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Hot off the Press – an Editorial Commentary
Tuesday, 02/08/05 by Chuck Brown, Assoc. Editor

UPDATED! - 3/4/2005 and 3/11/2005

Apple’s Steps Over The Line With The Press
Just when you’d think that Apple would like to be generating the best of positive energy, warm feelings and a bright PR image the weeks before their local Mac Festival in Cereal Town “Fruits, Nuts and Flakes” San Francisco for Macworld Expo ‘05, their image turns Ugly. It’s the ugliest of image too, one of a Big Bad Bully in the school yard, or the 100 Pound Gorilla beating up on the little field mouse.

We’re referring to Apple’s “Think Different” approach to keeping their big deal secrets before Macworld Expo San Fran, by slapping Big Gorilla law suits on anyone who publishes information in journalistic form about what Apple might be unveiling under the Big Top Keynote.

This time around it was the one-man popular online Apple News site called Think Secret (www.thinksecret.com), run by Harvard Freshman Nicholas Ciarelli. In past years Apple have directed this mad dog (lawyers) at other Apple news sites to “leverage” information about who at Apple was leaking their claimed “confidential” product information. You see Apple and Steve Jobs are neurotically obsessed with being the being the NSA of the computer world with their impeding products, as if it made any difference in their platform monopolized 2.3% market share of the overall PC market.

The First Amendment of the United States Constitution protects the right to freedom of religion and freedom of expression from government interference. See U.S. Const. Amend. I. Freedom of expression consists of the rights to freedom of speech, press and assembly, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances, and the implied rights of association and belief.

What makes this particularly disgusting, is that Apple is abridging the right of a journalist to publish information; not for a sound reason, because these are nuisance lawsuits that any legitimate constitutional attorney will tell you Apple wouldn’t have a chance of winning if they were to go to court, but to BULLY the little mouse to divulge, if it even exists, the name(s) of possible Apple associates that might have leaked info under a possible breach of a Non Disclosure Agreement. That’s a lot of assumptions; you’d have to agree.

Apple has said in statements, that Think Secret induced people to violate nondisclosure agreements and that this justifies the lawsuit. Apple has no proof that the info came from within Apple and so this is a “fishing expedition” to get journalistic sources from the Think Secret publisher. Since Apple has all of it’s products made overseas in countries such as China and Korea, the info could have easily come from someone there and under no “NDA” with Apple.

There’s a phrase that Big Bully companies use when taking on a smaller underdog, “the one with the biggest Gorilla (attorneys and money) wins”. And with some the deepest cash pockets in the computer industry, Apple is the Gorilla.

It’s pretty unlikely that Apple would be pulling this stunt if the “leaks” had been published in one of any chain newspapers or perhaps even announce by fellow Jobs liberal Dan Rather on the CBS Nightly News. In fact, a few years ago (1/06/2002) Time magazine published a picture of Steve Jobs with the yet to be announced “snow ball base” iMac BEFORE it was announced! Was Time magazine sued? Don’t recall that happening, do you?

So apparently this noted liberal managed Apple Company, including infamous liberal Steve Jobs CEO, with well-known liberal Al Gore on the Board of Directors has a pension for stepping all over the First Amendment and the “Fourth Estate”, the Press.

While many in the computer press has said little about this tale of corporate oppression of reporting by a legitimate journalist, well-known independent writer and author of We the Media: Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People (O'Reilly Media Inc., 2004) is one of the few to voice his concern as well. In his piece for Computerworld in Monday’s Editorial Column.

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We wonder when others in the computer print and electronic media will take a break from kissing Apple’s booty, so they can stay on Apple’s “good list” for review samples, long enough to criticize an affront to their own livelihood. No, ... on second thought, I doubt it.

UPDATE! - 3/4/2005
Bad news!
Apple has won an initial victory in a lawsuit aimed at learning who leaked confidential company information to three online news sites.
Santa Clara County Superior Court judge James Kleinberg tentatively ruled that the sites must surrender the names of confidential sources to Apple.

The company filed suit in December against rumor sites ThinkSecret.com, AppleInsider and PowerPage, alleging that trade secrets about Apple products were leaked to the site publishers and made public. Apple is attempting to learn the identities of the individuals that gave the sites information.

Attorneys for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which is acting on behalf of two of the publishers, expressed disappointment in the tentative ruling, and noted that there would be an appeal.

UPDATE! - 3/11/2005
Very very bad news!
Judge James Kleinberg has ordered the three independent reporters from the online publications Apple Insider and PowerPage to reveal their confidential sources in the lawsuit brought by Apple Computer . The reporters published "trade-secret" descriptions of a pending music software code-named "Asteroid" that allegedly Apple employees leaked to them.

Today's ruling narrowly interprets who is considered to be a journalist and thus entitled to First Amendment protections. This has outraged Free Speech advocates who have said that people who write for Apple related news sites should be given the same legal protections as reporters for mainstream media.

Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge James Kleinberg ruled that no one has the right to publish information that could have been provided only by someone breaking the law.

" The rumor and opinion mills may continue to run at full speed," Kleinberg wrote. "What underlies this decision is the publishing of information that at this early stage of the litigation fits squarely within the definition of trade secret.

" The right to keep and maintain proprietary information as such is a right which the California Legislature and courts have long affirmed and which is essential to the future of technology and innovation generally."

Just in case Apple and Judge James Kleinberg are listening, but NOT paying attention to the US Constitution, here's a reminder:

Article [I.]
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
(Courts may be interjected with "Congress")

Article [IV.]
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

(the last underlined text refers to the complete lack of proof of any Apple leaked sources)

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