It is Big Bad Apple
John Gruber at Daring Fireball has had two excellent pieces about Apple Computer suing Think Secret over its publication of rumors of a sub-$500 headless iMac at next week's Macworld. However, I take exception with his conclusion in the first piece, Plugging Leaks:
You may disagree with Appleâ€™s vigorous pursuit of leakers, but this is not a case of big bad Apple putting the screws to a little guy. Friedâ€™s report at CNet makes it clear that Apple Legal has warned Think Secret (and, one presumes, other rumor mongers) repeatedly in the past few years:
"In this weekâ€™s suit, Apple notes the lengths it has gone to in trying to stop the leaks through Think Secret. The suit notes a number of letters that its lawyers have sent in recent years to Think Secret warning that the siteâ€™s postings contain confidential trade secrets. In the letters, Apple demanded that the site remove all information on the products and that it provide â€œall information regarding the person or persons who supplied the trade secrets.â€? Apple said the siteâ€™s owners have ignored its demands."
If Think Secret wasnâ€™t prepared for this, itâ€™s because theyâ€™re foolish, not because they werenâ€™t fairly warned.
I would not say they are foolish, and I would say this is a case of "big bad Apple putting the screws to the little guy." To me, this is exactly the same kind of case as that of the NY Times' Judith Miller being cited for contempt and threatened with jail for refusing to name her sources in reporting on the Valerie Plame story last fall. Just as it is not Ms. Miller's responsibility to prosecute leakers of secret government information, it is not Think Secret's responsibility to protect the sanctity of Apple's momentous Macworld announcements.
Indeed, in both cases, the journalist's interests directly oppose the prosecuting party's. But in neither case is the journalist at fault. It's in Think Secret's best interests to cultivate reliable sources of good Apple gossip, it's in the Times' best interest to develop and protect anonymous government sources, and it's in the interest of a free and open society to protect the journalist in both cases.
By putting the screws to Think Secret, Apple is lining itself up in favor of secrecy over openness; it is using the courts to force an innocent third party to solve what can only be described as an internal Apple problem.| No TrackBacks
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