Archive for January 15th, 2005

Apple Sues Harvard Freshman

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Apple
Computer announced today that they are suing a 19-year-old Harvard
freshman for a Macintosh News and Rumors web site (thinksecret.com)
he has been running since he was 13. The kid in question, Nicholas M.
Ciarelli (’08, pen name Nick dePlume) claims innocence and indigence
and is seeking representation. Apple says he leaked details of the new $499 mini-Mac and iLife ’05 two weeks before they were unveiled at MacWorld. Why won’t some Harvard Law or Berkman
poobah take on the case? It’s a goldmine for good pub, at the very least.

"A lot of lawyers are interested in my case, but few are able to do
it for free or low cost," Ciarelli, of Cazenovia, N.Y., said in an
e-mail interview. "I’m seeking representation."

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a San Francisco-based civil liberties group,
said Friday it would not defend Think Secret even though it is defending two
other sites, AppleInsider.com and PowerPage.org, that Apple is trying to subpoena
to reveal sources.

Unlike the Think Secret case, those sites are not being sued.

"In addition to being subpoenaed for sources, he’s being directly sued for
trade secret misappropriation," said Kurt Opsahl, a staff attorney with
the organization. "We’re trying to find him counsel."

Ciarelli, who described himself as "an enthusiastic fan of Apple’s products
since an early age," started www.ThinkSecret.com in 1998 when he was 13.
The site, which accepts advertising, is read by Apple enthusiasts and industry
analysts because of its exclusive stories about company developments.

from ABC
News

Although the site in question (thinksecret.com)
is not technically a blog, it has blog-like features; news and links,
new stories to the top, archives and comments. Nick is facing the same
pressures applied by the government to mainstream media when it wants
to grill a reporter’s sources, without the traditional protections afforded
members of the Fifth Estate. He was quoted in the Harvard
Crimson
today,

"I employ the same legal newsgathering practices
used by any other journalist," he wrote. "I talk to sources of information,
investigate
tips, follow up on leads, and corroborate details. I believe these
practices
are reflected in Think Secret’s track record."

from the Harvard Crimson

Laying Down the Law

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As
usually, numerous interesting topics were kicked around the table at
this week’s Thursday
Berkman Blogger’s Meeting
.
The main event was a review and discussion of Blogger’s codes of ethics,
civil rules and power laws, etiquette, statements of purpose, ground
rules for blogging, manifestos and correction, attribution and deletion
policies. Lisa
Williams
was
organized enough to put together a
working list
of a variety of existing
policies to start us off.

The general concensus was that although the individuality
and iconoclasm which is the essence of blogging argues against the
evolution of any universal or generally accepted codes, it can be extremely
useful for individual blogs to develop codes or site rules, primarily
so that they can be pointed to after someone has violated them and before
they are irredeemably banned from your site.

Of course, we were inspired by the discussion to elaborate
an expanded policy to replace the blanket two sentence disclaimer which
we currently use in a comically vain attempt to cover our ass. Here they
are:

  • This
    is MY blog, I am responsible for all of the creative effort and
    good taste
    that goes
    into
    its elaboration
    and I refuse to share the credit with anyone.

  • The Dowbrigade is a fictional character and the Dowbrigade
    News is a humorous blog; therefore the author should not be held
    responsible for any inaccuracies,
    exaggerations, insults. potential
    slander or insider
    information which it may
    contain.

  • We firmly believe (the Dowbrigade and I that is, we know
    it gets confusing at times) that tolerance and willingness to at
    least listen to other viewpoints is the essence of civil discourse
    and democracy.
    Therefore, all reader’s opinions and comments are welcome.

  • We zealously reserve the right to flame, ridicule, edit
    and expunge anyone who is rude offensive, overly idiotic or in terminally
    bad taste in our space.

  • We will not publish or post graphic images of cannibalism,
    incest, necrophilism or bestiality, unless they have redeeming social value.  The
    Dowbrigade has certain standards. They may be very low,
    but they exist.

  • We NEVER second guess or after-edit, except when survival
    instincts take over. For example, we recently took down a photo
    of Usama Bin Laden sodomizing George Bush when we realized that it
    was posted directly above a photo of our 8-year-old niece on Christmas
    day
    we knew would be viewed by most of the family.

  • Whenever authentic mistakes are pointed out by alert readers,
    we endeavor to make corrections and apologies immediately, always
    on the original posting and sometimes at the top of the queue as well.

  • However, since many of our mistakes are actually on purpose,
    by way of humor, or irony, or clever red herrings designed to be
    intentionally misleading, or to protect the identity of original sources,
    it is difficult
    to tell
    which
    are real
    errors, even for us.

  • Once an image is flying around the internet, it is fair
    game, at least for educational and non-profit purposes.

  • If you like what you read in the Dowbrigade News, hire
    me to do some paying work
    . If you don’t like what you read
    in the Dowbrigade News, go away and don’t read it.

  • If you don’t have a sense of humor, may God have mercy
    on your soul.

We reserve the right to amend, alter, interpret, temporarily
suspend or intentionally or inadvertently violate these principles as
the situation demands.  Because of our proven mental instability, creative
licence, educational fair use and probable brain damage due to psychopharmacological
experimentation incurred during an early and abortive career as an ethnobotanist,
we cannot be held responsible for any actionable postings. We still aren’t
sure this isn’t all an extended flashback.