Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 20th Dec 2007 10:22 UTC
Legal As we say in Dutch, de kogel is door de kerk: Think Secret will cease all activities after reaching a settlement with Apple in a lawsuit Apple had filed against the website. In exchange for closing down Think Secret, Nick DePlume, its owner, will not have to reveal its sources to Apple. The press release on the Think Secret website reads: "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." My take: I have respect for the way DePlume protected his sources; very commendable. I have, however, little respect for Apple in this case (I have written, rather controversially, about it before), and it just scares the living daylights out of me that a company can exert this much power over independent websites.
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RE[3]: Pardon?
by JonathanBThompson on Thu 20th Dec 2007 15:26 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Pardon?"
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Since what's being reported by the sources of Think Secret is not in the valid public interest category, by rights Think Secret should not be publishing this information at all

Says who? Do you get to decide that? When is something public interest? How much money has to be taken from public resources? How much environmental damage must be inflicted? How many people have to die? Before it is a "matter of public interest"?

Journalists tend to cover very specific areas, and within those specific areas, a lot of things can be of "public interest" - namely, the public within that area of interest. It is very well possible that for us as a minority something may be of great interest, but for the rest of the world, it matters nothing. So, how would you rate such cases, JT?

In answer to the first one, it's actually quite a bit of common sense: is it something that affects what people pay for in terms of infrastructure or government or something that's legitimately considered under the category of "public works and infrastructure" in that if it does affect the resources of others than themselves and their business partners, and they're not breaking any laws, then that is a fairly simple litmus test to determine if it falls under the category of "legitimate public interest" (note that I had to add that qualifier, "legitimate"). Unless (in this case, or anything like it) harm is caused by the company/person/entity that is having their private parts exposed, it simply isn't in the "legitimate public interest" and should remain private. I admit, I've not read all that Think Secret has posted about Apple, but other than some of the stock option scandals, I'm seriously doubting that there's a single thing they've reported that's in the "legitimate public interest" to report where they've gotten facts from within.

So, there's the logical and reasonable explanation: where what one person/company/entity does or is doing won't harm others and they aren't going on a campaign for some government office (which could easily be extrapolated to affecting the good of the public, so you'd better know what they're up to) then quite simply, it's none of anyone's damned business as to the underlying details. As a "what if?" case, what if you were into deviant sexual practices that turned off a meaningful portion of your reading audience from visiting your site(s) if they knew, and it was posted where those readers could read it, in plain view to the world, and you didn't want them to know that, because it may very well affect how many ad impressions as a result of page views, which may make the difference between keeping your site(s) running or becoming too much of a financial drain to sustain? If I bleeted out, "Thom_Holwerda does it with sheep, run away, run away, BAAH!" and I knew that was true, would that be correct to post on here? If not, why not? Why should you get to decide, since after all, in the interest of "free speech" and "freedom of the press" if it's true, why should you object in the slightest?

I wouldn't do that, and I don't see it being fair or remotely correct, in much the same way that "Freedom of speech" doesn't protect idiots yelling "Fire!" in a crowded theatre when there's no fire or even hints of a fire. (Yes, I'd bet money that's been tested in a court case, at least once, due to idiots that would do just that)

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