Lawyers Chop Down Apple Rumors Site

Dennis Faas's picture

The 'Think Secret' website, which published insider scoops about Apple products, is to close down as part of a legal settlement. The deal means the site's owners will not have to expose their confidential sources.

It marks the end of a lawsuit launched by Apple in January 2005 after the site leaked details of the Mac Mini computer two weeks before its official announcement.

The case surrounded laws designed to protect journalistic sources. Apple sued the site's boss, Nick Ciarelli, claiming he had unlawfully revealed trade secrets.  The Cupertino-based tech company also demanded Ciarelli's sources.

Lawyers on both sides of the suit sought to define 'journalism'; Apple claimed that bloggers were not the same as journalists and thus could not use 'shield' laws which say reporters can't be forced to expose their sources. A California court agreed with this argument, but an appeal hearing ruled that bloggers were indeed legitimate journalists. (Source:

Apple has now agreed to drop all remaining lawsuits since Ciarelli has promised to no longer publish his site. It's thought they may have been motivated by a California law which says companies that issue lawsuits may themselves face claims for damages if they sue over material that is ruled to be free speech and thus protected by the constitution. In two similar cases, Apple had to pay online reporters $700,000 in legal compensation. (Source:

The 'Think Secret' site (a play on Apple's 'Think Different' slogan), which Ciarelli started in 1999 aged just 13, became one of the most influential news sources about Apple products. Apple has always been very tight-lipped about upcoming product releases, but the passionate following of the firm's products among users means there is always great interest in gossip and rumors.

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