Apple, ThinkSecret settlement: Bad precedent

ThinkSecret and Apple have settled a long running lawsuit with a terse statement. The upshot: ThinkSecret protects its sources (good).

ThinkSecret and Apple have settled a long running lawsuit with a terse statement. The upshot: ThinkSecret protects its sources (good). The bad news is that ThinkSecret shuts down.

Here's the statement:

December 20, 2007 - PRESS RELEASE: 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. Nick Ciarelli, Think Secret's publisher, said "I'm pleased to have reached this amicable settlement, and will now be able to move forward with my college studies and broader journalistic pursuits."

I can't blame Ciarelli. When it comes to lawsuits Apple has a cannon and ThinkSecret has a pea shooter (if that). Why wouldn't you want to put this lawsuit behind you?

But a shutdown sets a bad precedent. Every time a blog writes something a company doesn't like--Apple is a big stickler--or leaks information a publisher will have two choices: Shutdown and save your financial life. Or get destroyed by an army of lawyers.

How this precedent plays out is anyone's guess but I'm worried about the small bloggers/publishers out there.

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