it may be.
  22. macrumors regular

    Yikes - it does look a bit Apple-esque, doesn't it?!
  23. macrumors member

    Not really wrong - that was one of the subsidiary arguments that Apple used - but that wasn't the main thrust of the case. There were actually three strands to Apple's case:

    1. The sources were not protected, as the sites were not "periodicals" which gain shield law protection under California State law.
    2. That it had had its trade secrets (as defined under the California State law) leaked.
    3. Apple had exhausted all other methods of identifying the leakers, and thus it was entitled to subpeona the journalists to find their sources - something for which there's precedent.

    The first argument wasn't really the crux of the matter, and it's pretty clear that Apple never expected to win that argument. The shield law (which, importantly, protects "periodicals" NOT journalists) was very broadly written, and it's very doubtful that Apple's lawyers would have based their hopes on getting web sites precluded from it. It was worth a shot, but it wasn't the main thrust of the case - at least legally. However, in the press it was very much set up as about whether bloggers were journalists, which isn't even relevant.

    The second argument was where Apple really messed up. It consistently alluded in its court filings to the fact that its trade secrets had been leaked - something that's a criminal offence under California's trade secret law. However, in its filings it made no attempt to actually show that a crime had been committed. It never showed that what was leaked constituted a trade secret, nor that the leak itself was illegal (as the judge put it, "That offense requires proof of, among other things, 'intent to deprive or withhold the control of [the] trade secret from its owner, or . . . to appropriate [the] trade secret to [the defendant’s] own use or to the use of another . . . .'").

    Worse still, Apple significantlly undermined its own case in this respect by not joining the web sites themselves to a trade secrets case as defendents. It claimed that the sites published its trade secrets which, it claimed, had been illegally acquired. But at no point did it actually file a case against the sites accusing them of doing so. This means that Apple wasn't subpeonaing people it was accusing - it was subpeonaing third parties not enjoined to the case, which was a civil case not criminal. This undermined Apple's case, as courts are much less likely to overrule shield laws in civil cases.

    However, there's clear precedent that journalists can be forced to reveal sources in cases in exceptional circumstances. Even at this point, Apple could have won its case: except for the fact that it hadn't done its job properly.

    In order to force a journalist to reveal his sources in this kind of case, you need, legally, to have exhausted all other possible methods of getting the information you need. Apple, alas, did not do this: or, rather, it did not file documents with the court SHOWING that it had done this. As the judge put it:

    "For example, would server or workstation logs show that an employee had copied the file to a CD-ROM? Transferred it to a flash memory device? Printed a copy? Printed it to an image file and transferred that? Uploaded it to an off-site host using any of various file transfer protocols? Attached it to an email sent through a web-based mail server rather than through Apple’s own servers? Transferred it directly to a laptop or other portable computer? Without answers to these questions it is impossible to say that Apple “exhausted” other means of identifying the source of the leak. Yet Apple’s showing was entirely silent on these points even though petitioners asserted in the trial court that Apple had not 'fully exploited internal computer forensics.' "​

    All of which adds up to Apple failing miserably to show that it had a case in court. Apple's legal team messed up - badly.
  24. macrumors 68000


    I don't think so, that is just a controller box and not an audio interface...the way asteroid has been described on here, it would be more like this M-Audio box.

    I got tired of waiting for asteroid and got an M-Audio 410 and love it
  25. macrumors 6502a


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