Apple Legal vs Bloggers

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SFGate publishes followup to the ongoing Apple lawsuit against leakers of an unreleased product codenamed Asteroid. Apple's lawyers argued that no one had the right to publish trade secrets:

Apple Computer Inc. argued Thursday that neither a journalist nor a blogger has the right to publish a company's trade secrets, in a case that could determine just how much protection publishers -- online or off -- have in the digital age.
The EFF's counter arguement claims that bloggers should protected by the same rights that shield journalists from disclosing a confidential source.

Apple reportedly faced tough questioning by the appellate court about their investigation.

"You don't really claim this is a new technology?" the presiding judge, Conrad Rushing, asked Apple's lawyer. "This [Asteroid] is plugging a guitar into a computer."
 

Eagon

macrumors member
Aug 27, 2005
38
0
although i love the leaks as much as the next person, i can see where apple are coming from
 

Veritas&Equitas

macrumors 68000
Oct 31, 2005
1,528
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Twin Cities, MN
What's really funny about this is the fact that if Microsoft or some other huge corporation did this, all of the Macboys on this site would be freaking out, saying how "big, bad and evil" those companies are. Yet, I guarantee, many people in the future of this thread will spin this the opposite way, saying how they support Apple all the way and the lawsuit "makes sense." I can see it now...sometimes the blinders are on pretty tight around here...
 

stefan15

macrumors regular
Oct 2, 2005
199
0
Canada
That case is pathetic.. the fact that Apple completely hides its products before release is good for their business but bad for the consumer, especially when the product typically sucks. I mean when it comes to the iBook.. it is starting to sound more and more like an Asus notebook with OSX installed on it. Big deal. Lots of reasons for secrecy there..

Nice job by the judge.. Asteroid is nothing fance whatever. Currently, Presonus Firebox is not only a very high quality firewire preamp, but it is compatible with mac.
 

dubnluvn

macrumors member
Feb 3, 2006
41
0
Journalism rests on a thin line. I'm a photojournalist and, although in different aspects, this is something seen regularly. The bloggers should not be held responsible since they did not break laws to get the information, unless, of course, they did (like tying some apple employee up in a chair under a hot overhead light and tweezing their hairs out 1 by 1 until they talked). While I do realize that Apple doesn't want information on unrealeased products (or really much of anything, did you listen to the Q2 reports?) leaked, I believe the burden should and is placed on Apple to investigate internally and dispose of the rat themselves. Which is exactly what they are doing hear. They basically are suing for something they know is unlikely to go their way but is conceivablely possible from the view of the other party. Thus, putting pressure for them just to release the rat's name so Apple can then do some house cleaning.
 

Hattig

macrumors 65816
Jan 3, 2003
1,444
78
London, UK
blueimac'00 said:
What is asteroid?
'plugging a guitar into a computer'

apparently :p

I can see both sides' viewpoint here.

I think that because it was a trade secret, and reporting on it wasn't whistleblowing bad behaviour from Apple, and Apple aren't a public entity like the government, that Apple have quite valid reasons for not wanting their products exposed until they release them.
 

w00master

macrumors 65816
Jul 18, 2002
1,120
304
gkhaldi said:
Not so sure on this one. What if next time they leaked some core pieces of eg FC Pro? I wouldn't like to see my software / ideas go the world around for somebody else to patent them.

This leaves the door open for the following:

https://www.macrumors.com/pages/2006/04/20060418083336.shtml

:(
Imho, it's the responsibility of the company itself to seal off their leak issues not a blogger or journalist.

As for the Burst.com issue, I'm against all forms of broad patents put out by small and large companies and this includes Apple. I'm also against all forms of software patents as they stifle overall innovation.

w00master
 

Photorun

macrumors 65816
Sep 1, 2003
1,216
0
NYC
blueimac'00 said:
What is asteroid?
It was a cool potential Apple product but when reports of it leaked Steve Jobs, the big egotistical baby he is, yoinked it because he's the type that if people don't play his games it's his ball and he'll take it home.

Rumors do little to hurt Apple and a lot to do soft marketing for them, you know... MARKETING?!?! Something Apple doesn't do ANY of aside from the iPod and a couple Intel ads you don't know they exist or make computers meanwhile Dull has their bait-and-switch ads for total junk running ad nauseam and Windoze has their ads aimed at the clueless demographic (like they need more clueless lusers?).

Apple gets cool, they even get computers, but they don't 'get' their most loyal and rabid audience, something they've shown time and time again.
 

dextertangocci

macrumors 68000
Apr 2, 2006
1,766
1
stefan15 said:
That case is pathetic.. the fact that Apple completely hides its products before release is good for their business but bad for the consumer, especially when the product typically sucks. I mean when it comes to the iBook.. it is starting to sound more and more like an Asus notebook with OSX installed on it. Big deal. Lots of reasons for secrecy there..

