Commentary

Just An Online Minute... Blogger Settles Suit With Apple

Nick Ciarelli, a college student at Harvard who published the blog Think Secret, has agreed to shutter it to settle a lawsuit with Apple.

But even though site is going dark, Ciarelli's supporters are hailing the settlement as a win for a blogger against a major corporation. "[I]t would be surprising if Apple did not include a handsome payment as part of the settlement agreement," wrote Kurt Opsahl of the Electronic Frontier Foundation on the group's blog. (The EFF helped Think Secret find a lawyer, but Opsahl said he doesn't know the terms of the settlement.)

Apple sued Ciarelli almost three years ago for posting trade secrets about the company. Around that same time, Apple also went to court to try to learn the identity of sources who had leaked company information to the blogs Apple Insider and Powerpage.

Apple lost that battle, because California has a shield law that protects the identities of journalists' confidential sources. In the process, the case set a crucial precedent, because it resulted in a court ruling that bloggers had the same rights under California's shield law as journalists from the mainstream media.

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Apple apparently continues to challenge bloggers on a regular basis, sending them cease and desist letters, according to The New York Times. Still, if Apple did indeed pay Ciarelli to stop publishing, that would mark a significant victory for at least one blogger in the ongoing battle between the company and the people who write about it.

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