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Thunk Secret

Apple rumour blog Think Secret is no more:

Apple and Think Secret have settled their lawsuit, reaching an agreement that results in a positive solution for both sides. As part of the confidential settlement, no sources were revealed and Think Secret will no longer be published. Nick Ciarelli, Think Secret’s publisher, said “I’m pleased to have reached this amicable settlement, and will now be able to move forward with my college studies and broader journalistic pursuits.”

The lawsuit dates back to 2004, when the site leaked news of the Mac Mini.

9 replies on “Thunk Secret”

It’s absolutely absurd that the law should be involved. Companies have every right to try and keep secrets, but it’s not like they’re state secrets. They presumably have a contract with their employees stating that they keep their mouths shut and so they can sue any of their employees found to have breached that contract. That’s fine. But suing the person they spoke to? Why the hell was this not chucked out of court in the first few minutes? Publishing non-libellous rumours is now illegal?

Because it is a publicly traded company, publishing rumours has a great deal of influence on the share price. It could be argued that by knowingly publishing “secrets” that the person was deliberately manipulating share prices. Possibly.

If the feds thought there were grounds for a prosecution for insider trading, they’d have arrested him by now. And Apple wouldn’t have the option of settling out of court.

Insider trading’s a funny one. Completely illegal, yet no-one’s yet managed to define what it actually is.

Wouldn’t it only count as insider trading if it could be proved that someone was making money on it? What if it was just out of badness?

Oo, nice one. What that’s basically saying is that Apple’s suit had no basis in law, plus not only would it get chucked out of court but not before Apple had been ordered to pay Ciarelli’s legal costs, so Apple deliberately didn’t do any work on the lawsuit in order to stop it reaching that stage. And (reading between the lines) Ciarelli, being a somewhat wily lawyer, didn’t force the case closed himself because he knew that, as long as it stayed open, he could use it to bribe Apple: because they knew they’d lose the case, they’d always prefer to settle out of court for a nice big fat sum. So, in summary, Ciarelli submitted enough of a defense to let Apple know that he knew the law, wouldn’t be bullied, and they were going to lose; then he just sat back, leaving the pending lawsuit out there, knowing that Apple wouldn’t dare do anything to nudge it along, and waited till he felt like shutting down the site anyway and then approached Apple and tricked them into paying him to do so.

Genius.

> What if it was just out of badness?

Well, I’m not sure that’s illegal. I could say right now “ICI are going to make a huge loss next year.” So what if that’s not true? It’s a prediction, so I can always claim that I thought it was true but simply turned out to be wrong, so it’s not fraud.

Yeah, well, Ciarelli would say that, wouldn’t he? Against all appearances, it’s actually a victory for free speech and first-amendment rights, and should be encouraging all the other Apple bloggers. Right. Thanks for clearing that up, because for a few thousand seconds there, it looked as if it was the opposite.

Anyway, it wasn’t an insider trading issue: it was about whether Ciarelli had induced an employee to breach his non-disclosure agreement with Apple. Insider trading is actually quite easy to define: it’s the intentional use of insider information, not available to the public, to make money from trading a company’s securities, or giving such information to others so that they can do this.

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