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WP: Harvard freshmen triggers lawsuit by Apple

updated 11:30 am EST, Fri January 14, 2005

WP on Apple lawsuit

An in-depth article by The Washington Post looks at saying that "Ciarelli, now a 19-year-old Harvard University freshman, is part of a legion of Internet news gatherers whose influence is expanding as concern grows in some quarters about their accountability and journalistic standards. With the easy anonymity offered by online posting of tips and digital photographs, Web sites run by product buffs have caused headaches, and generated valuable buzz, for companies in many industries -- including automobile and cell phone manufacturers -- by leaking product information."

by MacNN Staff




  1. zac4mac

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Cracks me up that Nick was 13 when he started Think Secret... Way to go kid!


  1. apple4ever

    Joined: Dec 1969


    nothing wrong here

    I see nothing wrong with what he is doing. He is publishing information that others give him. He offers them nothing in return. I don't see how he is hurting Apple. I don't believe in the argument that people will hold off on buying things just because a rumor says something new is coming out. Most people don't follow the rumors, anyway. And they do get pissed when a week after they buy a $3000 computer a new, better one comes out for the same price. Either way they are going to buy a new computer, what does it matter if they wait that week?

  1. boomer0127

    Joined: Dec 1969


    People do hold off buying the face of rumors. In my case, a friend and a coworker both got iPods for XMAS and both had their Wintel motherboards die over the holidays. They lamented that they'd have to see what they could get from Dell as cheap as possible. Because of Think Secret's Q88 rumor, I told them to wait until Macworld. They did. Coworker will buy Macmini and friend already bought iMacG5 (couldn't wait after playing with them at the AppleStore). That's -2 for M$, +2 for Apple (for those of you keeping score at home).

  1. mugwump

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Amazing that he can achieve so much -- creating a popular online website and being a full-time Harvard student.

    Apple -- beating up on their young fans. They should delay this lawsuit, since it's all based on rumor and speculation anyhow. He clearly didn't buy any information, or bully anyone into revealing information -- that will be difficult for Apple to prove. The rest is up to his abilities to determine the signal from the noise. I mean, there has been xMac speculation for years. One hits the mark and suddenly it's a trade secret?

    Good hunches and journalistic methods are upheld in court as protected speech. Just look at Matt Drudge, who is the first journalist sued by a sitting President for very similar issues and he won. Well, in his case it was a libel issue, but an online journalism scoop is the same as a newspaper one.

  1. ibugv4

    Joined: Dec 1969


    he knew tho...

    Regardless, he solicits that if you have inside info to email him. He's asking for trade secrets, and this time, he leaked quite a few of them -- some perhaps speculation, others were too accurate for anyone to even blindly call "a guess." He knew, and by federal law you will go to jail for revelaing such secrets. If I know inside information about a project that is going on at my US Gvt emplopyer, and mention it to someone else at my own workplace and the right people overhear, I go to jail. Any private company has the exact same rights. It's not they are beating up on their fans -- they are protecting trade secrets. The mystery of MacWorld is that we don't know what will come out. While I hate that a 19-year old (he's just 3 years younger than me) could be in major trouble, he started the site and he's got to stick to it. I do find it ironic his real name was Nick, which his pen name was Nick dePlume.

  1. hayesk

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Slap on the wrist

    They won't ruin the guy, that'd be bad PR. He'll get a slap on the wrist, and probably have to take his site down.

  1. burger

    Joined: Dec 1969



    He has not confidentiality agreement wiith Apple, as he is not employed by them.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: Law

    Doesn't matter, as it depends on WHAT you're doing, not whether you've signed an NDA or not. If you knowingly pass along 'trade secrets', you're in a boatload o' trouble (although its more civil then criminal, I believe, depending on who's doing what).

    Of course, you have to prove the 'knowingly' part.

  1. MrKlin

    Joined: Dec 1969



    "If I know inside information about a project that is going on at my US Gvt emplopyer, and mention it to someone else at my own workplace and the right people overhear, I go to jail. Any private company has the exact same rights."

    By private compay do you mean their stocks is not trade publicly? Or do you mean corporations? And no, corporations do not have that right.

    Go read up on some laws first or at least preface your comments with IANAL rather than making up facts.

  1. Clobie

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Trade Secrets?

    (IANAL, but after reading a lot of info about the suit...)

    1) He never induced anyone to reveal any trade secrets. He never compensated his sources with fame nor fortune. His solicitation thus doesn't seem to border anywhere near industrial espionage.

    2) Information *about* Apple's products doesn't constitute a trade secret. Trade secrets are unpatented technical specifications that can aid in the reproduction a product. Considering what ThinkSecret released was just press information, press information Apple itself was going to release at MWSF mind you, it doesn't seem as Nick was traffiking in trade secrets.

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