Apple Legal vs Sources/Leaks

Discussion in 'MacRumors News Discussion (archive)' started by MacRumors, Apr 10, 2006.

  1. macrumors bot

    MacRumors

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    #1
    [​IMG]

    O'Grady (of PowerPage.org) posted some commentary from his perspective of the ongoing lawsuit involving Apple and leaked information on an unreleased Apple product (Asteroid). The lawsuit was filed by Apple in December against "Does 1-20" and subpoenas the ISPs of the sites (including PowerPage) involved for information about the source of the leaks.

    PowerPage is being represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and their defense claims that website sources are protected by the same laws that protect sources who leak information to journalists.

    A judge initially ruled in March 2005 that information such as this is classified as a "trade secret" is not covered under journalistic protection.

    On April 20th, the EFF will have their appeal heard by the California Court of Appeal.
     
  2. Guest

    iGary

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    #2
    I think you made your point, Steve.

    Enough.
     
  3. macrumors 6502a

    fixyourthinking

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    #3
    Steve Jobs isn't suing ... I would expect nothing less of Apple legal to protect its shareholders.

    There are ways to get rumors, report rumors, and speculate without explicitly soliciting for rumors (such as Think Secret does) and explicitly reporting rumors for profit (artificially raising hit totals by posting rumors) - such as PowerPage.

    These leaks hurt Apple sales and even third party Apple developers and retail partners sales - leaving excess inventory while people wait around these rumors.

    This site takes multiple sources for rumors and reports them and generally lets the readers speculate. It posts patent applications as a means to convey rumor.

    What Think Secret and the Powerpage have done is stolen business plans (trade secrets) ... its time for this to stop.
     
  4. macrumors 6502a

    ImAlwaysRight

    Joined:
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    #4
    He sure has. We haven't seen decent specs or release dates since. Look at the Macbook... no complete specs, it could be April, May, or June. Years ago we got "coming next Tuesday." What, maybe 1% of Mac users even follow rumor sites anyway... :rolleyes:
     
  5. macrumors 68030

    nbs2

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    #5
    Many will agree with you. But, to drive it home to those who would continue to ignore you, you have to finish it...

    Plus, I still think he isn't sure he has weeded out all the naughty children in Cupertino.

    EDIT: As a side note, since I don't want to get into the politics here - this has nothing to do with the First Amendment. I have met the Senior Staff Attorney for EFF. It was nice long discussion about Fair Use (Cary Sherman was there...). He seems sensible. I don't knwo why the EFF is trying to build a First Amendment case here - I don't think anyone should be protected in legit trade secret cases (even journalists). And what is a legit trade secret? That is a matter of fact, not law.
     
  6. macrumors regular

    Joined:
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    #6
    i have to agree. this has really gone out of control and there is no basis for charging these people. Had WSJ published this do you really think there would be any fall out? no, apple would end up giving WSJ more insider info...
     
  7. macrumors 604

    thejadedmonkey

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    #7
    Agreed.
     
  8. macrumors regular

    Maestro64

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    #8
    Nbs2, said it, once you start it you have to follow it through. Plus what did you expect from a megalomanic like Steve, he is tired of people stealing his thunder. He accomplish his first goal which was to shut mouths and now he just going to ensure he closes that door for good.

    It will also be interested in seeing what he does with Apple Corp, he could just pay them off like Apple did in the past, but I think he just want this issue to go away too and tire of Apple Corp coming back to the well for more money.
     
  9. macrumors 68030

    nbs2

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    #9
    I think the boat is being missed here. While I appreciate maestro's vote of confidence, I don't think that this is a result of Steve being upset that his thunder is being stolen.

    I think his concern is that unrealistic expectations are being set up. Another issue is that I would presume that he had other concerns about the Asteroid. I don't know how such a device would play out in relation to Apple Corps, but I imagine they would raise a stink about Apple entering music production (if a third party does it, it would be ok) - I could see Steve working to frame the Asteroid in such a way as to avoid such an issue.

    And if the material had been leaked by the WSJ, I don't think Steve would go after them this way - I think it would have been a full scale internal assault. Apple just doesn't have the clout/strength/$$ to take on the WSJ (an MS-WSJ battle would be one for the ages...). Since the material was leaked online, there is a much easier and staff friendly method - have/make the webmasters tell you who it was. This way, internal Apple sails smoothly.
     
