I’m going to take Apple to task, I really have no choice, but even if you could care less about Apple, Macintosh, or the iPod, you’d probably be interested in what their latest offering to the world could do to this site.
The lawsuit against Think Secret is scary. Really scary. Why? Because it could set legal precedent that would allow anyone to sue someone else based solely on what they think could have been exchanged between two parties that lead to a release of internal information. As you may know, the courts have set the legal precedent that members of the media are protected from trade secret law. Any information willingly given to them is liable only on the person that gives that information to the member of the media. Today, the protection of the media to protect those sources is playing out in the worlds of politics and technology, PowerPage.org is stonewalling to let a John Doe claim timeout on April 30th, and if they can block Apple from making them take the stand until then, they don’t have to speak. Time Magazine reporters may have to serve jail time for refusing to release the sources of leaked FBI and CIA video tapes.
But the newest lawsuit against Think Secret goes far beyond the claim that the media may have to reveal their sources should they be able to identify them, it attempts to strip one of the greatest protections of civil law; that someone must prove based a preponderance of the evidence that something is more likely to have happened than the combined likelihood of other possibilities. Apple is making the claim that Think Secret solicited trade secrets that were within Apple. Now, while they do ask for “dirt”, Apple’s claim is that the communication between Think Secret and an Apple employee in private wherein Think Secret did something to invoke an Apple employee to give information. One, that most likely isn’t illegal unless the Apple employee was paid or in some manner compensated. Two, Apple has no way to prove that any solicitation was more likely than an anonymous tip on one of the six ways you can reach Think Secret anonymously. I don’t want to get too political, but if Steve Jobs has such a problem with people stealing elections, why does he think he has a right to try to steal people’s journalistic protections?
What I think is, Apple’s leadership knows this suit is baseless, their lawyers have told them there is no way to prove one way or the other. But what if a certain journalist received in their inbox one day a complete listing of all the products a company was going to release in a quarter, and posted it online. And letï¿½s say that said company was willing to burn a lot of money just to make sure it didn’t happen again. Paying a lawyer $10,000 a month to petition a court seems a lot more justified, morals aside.
On the eve of Apple’s greatest show of shows for the year (as it is every year), I have to say shame on you Steve Jobs and shame on you Apple. You don’t just enrage the people that write or contribute to those sites, you enrage everyone that has ever read them and learned something. I assure you Apple, the iPod cannot survive without the Mac, and if you turn people off to the Mac (like you did a little over 20 years ago), goodbye iPod and goodbye Apple. One quarter of everyone at MacWorld reads those sites, what if they just decided they weren’t going to show and weren’t going to buy anything announced? Keep it up Apple, at your own peril. Iï¿½ll even take it a step further, any good review of their iTunes form (whatever form it takes), just lost its rubber-stamp effect that comes with a good presentation of the product. Unlike the iPodï¿½s introduction, the media now views Apple through the soured glass of Apple suing the media for doing their job.
And Sprint, don’t get any ideas… All the donations in the world wouldn’t equal the legal fund I’d mount overnight, and unlike the people I just presented, I fight fire with fire. You have skeletons in your closet Sprint, don’t try to light my skeleton on fire unless you’re willing to do a bit of public discovery…