Rumour Web site was 'right to publish Apple secrets'

Discussion in 'Mac Scene' started by MacBytes, Jan 7, 2005.

  1. MacBytes macrumors bot

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2003
  2. zelmo macrumors 603

    zelmo

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2004
    Location:
    Mac since 7.5
    #2
    I guess the only way Nick dePlume can prove his innocence for sure is to reveal his true identity, so Apple can be satisfied that he signed no NDA with them to protect their secrets.
     
  3. MacDawg macrumors P6

    MacDawg

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2004
    Location:
    "Between the Hedges"
    #3
    That's kinda what I was thinking. I haven't read the other thread on this topic, but seems to me that whoever breached the ND is the one that is at fault, not the web site. But what do I know. I'm not a lawyer, and I don't even play one on TV. :rolleyes:

    Woof, Woof - Dawg
     
  4. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    #4
    "Walking a fine line.."

    LOL, More like digging a trench in quicksand.

    But you have to hand it to the legal team he has working for him, especially when they allow him to go out and grant interviews to the media. :rolleyes:
     
  5. 1macker1 macrumors 65816

    1macker1

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2003
    Location:
    A Higher Level
    #5
    Don't seem like they have a case. He didn't break any contract, it's Apple's own workers who are breaking the contract. Wonder why someone would be willing to do something like this and risk getting fired.
     
  6. zelmo macrumors 603

    zelmo

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2004
    Location:
    Mac since 7.5
    #6
    I suppose that he could still be in trouble if he somehow compensated his source in exchange for the information, though. At any rate, Apple's real beef is with the person who breached the NDA, and there is really no other way for them to ID that person without going through TS.
     
  7. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2003
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    #7
    I am starting to see Apple's side to the story. For if "Nick" is in a position to have signed an NDA, he is also "profiting" off that relationship. And that is wrong. Wrong to a greater degree than those others that signed NDAs and decided to break them to a rumor site.
     
  8. Stella macrumors 604

    Stella

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2003
    Location:
    Canada
    #8
    Not as simple. If he published confidential information that he received from people violating their NDA then he is on the hook as well. It doesn't matter whether or not he signed any NDA agreement with Apple - he damned well knew that people were breaking their agreements with Apple.

    Really I have little sympathy, although I do think TS is a damned good source of reliable information.
     
  9. Stella macrumors 604

    Stella

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2003
    Location:
    Canada
    #9
    If I receive source code from an Apple Employee and decide to publish this, i.e., upload it to an FTP site available to all, Apple will come after and will successfully sue me, even if I didn't sign any contract or NDA agreement.

    There is little difference between this example and TS publishing the information they receive - its all confidential information and Apple have a right to protect themselves.
     
  10. MacDawg macrumors P6

    MacDawg

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2004
    Location:
    "Between the Hedges"
    #10
    I guess that's why the courts will be deciding this one ;)

    Woof, Woof - Dawg
     
  11. shamino macrumors 68040

    shamino

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2004
    Location:
    Purcellville, VA
    #11
    Your example is compeltely different. If I publish an actual Apple document (like source code or design docs), I'm in violation of their copyright.

    If I write an editorial summarizing the contents of those docs and publish the summary, I haven't broken any law.

    Trade secret law can only be used to prosecute those who violate the NDA. The press agency he gives the information to has a right to publish. That's the point of the First Ammendment. This has held up in court for information involving national security, so it will certainly hold up for a corporate trade secret.

    Now, the courts can try and compell the press to divulge their sources. The Constitution does not give the press the right to keep its sources anonymous. But historically, press agencies have refused to cooperate with these kinds of requests. Some have even gone to jail (usually on a charge of contempt of court) to protect sources.

    Matt Drudge faced similar issues while reporting information regarding the Clinton scandals.

    TS can not be held responsible for publishing the document, but (depending on the judge and how vindictive Apple's lawyers are) they can be forced (under penalty of contempt charges) to divulge their source - who (if he signed an NDA) can be sued for the trade secret violation.

    It will be interesting to see where this goes, and whether TS will give over its sources or not. Their decision will set precedents WRT whether internet news sites and blogs (including MacRumors) are seen as legitimate members of the press or not.
     
