ThinkSecret’s Nick Ciarelli says he can’t afford to defend himself against Apple lawsuit

“The 19-year-old publisher of a Web site facing a lawsuit over an article about a top-secret $499 Apple computer said Friday he can’t afford to defend himself,” Mark Jewell reports for The Associated Press. “Apple Computer Inc. (AAPL) is suing Harvard University student Nicholas Ciarelli’s Web site (http://www.ThinkSecret.com), alleging it illegally published company trade secrets. The Jan. 4 lawsuit also targets the Web site’s unnamed sources for the leaks.”

Jewell reports, “Ciarelli, whose identity as the site’s publisher and editor was only published this week, is not named as a defendant. But he still needs a lawyer, and said he is hoping to find free or low-cost legal help to argue that he deserves First Amendment protection and used proper newsgathering techniques to break news about the Mac mini computer and other inside information about Apple. ‘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.'”

“Apple declined to answer questions Friday about whether Ciarelli, who called himself Nick dePlume online instead of using his real name, would also be sued. Ciarelli’s identity as the site’s editor and publisher had circulated recently on the Internet, but the information only became widely known on Wednesday, when The Harvard Crimson, the university’s student newspaper, confirmed it. At the MacWorld show on Tuesday, executives said the company is merely defending itself,” Jewell reports. “‘Innovation is what Apple is all about, and we want to continue to innovate and surprise and delight people with great products, so we have a right to protect our innovation and secrecy,’ said Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide product marketing.”

Full article here.

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