ThinkSecret Guy Gets a Lawyer

By Deane Barker on January 20, 2005

Teen sued by Apple gains legal help: This is good news, because I think everyone deserves good representation and I love a legal soap opera.

A lawyer specializing in freedom of speech and the Internet said Wednesday he will defend free of charge a 19-year-old publisher of a Web site facing a lawsuit over an article that revealed trade secrets about an Apple computer.

However, like the guy who got fired for his blog, I see a lot of blogs and blog personalities jumping to this guy’s defense, even before we know all the facts. Just because he did this on a blog, doesn’t mean he didn’t do something wrong or break some law.

The way the blog culture tends to react to these things, I think I could murder someone via a blog, and the entire blogosphere would immediately jump aboard the persecution train.



  1. This is not about bloggers doing whatever they want. This is about the gradual shift from mainstream journalism to citizen journalism. Once publishing your content to millions of people became easy and practical the dynamics of how we get news changed. A blogger has to earn the public’s trust by reporting accurately, but once they do they can gain the respect usually reserved for other mainstream news outlets.

    I seriously doubt that Apple would have gone after the New York Times had they published the same story. Of course the New York Times can easily defend themselves using journalistic privilege. Corporations such as Apple are intent on convincing the judiciary that bloggers don’t have the same privilege. Apple’s not out to shutdown Think Secret. They want the name of his source. He has the right to protect it and Apple thinks the easiest way to get it is to take a small defenseless blogger to court. If they were concerned about the story alone they would have dropped the lawsuit by now. They intend to send a strong message to their own employees and other partners who might be breaking NDAs.

  2. I defend the Think Secret kid because I honestly don’t think he committed a crime – he is not bound by an NDA between Apple and their employees, so publishing the information he received isn’t doubleplusbad, and I think Apple will have a hard time proving the charge that he “induced” their employees to cough up the info, the only thing he offers to tipsters on his site is anonymity. If an Apple employee fessed up that they let the Mac out of the bag in exchange for some sort of actual inducement, then it’s a different story, but if that happened, I assume Apple would’ve (justly) fired said employee and not pursued this case.

    Bottom line is Jobs wants to know who the squealer is and felt the most efficient way to do this is to apply pressure to Ciarelli/DePlume via the spectre of a lawsuit.

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