Apple pays bloggers’ legal fees

Wow, Apple is ordered to pay $700,000 for bloggers’ legal fees.

This is great news. It’ll make companies think twice before going after bloggers.

I’ve caught wind of a lot more legal actions being pulled against Bloggers, not just me either. I advise companies not to do that. It almost always backfires.

One guy got fired cause he used legal devices against a blogger in Maine, I learned from Shel Israel.

Be careful out there. The stakes are going way up and that’s pushing companies to use legal devices against bloggers. Unfortunately you don’t read about most of this kind of stuff — most bloggers who’ve talked with me have already been given a gag order. Break the gag order and they’ll increase their legal exposure and demonstrate that they aren’t operating in good faith. Remember, libel gets worse if there’s malice. So, if there’s a potential you’ve libeled someone, then going public about legal instruments can be used against you. I’ve been getting a lot of calls from bloggers lately asking for advice on this stuff. I’m no lawyer, but quickly getting to know some who are experts in this area. Most advise you not to talk on your blog when you get a legal attack and immediately see a lawyer to protect yourself.

I think that by the end of the year we’ll need to form a legal group just to help bloggers out. When a big company with deep pockets comes after you it’s very unnerving (and potentially financially devastating), even if you haven’t done anything wrong. Increasingly companies are going after bloggers because of the huge stakes involved (companies are increasingly sensitive to what’s being said about them because of the economic power of Google and other search engines).

And, if you make the wrong legal judgment, you could even spend time in jail. Ask Josh Wolf, who is spending a year in jail because of his decision not to hand over his videotape.

Be careful out there. The lawyers are watching.

Comments

  1. Given the issues that you and your brother have with this issue and a certain coffee shop, I hope that we will see a lot more lawyers taking heed

    Guy

    yes, yes Robert, I know you still can’t comment

  2. Wow, it took you a day to find this? Does that mean you just gave the “other tech gadget sites” a day to link to your silly devices?

    Are you really going to be pissing and moaning about people not giving you links? About it taking a day or two for someone else to notice what YOU think is important? Or if they don’t at all?

    Because if so, that means your readers will be pointing to the same behavior from you. Many places had this story a day ago… What took you so long?

  3. Given the issues that you and your brother have with this issue and a certain coffee shop, I hope that we will see a lot more lawyers taking heed

    Guy

    yes, yes Robert, I know you still can’t comment

  4. Wow, it took you a day to find this? Does that mean you just gave the “other tech gadget sites” a day to link to your silly devices?

    Are you really going to be pissing and moaning about people not giving you links? About it taking a day or two for someone else to notice what YOU think is important? Or if they don’t at all?

    Because if so, that means your readers will be pointing to the same behavior from you. Many places had this story a day ago… What took you so long?

  5. Goebbels: good point. It took that long to get on TechMeme. I was busy doing other things yesterday, like editing my video.

    I don’t claim to be the world’s authority on Apple or blog legal issues like those gadget sites who have massive audiences that trust them to get them the best gadget news. Which makes my point very valid.

  6. Goebbels: good point. It took that long to get on TechMeme. I was busy doing other things yesterday, like editing my video.

    I don’t claim to be the world’s authority on Apple or blog legal issues like those gadget sites who have massive audiences that trust them to get them the best gadget news. Which makes my point very valid.

  7. It’s nice to see you finally come around and agree that Wolf is an idiot for trying to be some sort of martyr.

  8. It’s nice to see you finally come around and agree that Wolf is an idiot for trying to be some sort of martyr.

  9. If you’re thinking of getting a legal defense fund ready for bloggers why not involve the EFF? I’m sure they already have advice and some resources for bloggers with legal woes.

  10. If you’re thinking of getting a legal defense fund ready for bloggers why not involve the EFF? I’m sure they already have advice and some resources for bloggers with legal woes.

  11. Um… Ever hear of EFF? They would be the natural group to align with. Perhaps bloggers could put their money towards http://www.eff.org in order to help them protect bloggers as well as all of the other good work they are doing!

    Pax,

    MLO
    (I am in NO way associated with EFF, honest!)

  12. Um… Ever hear of EFF? They would be the natural group to align with. Perhaps bloggers could put their money towards http://www.eff.org in order to help them protect bloggers as well as all of the other good work they are doing!

    Pax,

    MLO
    (I am in NO way associated with EFF, honest!)

