Apple vs. Rumor Sites Analysis

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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MacWorld published an extensive analysis on the issues surrounding Apple's recent lawsuit against unnamed individuals (Doe No. 1, et al) for information surrounding an unreleased product (Apple Asteroid).

Unliked previous reports, this analysis goes into further depth into the legal issues surrounding the subpoena and the defense being mounted. Specifically, the request for information from O'Grady's email provider, and the relavence of the definition of "journalist" in this case.

While Apple won the initial ruling, the case is currently in appeals.
 

gangst

macrumors 6502a
Dec 27, 2004
614
0
UK
I can't really see where Apple is coming from, because in a way these rumors/specualtion bring anticipation and often attention to rumored up and coming products, surely this brings more business.
I can understand that Apple don't want moles working for them, but surely Apples constant want for this info provider has pretty much proved that Asteroid is on the way and they have helped to prove the rumor sites.
 
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jeremy.king

macrumors 603
Jul 23, 2002
5,479
1
Fuquay Varina, NC
gangst said:
I can't really see where Apple is coming from, because in a way these rumors/specualtion bring anticipation and often attention to rumored up and coming products, surely this brings more business.
I can understand that Apple don't want moles working for them, but surely Apples constant want for this info provider has pretty much proved that Asteroid is on the way and they have helped to prove the rumor sites.
In Apple's defense - it would be awfully difficult to continue to innovate if all of your trade secrets and upcoming product specs are being leaked all over the internet.
 
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Sun Baked

macrumors G5
May 19, 2002
14,874
57
kingjr3 said:
In Apple's defense - it would be awfully difficult to continue to innovate if all of your trade secrets and upcoming product specs are being leaked all over the internet.
At that point you might as well provide free office space for MicroSoft and Chinese people looking for their next innovation inside the Cupertino campus.
 
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MacsRgr8

macrumors 604
Sep 8, 2002
7,841
1,148
The Netherlands
Or..... rumors of a cool product made by Apple with a very low rumored price-tag.

Then Steve anounces product.... rumor of cool product is true (no direct prob.), but price is alot higher than rumored. :rolleyes:

Everybody goes: "too expensive!".

(Didn't something similar happen to the iPod mini??)
 
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FeralCat

macrumors newbie
Oct 23, 2003
23
0
Journalism...

Now that is journalism.

What an insightful and informative article that was. I think that they covered a lot of ground that has been ignored thus far by all the "Apple are teh bastards!" crowd, namely that journalism isn't just slapping information up on a webpage. It's refreshing to see a journalist actually read the court's opinions and comment on them, rather than just saying "Apple is trying to put journalists out of buisness! OMGWTF!?!?" like most other commentary that I've seen on this topic.

Apple is trying to protect their assets, namely their designs and product specifications. If you think that internal information like that should be public knowledge, then I think that you don't understand how buisnesses work at all. Why would a company try to design good products if they had to publish the designs for anyone else to copy (like what happens in Taiwan after products are released; it's impossible to stop, since it may not be illegal or may be unenforceable in those countries)?
 
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HAViK

macrumors member
Feb 23, 2005
45
0
Riverside, CA
I'm way too undecided on this issue still. And still don't care, I'll let it be taken care of by the liars and cheaters defending apple and the john does.
 
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nagromme

macrumors G5
May 2, 2002
12,546
1,195
FeralCat said:
Now that is journalism.
My thought exactly.

I enjoy rumors and leaks. I support the First Amendment, and didn't like the sound of what Apple was doing.

But we outsiders chatting on rumor sites don't know the full case. Now, having read a LOT more than I already knew about all this, I can see that the legal issues are not really as some people would like to paint them.

It sounds to me like Apple IS in the right after all, and that the courts are actually doing a pretty good job of handling this.

It also sounds like the much-publicized "journalist" question, while important to consider for its future ramifications, is somewhat beside the point in this case.

I WANT leaks of future Apple products. But it's not my "right."
 
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ipodmann

macrumors member
Nov 11, 2004
47
0
rdowns said:
We need product rumors!!!! :D
I agree. This whole law suit issue has killed the rumors. The speculation at this point seems rather weak when it comes to what will come out. Tiger rumors are sensless since everyone knows it is coming out. And to read about 3.3.9 instead of the latest PowerMac specs clearly shows how afraid those working for Apple are. It appears the rumor sites also have decided to keep their mouths shut.
 