  10. macrumors 6502a

    fixyourthinking

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    #10
    I suppose if I created a website called mkjellmansecret.com ... and solicited to your neigbors and coworkers for information about you and your family and I posted your children's names with school location and pictures ... you wouldn't be upset ... I'm just a small website called mkjellmansecret.com ... and you wouldn't sue if The New York Times did the same thing ... because you think they're a big respectable paper?
     
  11. macrumors 65816

    MacTruck

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    #11
    Apple YOU SUCK. These news sites are the only thing feeding your sales. KNOCK IT OFF. Geez, talk about biting the hand that feeds you. Who cares if somebody knows about a release a week before it comes out. My god this stuff really pisses me off.
     
  12. macrumors newbie

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    #12
    O'Grady may be lacking professionalism.

    Because O'Grady published corporation secrets, Apple is permitted to pursue him legally in both civil and criminal courts, depending on which applies, perhaps both. Even if he stops and complies with their wishes they can still pursue him to make an example of him and discourage others.

    If O'Grady was a trained journalist, he would have studied the U. S. publishing law and would have known that freedom of the press is not absolute. Under the First Amendment you can publish almost anything you want, almost anytime you want, almost anywhere you want. But, among others, you cannot published stolen corporate secrets. And if you do, you must be tough enough to take the legal hit you may receive.

    This is not a David and Goliath story. O'Grady has likely violated his legal responsibilities. Again, if he was a professional journalist he would know to check the facts, check the source and make sure he is totally legal and not publishing stolen information. As for his ISP, they may be viewed as the publisher, so they too could be vulnerable because of his actions.

    While it's fun to know stuff in advance, and I read the mac rumors sites, so called journalists owe Apple responsibility in the legality of their reporting. That O'Grady is a "loyal customer" is not the point. Can you imagine this conversation at Apple? "Well, sure, O'Grady published our product secrets, and yes, they were stolen, but, gee, he's bought 10 Macs, a mouse and an iPod since 1985, so maybe we should overlook this."
     
  13. macrumors 6502

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    #13
    Slightly off topic, but what ever happened to Asteroid?
     
  14. macrumors regular

    Maestro64

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    #14
    My personal belief is Asteroid was not a real product it was slideware. The fact this information got out is what drove Steve over the wall. (Think about this, 18 months later and still no product, Apple's development cycles are not this long)

    What I find interesting now is O'Grady is claiming the information he got was not marked confidential and Apple stated in their court documents the information he showed on his site came from a presentation which was marked company confidential.

    There is also some true to the fact Apple is doing because they can, but to say they would not go after WSJ can not be made since they did not do what O'Grady is alleged of doing. Plus WSJ has ethics department which I highly doublt O'Grady has, he is his own ethics editor. You have no idea what Apple would or would not do, hell look at the Federial goverment, they went after the NYT and won, in a sense.

    I am all for free speech and I enjoy hearing all sides and hearing about people and companies who are not doing ethical things but, individuals and companies have no rights to share what is legally not their to share.

    One last point on this subject, and O"Grady did point this out, Apple did not go after him, but the ISP. Why, because he was just publishing what was sent to him, but, was the reciever of stolen goods. As such he was implicated in a crime knowingly or unknowingly. Apple has said since the information was stolen they have a right to retrieve and find out who did it. No where did Apple say O'Grady could not publish the information, he is in the middle of this because he would not authorize the ISP to turn over the information.

    Face it O'Grady has a personal agenda as well as Apple, but he had lots more to loose if he turns over the thief, his livelyhood, who will go to his site if he can no long get good information which has been the case lately.
     
  15. macrumors 6502

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    #15
    I guess it missed earth. Probably luckily too, it could have caused damage.
     
  16. macrumors 6502a

    Thanatoast

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    #16
    I disagree. Expectations have gone through the roof since info stopped coming out of Cupertino. I shall refer you to a certain media event where "new, fun" products were announced.
     
  17. macrumors 6502a

    fixyourthinking

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    #17

    My personal opinion? I think it was a fake product that was put with other "real" rumors by Apple to "bad seeds" ... now Apple has traces ... and wants to confirm those traces before firing or suing the actual sources.
     
  18. macrumors 68030

    nbs2

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    #18
    Wrong expectations. I don't think that Apple the corporation cares too much what the expectations of the rumor sites are as far as what fancy new devices will be released. However, when your competitors can expect to know what your future products will be, that is dangerous. When Wall Street expects products to be released and they aren't meeting those goals, your company valuations take a hit. As a shareholder, I would be furious if Apple started making grand promises and failed on a regular basis. Sure this is just the Asteroid, but if you don't quash the leak early how much else is leaked? Suppose the planned Intel switch or Boot Camp was leaked? Huge issues, especially if Apple decides not to do it.

