Student seeks legal help in Apple case

Nicholas Ciarelli, the Harvard student behind ThinkSecret.com, may need the assistance of a generous lawyer now that he has to deal with a lawsuit from Apple
Written by Ingrid Marson, Contributor
The 19-year-old student who runs Mac enthusiast site ThinkSecret.com, which is being sued by Apple, has warned he may struggle to afford to defend himself.

Apple filed court documents against ThinkSecret.com two weeks ago, alleging that recent postings on the site contain Apple trade secrets. The lawsuit aims to identify who is leaking the information and to get an injunction preventing further release of trade secrets.

Harvard University student Nicholas Ciarelli, who calls himself Nick dePlume online, is the publisher and editor of ThinkSecret.com. Ciarelli is not named as a defendant in the Apple lawsuit, but according to the Associated Press he needs free or low-cost legal help to defend himself against allegations that have been made.

Kurt Opsahl, an attorney for civil liberties group the Electronic Frontier Foundation, has claimed that in addition to the ThinkSecret site being subpoenaed for sources, Ciarelli is being directly sued for trade secret misappropriation.

A spokeswoman for Apple declined to comment on Ciarelli or on the ThinkSecret lawsuit.

ThinkSecret.com wrote at the end of December that Apple was expected to launch a small Mac computer, codenamed Q88 priced at $499. Two weeks later Apple launched the Mac mini at Macworld.

An online petition has been started calling for Apple to withdraw the suit.

In a separate lawsuit, Apple is suing two men who it says distributed pre-release versions of Tiger, the next iteration of Mac OS X. It is also suing unnamed individuals who leaked details about a forthcoming music device code-named Asteroid.

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