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PlaceofDis

macrumors Core
Jan 6, 2004
19,239
4
Apple is a business they have to protect their assests, especially their trade secrets....

rumors and speculation will only help apple so much, but they can damage apple a lot too.....the damage is usually greater than then help and is usually rememberd longer too
 
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~loserman~

macrumors 6502a
Sun Baked said:
At that point you might as well provide free office space for MicroSoft and Chinese people looking for their next innovation inside the Cupertino campus.
No offense but thats just silly.
Microsoft is one of the largest Apple developers. They get access to all the betas of OS X and always will. Apple doesn't keep secrets as far as their OS is concerned from Microsoft or any of their other large developers for that matter.
When Apple anounced Tiger at WWDC 2004 Microsoft already had builds for several months of Tiger.
 
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PlaceofDis

macrumors Core
Jan 6, 2004
19,239
4
~loserman~ said:
No offense but thats just silly.
Microsoft is one of the largest Apple developers. They get access to all the betas of OS X and always will. Apple doesn't keep secrets as far as their OS is concerned from Microsoft or any of their other large developers for that matter.
When Apple anounced Tiger at WWDC 2004 Microsoft already had builds for several months of Tiger.
yes but the developers working with the builds over at MS are still bound by their NDAs to not discuss the features and workings of the OS with everyone else, the only people who would be using and concerned with the builds at MS would be the Mac Business Unit, which wouldnt be doing anything with the development of Windows, thus its not like MS knows all the inner workins of OS X, although they very well might even if they shouldnt
 
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~loserman~

macrumors 6502a
PlaceofDis said:
yes but the developers working with the builds over at MS are still bound by their NDAs to not discuss the features and workings of the OS with everyone else, the only people who would be using and concerned with the builds at MS would be the Mac Business Unit, which wouldnt be doing anything with the development of Windows, thus its not like MS knows all the inner workins of OS X, although they very well might even if they shouldnt
True... Sort of anyway.

We have several NDA agreements with Apple. Almost none of them are at a personal level. Most are company wide even though 99% of or employees have no business even knowing anything about it.

I agree that you are probably right about the Mac Business Unit, but realistically MS's OS division knows all about it.

The funniest part to me is Microsoft Windows isn't really a competitor to Apple's OS X. Certainly they are not direct competitors.
They compete in completely different markets and not head to head. If Microsoft developed Windows for the Mac or Apple developed OS X for x86 then they would be true direct competitors.
 
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PlaceofDis

macrumors Core
Jan 6, 2004
19,239
4
~loserman~ said:
True... Sort of anyway.
<snip>
The funniest part to me is Microsoft Windows isn't really a competitor to Apple's OS X. Certainly they are not direct competitors.
They compete in completely different markets and not head to head. If Microsoft developed Windows for the Mac or Apple developed OS X for x86 then they would be true direct competitors.
very good point there, although MS does make Virtual PC which technically is Windows for the Mac, but thats a whole other story....your right though, its not like MS can just steal apple code, it wont work for Windows at all because of the platform differences, they can only steal ideas really
 
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Sun Baked

macrumors G5
May 19, 2002
14,874
57
~loserman~ said:
No offense but thats just silly.
Microsoft is one of the largest Apple developers. They get access to all the betas of OS X and always will. Apple doesn't keep secrets as far as their OS is concerned from Microsoft or any of their other large developers for that matter.
When Apple anounced Tiger at WWDC 2004 Microsoft already had builds for several months of Tiger.
Access to the developer stuff is a heck of a lot different than access to their R&D unit, or access to source code.

Stuff that you might find wandering around the halls of Cupertino.
 
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~loserman~

macrumors 6502a
Sun Baked said:
Access to the developer stuff is a heck of a lot different than access to their R&D unit, or access to source code.

Stuff that you might find wandering around the halls of Cupertino.
Apple's source code would be useless to Microsoft they don't compete in the same markets, Besides most of OS X is open source anyway.
 
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sjl

macrumors 6502
Sep 15, 2004
441
0
Melbourne, Australia
~loserman~ said:
Besides most of OS X is open source anyway.
Not the most important parts: that responsible for the user interface. Aqua is closed. Aqua builds upon Carbon, Cocoa, and Java; of those, only Java is open (and even that you can debate, especially where Apple's APIs are concerned.) These build upon Quartz, OpenGL, and Quicktime, all of which are closed. And those build upon Darwin -- which is open.

Or, in other words: only the very lowest layers of the OS have been opened up. The layers atop of Darwin are closed, and those are the parts that would be of greatest use to somebody trying to clone OS X.
 
