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MacInTouch Rebuffs Apple Legal With Public Snub

MacInTouch Rebuffs Apple Legal With Public Snub

by , 11:30 AM EDT, July 17th, 2000

As we reported last week, Apple's legal department has been busy trying to squelch rumors about a new Mac "Cube" that will supposedly be released during MACWORLD. MacOS Rumors, AppleInsider, and now MacInTouch have all felt the long arm of Apple tap them on the shoulder. The controversy started when MacOS Rumors first printed information on what it described as a new Apple product in the shape of a cube. The story was replaced with information to the effect that Apple's legal department had asked them to remove it. AppleInsider experienced the same thing when they too printed information about the "Cube." Ric Ford's MacInTouch also published some details about the new machine, but when that long time veteran journalist was contacted by Apple, Mr. Ford bit back.

Like AppleInsider and MacOS Rumors, Mr. Ford was told to remove the offending content, and was also told he could not reprint the very letter asking him to do so. Mr. Ford responded by not only publishing Apple's letter, he published his own attorney's letter back to Apple. While Mr. Ford did in fact pull the content, his letter attempted to make it clear that he had no intention of being bullied by Apple. A couple of snippets from this letter:

Contrary to the positions you have taken regarding each of the previous points, my client's Freedom of Speech rights protect its good faith publication of newsworthy information about Apple, including the fact that Apple's legal department has objected to that information. [...]

You have no right to state your concerns to third parties with whom my client does business. Your having sent a copy of your message to my client's internet service provider can have only one purpose, and that is to interfere with the advantageous business relationship between my client and its i.s.p. [...]

Despite the foregoing four points, my client has decided - this time - to remove the four items Apple has found objectionable from its web site. Why? For one reason and one reason only: to avoid further costs of legal representation. Accordingly, this matter is now terminated. Apple should think again, however, before engaging in a similar course of action in the event it "objects" to a future internet posting. Even a little guy eventually might decide there is no choice but to take up a slingshot.

The full letter contains much more information about this issue, and we recommend that you check it out. It is a very interesting and entertaining read.

The Mac Observer Spin:

The way this sort of thing works is that Apple could never win a lawsuit such as this, but a Mac site could never afford to defend against it. This is the way the game is played though. The large companies rely on the fact that they have the financial resources to bury a tiny company so deep that they won't be able to reach a phone to call their bankruptcy attorney.

While Mr. Ford's letter may be nothing more than posturing, he did submit after all, he has also drawn a line in the sand. We have no way of knowing yet whether or not he or Apple might cross it. Mr. Ford is a longtime industry professional who knows what it what in the world of publishing, and it will be interesting to see if this dies a quiet death or if Apple decides to take it further. Our guess is that this will be the end of it, and we can all applaud Mr. Ford for standing up for his rights as a publisher.

In any event, go and read Mr. Ford's letter if you have not already done so.

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