Apple Sites Looking to Block Subpoenas

MacRumors

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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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News.com reports that lawyers representing previously subpoenaed websites have challenged those subpoenas under First Amendment protection:

The subpoenas should not be permitted because Internet journalists deserve the full protection of the First Amendment that their traditional brethren have long enjoyed, the lawyers said in a brief filed in Santa Clara Superior Court.
As noted in the article, the issue raises the question of whether internet website publishes enjoy the same protection as traditional journalists.
 

Grimace

macrumors 68040
Feb 17, 2003
3,539
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with Hamburglar.
hmmm....I think they have a valid point. Apple needs to go after the moles - I don't think there is a compelling argument to turn over sources if the information is legally gathered.

International law definitely comes into play here. Someone from Belgium could publish anything s/he wants and Apple would have little authority.
 

sushi

Moderator emeritus
Jul 19, 2002
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Macrumors said:
News.com reports that lawyers representing previously subpoenaed websites have challenged those subpoenas under First Amendment protection:



As noted in the article, the issue raises the question of whether internet website publishes enjoy the same protection as traditional journalists.
Most interesting.

This will definitely affect what tidbits (rumors) that we hear in the future.

Sushi
 

tex210

macrumors 6502
Jul 8, 2003
270
63
When in doubt...

Freedom of speech.


edited:
lol...
"Where is this internet place you speak of?"
sjpetry said:
I think it should be the same rules. But the internet has no country. ;)
 

gwangung

macrumors 65816
Apr 9, 2003
1,106
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tex210 said:
Freedom of speech.


edited:
lol...
"Where is this internet place you speak of?"
Which country's?

Not quite the same from place to place, you know....
 

El Duderino

macrumors member
Mar 29, 2004
98
0
Even if it does go to court it will be thrown out almost immediatly. Whats Apple going to do? say, "They found out a secret I didnt want to tell right then and want to sue them becuase they hurt my feelings and bribed one of my employees" ~4 year old whining voice~
 

Avicdar

macrumors regular
Oct 11, 2004
189
0
Toronto
Journalists?

I dunno.

Freedom of speech, etc. Sure, all for it.

But I have always had a hard time swallowing the 'journalist' title some of these rumor site publishers give to themselves. Can anyone just click a few mouse buttons to run a web site, post what they like and call themselves a journalist, and then expect to have 'rights' that their 'bretheren' have traditionally enjoyed?

Seems a little too easy to me. There ought to be some kind of standard that one must be able to meet in order to be called a journalist, or a member of the press.

Cronkite, Woodward, Bernstein.... DePlume?

Not.
 

El Duderino

macrumors member
Mar 29, 2004
98
0
Avicdar said:
I dunno.

Freedom of speech, etc. Sure, all for it.

But I have always had a hard time swallowing the 'journalist' title some of these rumor site publishers give to themselves. Can anyone just click a few mouse buttons to run a web site, post what they like and call themselves a journalist, and then expect to have 'rights' that their 'bretheren' have traditionally enjoyed?

Seems a little too easy to me. There ought to be some kind of standard that one must be able to meet in order to be called a journalist, or a member of the press.

Cronkite, Woodward, Bernstein.... DePlume?

Not.
The first ammendment applied to everyone weather they're a journalist or not
 

Sun Baked

macrumors G5
May 19, 2002
14,874
57
Hmmm...

I hope they know what they are doing.

Apple most likely wants the leak arrested for crimes under California's Trade Secrets Act.

Hopefully this stalling tactic won't force Apple to raise the stakes.
 

gorkonapple

macrumors regular
Jan 24, 2004
124
0
Columbus, OH
I think they do except when they do the things that alot of tech web sites do....

I was on another non Apple site today where one of the editors said there's alot of neat stuff coming in the next version of x OS (ok, Pocket PC Operating System), but he could not tell me wink wink...nudge nudge. The thing I have a problem with is all these websites going to things like mobius and other invite only presentations, signing NDA's and such and now they know this stuff, but can't tell and I think that's the nature of tech sites. If the "journalists" want Appke or others to share info, then they gotta sign NDA's out the ying yanng. So, there in lies the problem....so you had 100 people or more sign a NDA....how do you find the leak? You can't. So to protect stock prices/market share you gotta sue when someone leaks something even though it may or may not damage you in either losses at the stock market if the impression on a product that has not been released yet or not is taken in a negative way. Personally, if someone found out about it from someone who did not sign a NDA and taht person found out from...ooh my head hurts just thinking! I would never be able to run a successful tech website because I wouild refuse to sign a NDA because the NDA itself is really against journalistic standards in my opinion. ANYWAY< ifnd the leak and plug it and don't waste time with two bit tech websites....these are sites where people surf who would BUY YOUR CRAP ANYWAY! :D
 

Roller

macrumors 68030
Jun 25, 2003
2,527
964
I think that these sites should enjoy the same protection afforded more tranditional media. However, I suspect that Apple's lawyers will try to argue that the site operators openly induced insiders to divulge confidential information. I wonder what would happen, for example, if a newspaper explicitly asked people to break NDAs.
 

gwangung

macrumors 65816
Apr 9, 2003
1,106
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El Duderino said:
Even if it does go to court it will be thrown out almost immediatly. Whats Apple going to do? say, "They found out a secret I didnt want to tell right then and want to sue them becuase they hurt my feelings and bribed one of my employees" ~4 year old whining voice~
Think again.

