Life, liberty and blogging

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Daniel F.

Recent actions by tech companies are making bloggers wonder whether they have the right to free speech or only the right to remain silent.

Lawyers representing Microsoft sent letters this week to several gadget-oriented Web sites seeking removal of postings on "Magneto"--the next version of Windows Mobile. Enthusiast site Neowin posted its Magneto scoop earlier this month, outlining a number of details as well as images of the new operating system. Neowin later took down the information, but its posting was followed by others, including Engadget, which received letters from Microsoft lawyers as well.

The news follows Apple Computer's filing of a lawsuit against rumor site Think Secret, which Apple claims induced others into leaking its trade secrets. The Mac maker is seeking an injunction as well as unspecified damages. In a separate lawsuit, Apple has subpoenaed Think Secret and two other Mac sites in an effort to learn the identity of the source of recent leaks. Analysts have said the cases raise interesting issues about how to balance the right of a free press with the right of companies to protect their intellectual property.

Microsoft notes that it has not filed any lawsuits over the issue.

"In this particular case, it is important to note the information in question was comprised of stolen images that were obtained illegally from a Microsoft server," Microsoft said in a statement to CNET "While many sites cooperated fully and immediately removed these images, given the viral nature of these illegally obtained images, we were required to take additional steps."

The software maker said what it did is common in the industry. "It is routine in business, particularly in the high-tech IP industry, for companies to take steps to protect intellectual property."

While the take-down requests are indeed common, it is unclear how the courts would view such a case were a news site to challenge the issue. If the Apple-Think Secret case makes it to trial, we may just get an answer to that one.,

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  • 1 month later...

I think you have a right to free speech but you do not have a right to spread trade secrets or other information that does not belong to you. It "should" be common sense for everyone.

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After watching Steve Job's keynote speech, I understood why Apple was so furious about the information leaked.

It was supposed to be a breathtaking moment for everyone related to Mac, but it turned out rather boring, and the company should have every right to protect their information.

Although it's a bit surprising that Apple woud sue their loyal fans, something about this should've been done anyway.

On a sidenote, I prefer the way MS handled it.

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