Don?t Tread on Think Secret

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Date: Thursday, January 6th, 2005, 19:34
Category: Opinion

When someone spreads a rumor about you, your best bet is to call it slander and file suit. Go to court and prove that it was knowingly false or malicious and has damaged your reputation and sullied your good name. God forbid a writer got this information from some Archive source, believed it to be true and then published it. Good luck getting anything but a belated retraction buried somewhere. Behold the power of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America!
Think Secret published a rumor about future Apple products and Apple filed suit against the authors. Does Apple now have to prove that these rumors are true rather than false?


When someone spreads a rumor about you, your best bet is to call it slander and file suit. Go to court and prove that it was knowingly false or malicious and has damaged your reputation and sullied your good name. God forbid a writer got this information from some Archive source, believed it to be true and then published it. Good luck getting anything but a belated retraction buried somewhere. Behold the power of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America!
Think Secret published a rumor about future Apple products and Apple filed suit against the authors. Does Apple now have to prove that these rumors are true rather than false? Was Think Secret a party to some confidentiality agreement, presumably signed by a mole inside Apple? Did Think Secret suborn this confidential information? Does Apple expect this action to hold up in court with all of the protections afforded this kind of speech, or is this simply an attempt to intimidate a website and take away their right to publish by outspending them? I believe the issues involved to be primarily ethical ones. Is it right to solicit this type of information and publish it? That is a question for editors and readers and not the courts.
The action taken by Apple makes me nervous, and not just as an editor for the PowerPage. It should make you nervous as well. The person who leaked the information is another matter. They most likely violated a binding legal agreement that was a condition of employment and may have additionally caused monetary damage to Apple. Why? Wanting to feel important? Disgruntled? Who knows? Think Secret is the supermarket tabloid of the Mac world, not a den of industrial spies. Publishing this leaked information may damage Apple, but the right to publish it is protected. It got picked up by Reuters and much of the mainstream press. It is news. Could Apple subpoena the authors and ask for the names of their sources? That would be up to the courts and the decision to answer ultimately up to the authors?conscience.
Some people do not take free speech very seriously and argue that Apple should be able to prevent this type of damage by limiting what can be published. In this country, there is a movement to amend the constitution in order to ban the burning of the flag. While I think flag burning is a hateful act and seeing the national symbol in flames is quite disheartening, I support every person?s right to Free Speech, especially political free speech. The rights of even flag burners should be protected by ?the republic for which it stands? as guarantied in the Bill of Rights. The attempt to shut up Think Secret is of little consequence by comparison, but it is still wrong. Apple must either fix the leaks or learn to live with them.
END OF RANT! and yes, I expect to see a lot of comments, just don?t accuse me of smoking crack or make any references to my mom or I will delete the post 🙂

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