Nice job by the judge.. Asteroid is nothing fance whatever. Currently, Presonus Firebox is not only a very high quality firewire preamp, but it is compatible with mac.
Can somebody please explain to me just how apple keeps their new products and the release dates of their products a complete secret until the day it is released? I'm sure somebody who works at apple is going to tell someone, like a close friend or family member. Or what about the people who work in the factories in China, they must know???:confused:
 

Caiwyn

macrumors member
Jan 24, 2005
84
0
The EFF is becoming an increasingly useless and hypocritical organization. Let's take a look at the facts:

1. Apple isn't arguing that bloggers aren't journalists. In fact, they are arguing that bloggers and journalists should be held to the same standards.

2. Apple isn't arguing that journalists can't print confidential information. They are arguing that the journalists do not have the right to withhold the identity of their sources when that confidential information constitutes a trade secret.

3. The EFF is just using the same FUD tactics they accuse everyone else of using.

4. Even when the EFF is in the right, they almost always lose, setting dangerous precedents. They clearly don't know how to pick their fights.

Personally, I'm with Apple on this one. Anyone else who withholds information in a court case is charged with obstruction of justice, so what makes journalists so special? The first amendment guarantees journalists the right to print information, not to keep their sources confidential.

Journalists will argue that source confidentiality is necessary to freedom of the press, and that is why many states have "shield laws" for reporters that grants them this privilege. But it seems to me that in cases like this, the very act of giving this information to journalists is a crime, or at the very least a breach of contract that must be resolved by the courts.

Allowing journalists to deny the courts a path to justice when they are participants in the criminal act itself seems to me a dangerous loophole, especially when the journalist profits directly from the exchange of such information.
 

iPie

macrumors regular
Feb 21, 2006
132
0
Milan, Italy
Veritas&Equitas said:
What's really funny about this is the fact that if Microsoft or some other huge corporation did this, all of the Macboys on this site would be freaking out, saying how "big, bad and evil" those companies are. Yet, I guarantee, many people in the future of this thread will spin this the opposite way, saying how they support Apple all the way and the lawsuit "makes sense." I can see it now...sometimes the blinders are on pretty tight around here...
Yes the 'AAPL can do no evil' thing is pretty bad on 'Mac' sites. Altough I must say that MacRumors is one of the most 'balanced'.

For some reason I am not at all attracted by AAPL as a company, although I love their products, they don't seem to treat their customers any better than PC firms.

In reponse to the posts on 'trade secrets': please define in a manner that is actually useful.
 

w00master

macrumors 65816
Jul 18, 2002
1,120
304
Caiwyn said:
The EFF is becoming an increasingly useless organization. Let's take a look at the facts:

1. Apple isn't arguing that bloggers aren't journalists. In fact, they are arguing that bloggers and journalists should be held to the same standards.

2. Apple isn't arguing that journalists can't print confidential information. They are arguing that the journalists do not have the right to withhold the identity of their sources when that confidential information constitutes a trade secret.

Personally, I'm with Apple on this one. Anyone else who withholds information in a court case is charged with obstruction of justice, so what makes journalists so special? The first amendment guarantees journalists the right to print information, not to keep their sources confidentiality.

Journalists will argue that source confidentiality is necessary to freedom of the press, and that is why many states have "shield laws" for reporters that grants them this privilege. But it seems to me that in cases like this, the very act of giving this information to journalists is a crime, or at the very least a breach of contract that must be resolved by the courts.

Allowing journalists to deny the courts a path to justice when they are participants in the criminal act itself seems to me a dangerous loophole, especially when the journalist profits directly from the exchange of such information.


I guess FUD is okay when it comes from the EFF, right?
I humbly disagree. What consitutes "trade secrets?" Anything that a corporation wants to? That's the way it sounds to me and it sounds even more dangerous than "allowing journalists deny the courts a path to justice."

As for FUD when it comes from the EFF? What FUD? Please elaborate. Imho, I've always looked at EFF PROTECTING our electronic rights. Sorry, I'd rather support them (even though they aren't always right... no one is) than any large corporation. Even Apple, my favorite co.

w00master
 

w00master

macrumors 65816
Jul 18, 2002
1,120
304
Veritas&Equitas said:
What's really funny about this is the fact that if Microsoft or some other huge corporation did this, all of the Macboys on this site would be freaking out, saying how "big, bad and evil" those companies are. Yet, I guarantee, many people in the future of this thread will spin this the opposite way, saying how they support Apple all the way and the lawsuit "makes sense." I can see it now...sometimes the blinders are on pretty tight around here...
Well said.
 

musiclover137

macrumors regular
Jan 23, 2005
104
0
dextertangocci said:
Can somebody please explain to me just how apple keeps their new products and the release dates of their products a complete secret until the day it is released? I'm sure somebody who works at apple is going to tell someone, like a close friend or family member. Or what about the people who work in the factories in China, they must know???:confused:
Yeah, and what about the models who pose for ads with the shuffle when it came out. I know I'd talk...
 