  13. This certainly isn’t good news. What this ruling means is that an employee, or anyone bound by an NDA, can break that agreement to an entity not technically bound without fear of reprecussion. Essentially, it renders the NDA’s useless so long as you hide behind an unsrupulous rumor mill such as AppleInsider.

    The First Amendment was not meant to be used as a shield for information bandits. Apple is dealing with weasels willing to sign an NDA and knowingly break their agreement to hand over information to another weasel that is unwilling to sign the NDA. It is nothing more than working relationship designed to specifically skirt the responsibilities of those bound by the NDA. It’s not free speech, winning one for the little guy, or in any way a noble cause.

    If you think Apple was put in their place and free speech was advanced, think again. This type of ruling means that you now have to worry about your private dealings. In case you haven’t thought through this fully (clearly some haven’t) take a minute and think about all the agreements you expect others to uphold. Banking information, criminal history, divorce details, credit history, medical history, and credit card companies (Oh, I wonder what you’ve been doing online?).

    How will all of those in favor of Apple’s loss feel when someone with your information (bound to secrecy) decides you’re a worthy target of a blog post? You, Mr. Scoble, are a perfect target for someone with access to your private information. Think about that the next time you’re at the doctors office and you see that big wall of medical files. Unless we are willing to share every single private bit of our lives with the world, this ruling is a disaster.

    How will you feel when someone you trusted reveals your private information to a third party blogger? I suspect you’ll scream bloody murder and hire an attorney to sue for the enforcement of those privacy agreements.

  14. This certainly isn’t good news. What this ruling means is that an employee, or anyone bound by an NDA, can break that agreement to an entity not technically bound without fear of reprecussion. Essentially, it renders the NDA’s useless so long as you hide behind an unsrupulous rumor mill such as AppleInsider.

    The First Amendment was not meant to be used as a shield for information bandits. Apple is dealing with weasels willing to sign an NDA and knowingly break their agreement to hand over information to another weasel that is unwilling to sign the NDA. It is nothing more than working relationship designed to specifically skirt the responsibilities of those bound by the NDA. It’s not free speech, winning one for the little guy, or in any way a noble cause.

    If you think Apple was put in their place and free speech was advanced, think again. This type of ruling means that you now have to worry about your private dealings. In case you haven’t thought through this fully (clearly some haven’t) take a minute and think about all the agreements you expect others to uphold. Banking information, criminal history, divorce details, credit history, medical history, and credit card companies (Oh, I wonder what you’ve been doing online?).

    How will all of those in favor of Apple’s loss feel when someone with your information (bound to secrecy) decides you’re a worthy target of a blog post? You, Mr. Scoble, are a perfect target for someone with access to your private information. Think about that the next time you’re at the doctors office and you see that big wall of medical files. Unless we are willing to share every single private bit of our lives with the world, this ruling is a disaster.

    How will you feel when someone you trusted reveals your private information to a third party blogger? I suspect you’ll scream bloody murder and hire an attorney to sue for the enforcement of those privacy agreements.

  15. Tom: Apple has already figured out how to keep leaks from happening another way. They’ve compartmentalized all the information on a product so no one person can leak that much, and even when they do, it’ll be incredibly easy to figure out who leaked.

    My brother-in-law worked on the iPhone. He worked on two of the chips on the iPhone. He never saw the mother board or outside case before Steve Jobs got on stage.

    If you’re a company you should hire trustworthy people and build systems to keep your secrets secret.

    Going after bloggers is the wrong way to solve your problems and will just make the problem bigger.

  16. Tom: Apple has already figured out how to keep leaks from happening another way. They’ve compartmentalized all the information on a product so no one person can leak that much, and even when they do, it’ll be incredibly easy to figure out who leaked.

    My brother-in-law worked on the iPhone. He worked on two of the chips on the iPhone. He never saw the mother board or outside case before Steve Jobs got on stage.

    If you’re a company you should hire trustworthy people and build systems to keep your secrets secret.

    Going after bloggers is the wrong way to solve your problems and will just make the problem bigger.

  17. Robert, I agree that there may be better ways to go about keeping secrets. The iPhone is a great example. Even though some details we’re leaked it was still a very silent operation.

    My point is less about Apple and more about the decision that says people with access to private/secret information and who have agreed not to disclose that information, can now do so through the blogosphere without consequence.