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aafuss1

macrumors 68000
May 5, 2002
1,599
2
Gold Coast, Australia
Apple has no right to subopena Nfox-unlawful under the Federal Stored Communications Act (which Apple has overlooked) :
III. The Writ Must Issue Because Apple’s Subpoenas To Nfox And Karl Kraft Are Unlawful Under The Federal Stored Communications Act
Apple has no right to subpoena emails stored on Nfox’s servers in the first place. The federal Stored Communications Act, 18 U.S.C. § 2701 et seq., (the “SCA”) forbids an electronic communication service (“ECS”) provider like Nfox or Kraft from disclosing the contents of a customer’s emails and other electronic communications to private parties. 2 By force
2 Subdivision (b) of Section 2702 sets forth seven limited exceptions to this general rule, none of which apply to Apple’s proposed discovery:
(b) Exceptions for disclosure of communications.— A provider described in subsection (a) may divulge the contents of a communication—
(1) to an addressee or intended recipient of such communication or an agent of such addressee or intended recipient;
(2) as otherwise authorized in section 2517, 2511 (2)(a), or 2703 of this title [these sections authorize law enforcement and other governmental access under certain conditions];
(3) with the lawful consent of the originator or an addressee or intended recipient of such communication, or the subscriber in the case of remote computing service;
(4) to a person employed or authorized or whose facilities are used to forward such communication to its destination;
2 1
of the Supremacy Clause of the federal Constitution, the SCA preempts any state law to the contrary, including discovery statutes. Under the SCA, Apple’s subpoenas directing Nfox and Kraft to produce Petitioner O’Grady’s emails are unlawful.
The SCA provides that any “person or entity providing an electronic communication service to the public shall not knowingly divulge to any person or entity the contents of a communication while in electronic storage by that service.” 18 U.S.C. § 2702(a)(1) (emphasis added). Under the SCA, “‘contents’, when used with respect to any wire, oral, or electronic communication, includes any information concerning the substance, purport, or meaning of that communication.” 18 U.S.C. § 2510(8). The SCA “protects users whose electronic communications are in electronic storage with an ISP or other electronic communications facility.” Theofel v. Farey-Jones, 341 F.3d 978, 982 (9th Cir. 2003).
(5) as may be necessarily incident to the rendition of the service or to the protection of the rights or property of the provider of that service;
(6) to a law enforcement agency—
(A) if the contents—
(i) were inadvertently obtained by the service provider; and
(ii) appear to pertain to the commission of a crime; or
(B) if required by section 227 of the Crime Control Act of 1990; or
(7) to a Federal, State, or local governmental entity, if the provider, in good faith, believes that an emergency involving danger of death or serious physical injury to any person requires disclosure without delay of communications relating to the emergency.
18 U.S.C. § 2702, subd. (b). None of 18 U.S.C. § 2702’s limited exceptions authorize any disclosure by Nfox or Kraft of the contents of O’Grady’s stored communications to non-governmental entities like Apple absent O’Grady’s consent, whether in response to a discovery subpoena or otherwise.
2 2
Congress passed the SCA to prohibit a provider of an electronic communication service “from knowingly divulging the contents of any communication while in electronic storage by that service to any person other then the addressee or intended recipient.” S.Rep. No. 99-541, 97th Cong. 2nd Sess. 37, reprinted in 1986 U.S.C.C.A.N. 3555, 3591. As the Ninth Circuit has explained, the SCA “reflects Congress’s judgment that users have a legitimate interest in the confidentiality of communications in electronic storage at a communications facility.” Theofel, 341 F.3d at 982.
Accordingly, the SCA flatly prohibits Nfox and Kraft, as “person or entit[ies] providing an electronic communication service to the public,” from disclosing the contents of O’Grady’s communications. If Apple wants O’Grady’s emails, its only legal option is to subpoena him directly; the SCA offers no exception allowing disclosure by a communication service provider in response to civil subpoenas from private litigants. 18 U.S.C. § 2702 (a)(1); see also The U.S. Internet Service Provider Association, Electronic Evidence Compliance—A Guide for Internet Service Providers, 18 BERKELEY TECH. L. J. 945, 965 (2003) (no Stored Communications Act provision “permits disclosure pursuant to a civil discovery order unless the order is obtained by a government entity…. [T]he federal prohibition against divulging email contents remains stark, and there is no obvious exception for a civil discovery order on behalf of a private party”). 3 Under the SCA’s plain language, Apple cannot legally discover the contents of electronic communications from the service
3 While the SCA’s Section 2707(e)(1) provides a safe harbor for an ECS provider’s “good faith reliance” on a court order, this is neither an independent source of authorization for disclosure nor a license for an ECS to respond to a subpoena despite knowing that the statute prohibits disclosure.
2 3
provider that stores them. Apple can only subpoena the account holder who uses the service, Petitioner O’Grady.4
The trial court simply ignored the SCA and its prohibitions, failing to even mention the statute in its order despite briefing by both sides. (See Movants’ Opening Br. at 15:16-20 (Ex. 16, 124:16-20); Pl.’s Opp’n Br. at 10, n.3 (Ex. 24, 372:26-28); and Movants’ Reply Br. at 8:19 to 9:15 (Ex. 30, 425:19 to 426:15.)) Despite the trial court’s unjustified disregard for it, the SCA absolutely prohibits Apple from seeking discovery from Nfox, Kraft, or any other ECS provider used by Petitioners, and requires issuance of a protective order prohibiting such discovery.