Caiwyn

macrumors member
Jan 24, 2005
84
0
w00master said:
I humbly disagree. What consitutes "trade secrets?" Anything that a corporation wants to? That's the way it sounds to me and it sounds even more dangerous than "allowing journalists deny the courts a path to justice."
Surprise! You've fallen victim to the EFF's FUD again! This is exactly what I'm talking about. California's trade secrets law is very specific about what does and does not constitute a trade secret:

"Trade secret" means information, including a formula, pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique, or process, that:
1. Derives independent economic value, actual or potential, from not being generally known to the public or to other persons who can obtain economic value from its disclosure or use; and
2. Is the subject of efforts that are reasonable under the circumstances to maintain its secrecy.
That's from the judge's ruling. The EFF wants you to think that a company can just call whatever they want a "trade secret," but that's not true.

w00master said:
As for FUD when it comes from the EFF? What FUD? Please elaborate. Imho, I've always looked at EFF PROTECTING our electronic rights. Sorry, I'd rather support them (even though they aren't always right... no one is) than any large corporation. Even Apple, my favorite co.
What the EFF claims to do is honorable, yes. The problem is that they are zealots who couldn't argue their way out of a paper bag. They've lost every major case they were involved in because of it. What's more, to prove their point, they harass the very people they purport to protect:

PowerPage's ISP said:
I don't feel threatened at all by Apple. At no point has Apple or their lawyers ever "intimated" me. On the other hand the EFF has attempted to coerce and intimidate me in this matter. Their legal filings imply that my conversations in response to the subpoena from Apple were violations of federal law. The EFF cherry picks what parts of the case they want to display on their web page. Meanwhile I have a foot tall stack of filings from the case.
I like the idea of the EFF, certainly. But in practice, they've turned out to be counter-effective.
 

w00master

macrumors 65816
Jul 18, 2002
1,120
304
Caiwyn said:
Surprise! You've fallen victim to the EFF's FUD again! This is exactly what I'm talking about. California's trade secrets law is very specific about what does and does not constitute a trade secret:

2. Is the subject of efforts that are reasonable under the circumstances to maintain its secrecy.
I'm not denying on what is or isn't law, however that doesn't mean I have to agree with it. I don't. Additionally, "subject of efforts" and "under the circumstances" are beyond vague and imho could mean absolutely anything in the mind of a corporation.

Caiwyn said:
That's from the judge's ruling. The EFF wants you to think that a company can just call whatever they want a "trade secret," but that's not true.
In my mind, based on #2, a corporation could say nearly anything is a "trade secret."

Caiwyn said:
What the EFF claims to do is honorable, yes. The problem is that they are zealots who couldn't argue their way out of a paper bag. They've lost every major case they were involved in because of it. What's more, to prove their point, they harass the very people they purport to protect:

I like the idea of the EFF, certainly. But in practice, they've turned out to be counter-effective.
Again, EFF (or anyone else) isn't perfect. However, if "zealot" means protecting (as well as proclaiming) my digital rights then I'm a zealot too. So I ask you, if it is counter-intuitive, is the best way to go about protecting your digital rights is to do nothing? Corporations and our own government have destroyed your digital rights. I have called/e-mailed my representatives; I've supported the EFF; I've signed petitions. Sorry, but I'd rather do something than nothing. If it ends in failure and causes legal precident, then so be it.

w00master
 

whooleytoo

macrumors 604
Aug 2, 2002
6,574
657
Cork, Ireland.
"You don't really claim this is a new technology?" the presiding judge, Conrad Rushing, asked Apple's lawyer. "This [Asteroid] is plugging a guitar into a computer."
...and in other news, Apple Computer Inc. has filed a lawsuit against one Judge Conrad Rushing, for making public Apple's trade secrets..
 

Abulia

macrumors 68000
Jun 22, 2004
1,786
1
Kushiel's Scion
I believe that Apple -- or any other company -- has a right to protect their trade secrets. The problem is that this case isn't about trade secrets at all, it's about lifting the veil of secrecy and hype that surrounds future Apple products. These news sites aren't posting trade secrets or the design plans for the Death Star, they're simply stating Apple's product roadmap and potential future products. If anything, it feeds the hype machine.

Apple, IMO, is way off base here.

Oh, and somewhat related, I'm a Regional IT Director for a Fortune 500 company. One reason we do not seriously consider Apple products is because we don't know what they're thinking. No roadmap, no plan, no discussion on "here's how we'll help you in years 2 and 3." There was an article in CIO magazine not long ago that stated pretty much the same thing. Other vendors -- Dell, Microsoft, et. al. -- have no problem showing us their roadmaps so we can make strategic business decisions.

Apple's secrecy helps them in many ways, but in others it also hurts them.
 

melevittfl

macrumors newbie
Apr 21, 2006
26
0
Caiwyn said:
What the EFF claims to do is honorable, yes. The problem is that they are zealots who couldn't argue their way out of a paper bag. They've lost every major case they were involved in
I'm sorry, but you're basing your opinion of the EFF on an article in The Register that was a) factually wrong in many ways and b) written under an anonymous byline, meaning the author wasn't willing to stack his/her reputation on it.

Many of the cases the article sites a "losses for the EFF" were not cases that the EFF had anything to do with.

The article your linking to is a complete hogwash.

http://www.boingboing.net/2006/02/03/correction_orlowski_.html
 
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