ThinkSecret’s Ciarelli gains pro bono legal help in defense of Apple lawsuit

“A lawyer specializing in freedom of speech and the Internet said Wednesday he will defend free of charge a 19-year-old publisher of a Web site facing a lawsuit over an article that revealed trade secrets about an Apple computer. Nicholas Ciarelli, publisher of the site and a Harvard University student, will be defended by Terry Gross, of the San Francisco-based firm Gross & Belsky,” The Rapid City Journal reports.

“Ciarelli said last week he could not afford to defend a lawsuit that Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple Computer Inc. filed in San Jose County on Jan. 4,” The Rapid City Journal reports. “Apple sued a week after Ciarelli’s Web site published an article that revealed details of the $499 Mac mini computer. Defendants include Think Secret and unnamed sources who tipped off the online publication two weeks before Apple’s Jan. 11 Mac mini introduction. Apple has said the Web site ‘solicited information about unreleased Apple products from these individuals.’ Gross said in an interview that Ciarelli and his Web site used proper newsgathering techniques and deserve First Amendment protection. He said he plans to file a motion asking a judge to immediately dismiss the lawsuit,” The Rapid City Journal reports.

Full article here.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
ThinkSecret’s Nick Ciarelli says he can’t afford to defend himself against Apple lawsuit – January 15, 2005
Harvard Student and ThinkSecret owner Nick Ciarelli faces Apple’s legal wrath over product ‘leaks’ – January 13, 2005
Stop the presses! Apple sues ThinkSecret over ‘Headless Mac,’ ‘iWork,’ and other rumors – January 05, 2005


  1. Hope Nick wins. If Apple’s dam is leaking, suing those who get leaked on ain’t gonna’ do it.

    The question is the psychological pay-off the leaker gets from leaking.

    Perhaps if they felt more loyalty toward Apple, or if they weren’t being harassed to get coffee all the time for the big kahuna, or having to iron Steve-o’s smelly ol’ iPod socks (medium starch)…

    This is lapsing into a confession…

  2. If I were a lawyer I would have jumped on this right away. 99.9% of the pro bono work they do gets no press and no attention. This case is a lot of free advertising for Gross and Belsky. I think Apple is gonna try and get the name of Nick’s source(s). The way I hear it he has set it up so he can claim he has no idea relatively easily (anonymous ways to give him information set up). Once Apple realizes they are not going to get the information they should give up on this.

    Actually, they should give up on this right NOW. They could give the impression they decided to let this one slide THIS time (to avoid bad PR) but that they are serious and plan on finding and prosecuting anybody who leaks. If they continue and reveal that they can’t actually get the leaker then they could start spouting leaks like a sieve. Of course if they get the identity of the leaker and prosecute him then future potential leakers would probably think twice.

    Soooo this is a bit of a gamble for them. Their lawyers had better be providing them with accurate assessments of their chances of actually getting the leakers name. Apple has to look at the whole picture on this one.

  3. I hope Ciarelli loses. He has clearly demonstrated that he has no integrity. And he has shown he has no true love of Apple.

    It’s truly amazing how entitled everyone feels to Apple’s property. Open up the iPod! License FairPlay! License the MacOS! Wah! Bunch of pussies. Make your own shit!

  4. I’m on Apple’s side, but I don’t the laws are. Unless Nick used foul play to get the info, AND Apple can prove it, it will be tough for Apple to get much out of this. Personally I think Nick (and everyone doing the same thing) should let Apple keep their secrets. What good was Nick doing Apple by scrounging up and sharing company secrets? How can he call himself a Mac supporter with his behavior?

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