If the sites leaked Apple's customer list and parts ordering, those supoenas would almost certainly be granted. Yes, they did find a secret....a trade secret, which are not protected by the First Amendment.

The courts may yet quash those supeonas, but it is not nearly as cut and dried as you think.
 

PlaceofDis

macrumors Core
Jan 6, 2004
19,232
4
thats interesting, i wonder what the turn out will be.... i would personally think that the sites would be protected under the 1st amendment.
 

El Duderino

macrumors member
Mar 29, 2004
98
0
wanna know what would be really cool? if the creator or Thinksecret.com was not an American citizen and had absolutly no right and therefore got royally screwed.
 

Demon Hunter

macrumors 68020
Mar 30, 2004
2,245
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Although I enjoy Apple's surprises and hype, I really think they just need to piss off this time. I mean, jebus.
 

AidenShaw

macrumors P6
Feb 8, 2003
18,085
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The Peninsula
It's not a trade secret, is it?

Sun Baked said:
Apple most likely wants the leak arrested for crimes under California's Trade Secrets Act.
The (non-legal) articles that I've read suggest that Apple may have an uphill climb here.

A "trade secret" is usually part of the *process* of the product that is never revealed. Like the formula for Coca-Cola, or the "special sauce" on the burger, or the Colonel's "secret spices".

It's a "trade secret" because it is *never* disclosed - unlike a patent where you document exactly what the entity is. (If one patented the "secret spices", they'd no longer be secret. Therefore one calls the recipe a "trade secret"....)

Since Apple disclosed all the information in the "leaks" and more as soon as the Lord God Jobs left the stage - it does not fit the profile of a "trade secret". Once Apple published the same info, it was clearly not a secret.

I hope that Apple has a hard time with this defense - Apple deserves to lose. "Freedom of the press" is one of the fundamental tenets of pre-Bush America. I fervently hope that it survives.
 

Sayhey

macrumors 68000
May 22, 2003
1,690
2
San Francisco
As much as I love Apple products, I love the First Amendment much, much more. Apple has every right to terminate employees that violate confidentiality agreements, but trying to force websites to not report the news through these lawsuits is just plain crazy. Anyone know if there is a legal fund we can contribute to?
 

maya

macrumors 68040
Oct 7, 2004
3,225
0
somewhere between here and there.
There is a way to single out the mole(s) for a given product(s) in the closed circle. Apple is just not using its brain on how to implement this weak link in a smarter way. The approach they are using now will not work for too long.

And here I thought that Apple was bright in these matter. ;) :)


Heck if I am going to post the solution, openly. :)
 

gwangung

macrumors 65816
Apr 9, 2003
1,106
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ValiumLolliPoP said:
That's not entirely true. There are limitations to your highly valued freedom of speech. Such as libel/malice and clear and present danger.
And trade secrets.

That's one of the things you learn at journalism schools.

And trade secrets are NOT limited to processes and formulas. One of the classic examples of a trade secret is a customer list.

*sigh*

Look these things up, folks. Not that hard. Apple may or may not win, but it isn't a slam dunk case.
 

gwangung

macrumors 65816
Apr 9, 2003
1,106
19
Sayhey said:
If ThinkSecret put out rumors of Steve Jobs and sheep or said Apple products fall apart when exposed to sunlight, they would not be protected by the First Amendment. Putting out tips about future products possibilities are clearly not covered under the libel and slander exceptions.
But they might be under trade secret provisions, depending on the specificity of details. Courts have held so in the past.

Whether they will in this case remains to be seen, but it is NOT clear that Apple's suit will be quickly tossed out of court.
 

Sayhey

macrumors 68000
May 22, 2003
1,690
2
San Francisco
gwangung said:
But they might be under trade secret provisions, depending on the specificity of details. Courts have held so in the past.

Whether they will in this case remains to be seen, but it is NOT clear that Apple's suit will be quickly tossed out of court.
I don't recall writing anything about trade secrets, only about how slander and libel don't apply. However, if forced to choose between a reporter's right to print a story about future products and a company's right to keep secrets, I'll side with the reporter every time. I also realize none of us on this forum get to cast a vote in the case, so I'll repeat my query from my first post - does anyone know if there is a legal fund we can contribute to?
 

desdomg

macrumors member
Dec 12, 2003
90
0
Why not host the sites somewhere outside the USA, like say Guantanamo? Then you can say what the **** you want and nobody can touch your right? If it is good enough for the government then its good enough for a rumour site ...