  12. Stampyhead macrumors 68020

    Stampyhead

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2004
    Location:
    London, UK
    #12
    Yes, perhaps Nick DePlume is a "nom de plume"...
     
  13. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    #13
    Well look back at the December 17 filing by Apple where they wanted the name of the sources from AppleInsider, ThinkSecret, and PowerPage to kill the leaks.

    ThinkSecret keeps posting stories...

    Apple files suit naming ThinkSecret as a defendant Jan 5.

    ThinkSecret posts another story.

    Not quite somebody walking a fine line there. :p
     
  14. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2003
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    #14
    I am sorry, but I look at this as a "high White House Source" comment.
     
  15. gwangung macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2003
    #15
    Um, yes you have. Trade secret law. And unlike political matters. there is no compelling public interest in distributing material that falls under trade secret.
     
  16. gwangung macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2003
    #16
    Courts probably won't, though. Commercial property is looked at differently than governmental matters (and even there, can be squelched if there is a compelling public interest in keeping it secret).
     
  17. Mr. Anderson Moderator emeritus

    Mr. Anderson

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2001
    Location:
    VA
    #17
    This law suit could change a lot of what happens in the Apple rumors world. I think that if the source submitted the info anonymously, then there is nothing they could really do. And I don't think TS should be liable for the information.

    However, if TS was actively trying to get the information and working directly with an Apple employee, things might get ugly...

    D
     
  18. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2003
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    #18
    I agree. Though I wonder if Apple is trying to find out if this guy has an "inside track".
     
  19. altair macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2002
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #19
    Did it bug anyone else how "nick" got misquoted by Macworld?

    His quote in the reuters article says he thinks thinksecret was "within its rights to publish" the material.

    Which seems to me as vastly different than he thinks thinksecret was "right to publish" the material.

    Then again this sorta stuff bugs me to no end.
     
  20. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    #20
    They know the guy has an inside source(s)...

    But Nick's activities shine a spotlight on him(them), and Nick "may" know some info that would lead Apple straight to the leak.

    Wouldn't be too surprised if Nick tries to hide his source(s) from Apple.

    Of course one of the "leaks" seemingly got so bold as to start posting as a member on the forum link at ThinkSecret, and cemented his "creds" by releasing info and confidential info (ie, copies of pages from Apple/IBM docs) to the forum community.

    If that forum member isn't nuked by either IBM or Apple, it would be surprising.
     
  21. shamino macrumors 68040

    shamino

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2004
    Location:
    Purcellville, VA
    #21
    Trade secret law only applies to those who have signed NDAs.

    Unless a news agency was dumb enough to sign such a document, there is no law to prevent them from publishing what they receive. Only the person who actually violated his signed agreement has broken the law.
     
  22. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2003
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    #22
    Though some courts have held that employment agreements also hold sway in trade secrets. Many companies though will use the NDA to better have a leverage against those that do harm.
     
  23. shamino macrumors 68040

    shamino

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2004
    Location:
    Purcellville, VA
    #23
    Of course, this still won't apply to ThinkSecret, unless their staff contains current Apple employees. Which I would find very hard to believe.
     
  24. RugoseCone macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2002
    #24
    What about the responsibility to not do harm to our fellow man though? Does anyone think about the impact it could have on hundreds of totally uninvolved people?

    For example, what if Apple, so fed up with everything doesn't do Macworld anymore? There's gotta be hundreds of people that work at Moscone or work in the tradeshow industry that would be adversely effected. Financially of course.

    Or what about people that suddenly find themselves unemployed because of this stuff. I often wonder what harm is done to the "little people" by the rumor sites. At first thought, maybe none. But, if you really consider the grand picture, I bet many people you'd never realize are losing out.
     
  25. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    #25
    You don't have to be a current employee or even have been under a NDA to be nailed by trade secrects laws -- and prosecuted under federal law.

    Here's a list of the current people under prosecution or sentencing...

    http://www.usdoj.gov/criminal/cybercrime/eeapub.htm

    Note -- for the people under prosecution, the ex-employees and outsiders outnumber the current insiders.

    ---

    The top case was the outside "idiot" that "obtained" the MS sourse code and offered/sold it for money.
     

Share This Page