    Steve has a fiduciary duty not to act on insider information. That is why he has to disclose his sales of Apple stock. All of his employees have a similar duty. If someone is stealing this information and acts on it, Apple risks an SEC investigation. The kind of person that would leak information with total disregard for the company's welfare is the kind of person that would act on insider information.
     
  19. macrumors 68000

    dernhelm

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    #19
    Actually my guess is that it only existed to root out the people that were stealing Steve's thunder.

    A non-product for the purpose of rooting out the evil-doers in Cupertino.
     
  20. macrumors 68000

    Joined:
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    #20
    The plot thickens.......
     
  21. macrumors 68030

    BenRoethig

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    #21
    This is the side I don't want to see from Steve Jobs, the paranoid one. The final members of the Macbook family are late. I don't know how long those who want to buy them will hang on. The occasional "hold on a little longer" rumors keep more than a few users in the Mac crowd.
     
  22. macrumors 68030

    nbs2

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    #22
    GAA! Where does this madness come from? First of all, MR, TS, O'G, etc. are not the "only thing feeding [Apple's] sales." The people that come to these sites to worship at the altar of Apple on a regular basis are the folks that would be buying these products anyway. By stopping the outflow of confidential information from coming to these sites, Apple will not increase or reduce their sales. Switchers are not going to be put off by a corporation protecting the interests of its shareholders.

    The "final members of the MB family" (I assume the heirs to the iBook is what you mean) are not late. At what point did Steve promise you a MB by a specific date. I don't remember getting that promise. Those that are hanging onto Apple by the thead like whispers of the MB are either looking for an excuse or are stupid. And the people that are hanging by the proverbial thread are going to be the same fools who put all their stock into what the rumor sites say. Joe Q. Mac-User is going to buy whatever is available when he wants to buy. Maybe a bit of research will tell him to wait, but Intel vs. G4 is meaningless. If it does what he needs and he is happy he buys. If not, he buys something else.

    The threat to Apple by allowing this release of information to go unpunished and underinvestigated is that employees will be enpowered to act with impunity. At what point does it stop? By allowing employees to distribute confidential information, Apple ceases to be competitive. By caving to the nonsensical argument that there is a Frist Amendment right to the freedom of speech to disclose business secrets and freedom of press to publish those secrets, Apple fails me and every other shareholder in the company - we are whom Apple has a fiduciary duty to protect. Not you, not my consumer persona, not arn, not MR, and not the Apple rumor industry. If Jim F. Employee is free to disclose confidential information, why can't he just act on it? The day that stocks begin to sell based on insider information is the day that the SEC gets involved. You think Steve is pissed now? Wait until he gets a candygram from Chris Cox.
     
  23. macrumors 65816

    MacTruck

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    #23
    Bull. If it was illegal then law enforcement would handle it. Instead this is a lawsuit. Shame on you apple.
     
  24. DKZ
    macrumors member

    Joined:
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    #24
    Well complete silence is not going to fix that, information will. I don't get Apples secrecy, I understand why it was important back in the day when Microsoft would steal their ideas, but they are currently so far the products apple has on the market that they shoudn't worry about their new stuff. I think a lot of people get very angry when they buy a apple product, just to see the replacement being released the week after at the same price. And I don't think that it helps sales to keep stuff like this secret, if apple came out now and said that the Macbook would come i june, I'd buy a ibook now, and if it came tomorrow I'd wait. Or if they would just give the specs, like any other hardware manufacture in the world, I could make a choice now.

    I bought a 4g ipod, just to see the video come next week, If I had now that it would be coming I'd have waited, It made me pretty pissed.
     
  25. macrumors 68030

    nbs2

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    #25
    Umm....searching the thread for the term illegal gave me two hits - one where you posted it, and one where I quoted you. All I said was that leaving the current situation be gives the appropriately motivated employee no deterrent from acting on the information. If stocks are sold based on this insider information, then they will have violated the law. I have decided against launching into a primer on administrative law as it pertains to this. But, insider trading = very, very, bad.

    Tying this back to the original problem of business secrets, this is a civil law problem - not a criminal (well unless the government, with Apple's cooperation, goes forward with a theft or conversion case against the emplyoee). Law enforcement has nothing to do with this. This is why we have civil courts.
     

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