Source:http://www.eff.org/Censorship/Apple_v_Does/20050322_writ_petition.pdf
 
Comment

MontyZ

macrumors 6502a
Jan 7, 2005
887
0
FeralCat said:
...journalism isn't just slapping information up on a webpage.
You mean the way FOX News and other news organizations have been doing lately? Does the fact that FOX and others present fake news from fake "journalists" make them also a target for this kind of lawsuit? Because it's no better than what rumor sites are doing.
 
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FeralCat

macrumors newbie
Oct 23, 2003
23
0
MontyZ said:
You mean the way FOX News and other news organizations have been doing lately? Does the fact that FOX and others present fake news from fake "journalists" make them also a target for this kind of lawsuit? Because it's no better than what rumor sites are doing.
I would argue that FOX news is also not a journalism source; it's one long commentary/opinion source. So, no, I don't consider that journalism.

However, not being a journalist doesn't open anyone up to lawsuits. You're missing the point, or you haven't read the facts of the case. Apple pulled "they're not journalists" from their bag of tricks only to counter O'Grady's claim that they were journalists and were thus exempt from the law that they had allegedly broken. The judge, however, said "Doesn't matter if you are or are not journalists, this isn't whistleblowing, and you're helping someone break the law. You can't do that, and so Apple can subpoena those emails."

Oh, and note who is getting the emails aafuss1: the court, not Apple. So, you're wrong about the emails being unobtainable by Apple.
 
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Maestro64

macrumors regular
Jan 5, 2005
208
0
Philadelphia
gangst said:
I can't really see where Apple is coming from, because in a way these rumors/specualtion bring anticipation and often attention to rumored up and coming products, surely this brings more business.
I can understand that Apple don't want moles working for them, but surely Apples constant want for this info provider has pretty much proved that Asteroid is on the way and they have helped to prove the rumor sites.
This is exactly where Apple is coming from

Under the law, information can only be a “trade secret” if the owners protect it—you can’t use next year’s product plans as reading material in the reception area and then be upset if competitors read it. That’s not what happened with the “Asteroid” information in Apple v. Does, as Judge Kleinberg’s decision reveals (we’ve eliminated most citations in quotes from the ruling for readability):

The posting by Mr. O’Grady contained an exact copy of a detailed drawing of “Asteroid” created by Apple. The drawing was taken from a confidential set of slides clearly labeled “Apple Need-to-Know Confidential.” In addition, technical specifications were copied verbatim from the confidential slide set and posted on the online site.… The Court is convinced by Apple’s presentation, including the materials produced in camera that this action has passed the thresholds necessary for discovery to proceed.

The ruling strongly implies that someone who had access to an Apple presentation, “clearly labeled ‘Apple Need-to-Know Confidential,’” packed it up and e-mailed it to O’Grady. The subpoena in question is to Nfox, and although the ISP does not object to the subpoena (and, in fact, already informed Apple that it has “many” O’Grady e-mail documents containing the term “Asteroid”), O’Grady and the other rumor sites do object. They probably wouldn’t waste the effort if the information hadn’t arrived via e-mail.
This has nothing to do with rumors getting out. I have said this many times in other threads on this subject. Apple has to protect what they consider trade secrets otherwise when a real threat happens they will not have a leg to stand on. A court would never award them damages in the furture if they thought Apple did not protect their property all the time
 
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Maestro64

macrumors regular
Jan 5, 2005
208
0
Philadelphia
aafuss1 said:
Apple has no right to subopena Nfox-unlawful under the Federal Stored Communications Act (which Apple has overlooked) :
and blaa blaa blaa
Not that I disagree with the EFF and what they are trying to do here and help the little guy from the big bad corporation. However, first EFF try to make it a first amendment issue, then the Journalist Shield issue, now they are throwing in the one of the Telecom Freedom and Protection act.

I give them "A" for effort but again as the courts have shown this is about trade theft, and as such Apple does have the right to get a court order to obtain the information. The law that EFF quotes is to protect the individual from prying eyes, meaning that no one can request your personal emails without proof that you commit a crime.

I caution you all about taking what EFF and others say as truth here. You should all do your own research and learn a bit about business, laws and other things before saying Apple is wrong and bad. Apple has put little press out on the subject so all we get is the EFF side which they are trying to get public opinion behind them.
 
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