Think Secret Enlists Help to Fight Apple

Mac rumor site Think Secret has thrown down the gauntlet in its legal fight against Apple, obtaining the services of Terry Gross, a specialist in Internet law and formerly the first counsel to the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Gross's San Francisco-based public interest law firm will defend dePlume Organization LLC -- Think Secret's parent company-- against allegations that it revealed "trade secrets" in its news reporting.

In the days leading up to this month's Macworld, things were as they typically are prior to any major Apple release event: Apple donned its ever-present veil of secrecy and remained silent.

But Nick dePlume and Think Secret were busy reporting that Apple was gearing up to announce a new flash memory based iPod and a new productivity suite code-named Sugar.

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Think Secret's hunches proved to be true; Apple unveiled the iPod shuffle and iWork '05 suite at Macworld.

On the eve of Macworld, Apple filed suit against Think Secret and several unknown informants for revealing what Apple has referred to as "trade secrets." Just weeks before, Apple brought legal action in another intellectual property suit against two individuals for allegedly distributing pre-release copies of the next version of Mac OS X, known as "Tiger."

"Apple's attempt to silence a small publication's news reporting presents a troubling affront to the protections of the First Amendment," said Nick dePlume, who's real name is Nicholas M. Ciarelli. "I'm grateful that Mr. Gross has stepped forward to help defend these crucial freedoms."

Ciarelli is Think Secret's publisher and editor in chief. Ciarelli began Think Secret at age 13 and is now a student at Harvard University.

Ciarelli's counsel, Terry Gross, is petitioning the Court to dismiss the case on the basis that it is "meritless" and threatens the first amendment. Gross contends that Think Secret obtained the information lawfully and did not engage in any improper journalistic techniques. The United States Supreme Court has ruled that journalists cannot be held liable for information that was obtained lawfully.

An Apple spokesperson did not return requests for comment by press time.

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