    This decision opens the door to all kinds of disclosures about everyone. The idea that your trusted partners and keepers of secrets can reveal information willy nilly so long as it’s second hand should scare the heck out of all of us.

  18. Robert, I agree that there may be better ways to go about keeping secrets. The iPhone is a great example. Even though some details we’re leaked it was still a very silent operation.

    My point is less about Apple and more about the decision that says people with access to private/secret information and who have agreed not to disclose that information, can now do so through the blogosphere without consequence.

    This decision opens the door to all kinds of disclosures about everyone. The idea that your trusted partners and keepers of secrets can reveal information willy nilly so long as it’s second hand should scare the heck out of all of us.

  19. how about in malaysia?..2 bloggers has been arrested by government.they has been charged because spread a bad things about the government. i dont think they gonna be release!

  20. how about in malaysia?..2 bloggers has been arrested by government.they has been charged because spread a bad things about the government. i dont think they gonna be release!

  21. [...] Apple is ordered to pay $700,000 for bloggers legal fees. [Robert Scoble] Serves them right. Apple is ordered to pay for the legal fees of a blogger that they went after. The fact that the blogger racked up $700 grand in legal fees is the scary part to me. This underscores the importance of understanding the legal ramifications of blogging (which I don’t pretend to understand) and Scoble references the need to have some sort of legal group to help bloggers out. I’d pay a small fee to have access to that on the off hand chance some mega corporation came after me. Ask a Ninja signs big advertising deal with Federated Media. [Robert Scoble] Scoble points out that video blogging is starting to take off. [...]

  22. Well as some one has said the EFF might be a possibility the obvious one in the Journalists Union whatever it is in the US the NUJ in the UK.

    I’m not Sure how it is in the US but the NUJ press card that comes with being a member would help with accreditation and with the cops, officials, doormen etc.

    I know that some people in BT kept their NUJ membership up in areas like online content and pr/press for similar reasons.

    And if I ever go down the route of political blogs id defiantly consider joining the NUJ.

  23. Well as some one has said the EFF might be a possibility the obvious one in the Journalists Union whatever it is in the US the NUJ in the UK.

    I’m not Sure how it is in the US but the NUJ press card that comes with being a member would help with accreditation and with the cops, officials, doormen etc.

    I know that some people in BT kept their NUJ membership up in areas like online content and pr/press for similar reasons.

    And if I ever go down the route of political blogs id defiantly consider joining the NUJ.

  24. “Which makes my point very valid.”

    No, no, it doesn’t. You agreed with me. Duh?! This proves you are a petulent crybaby still trying to wheedle his way out of a fiasco.

  25. “Which makes my point very valid.”

    No, no, it doesn’t. You agreed with me. Duh?! This proves you are a petulent crybaby still trying to wheedle his way out of a fiasco.

  26. Whats-her-name at dooce.com got her life ruined for a while by this one… funny chick, and I respect her compulsive diarrhea of the fingers about her life… Too bad companies with big legal budgets can get away with essentially frivolous or marginal lawsuits like this.

  27. Whats-her-name at dooce.com got her life ruined for a while by this one… funny chick, and I respect her compulsive diarrhea of the fingers about her life… Too bad companies with big legal budgets can get away with essentially frivolous or marginal lawsuits like this.

  28. This a late post, but someone who actually knows the law needs to clean up the mess Robert has made.

    •It is normal for the losing side pay the winner’s in a lawsuit. How Robert got the notion that it has something specific to do with bloggers is beyond me. Apple being ordered to pay the legal fees is normal legal procedure.

    •Josh Wolf’s incarceration is a completely different situation. His adversary is the federal government, not a business. The government has the power to impose criminal sanctions. Businesses do not.

    I am often shocked by how little Robert knows about substantive issues. Shallow waters run. . .shallow.

  29. This a late post, but someone who actually knows the law needs to clean up the mess Robert has made.

    •It is normal for the losing side pay the winner’s in a lawsuit. How Robert got the notion that it has something specific to do with bloggers is beyond me. Apple being ordered to pay the legal fees is normal legal procedure.

    •Josh Wolf’s incarceration is a completely different situation. His adversary is the federal government, not a business. The government has the power to impose criminal sanctions. Businesses do not.

    I am often shocked by how little Robert knows about substantive issues. Shallow waters run. . .shallow.