The Airing of Grievances
Gah. Remember that outraged Apple-sues-Fake-Steve-Jobs post you just saw here? As Emily Litella would say, "Never mind."
It's apparently a hoax--and to give credit where it's due, a damn good one. Everybody who wants to laugh at Will, click below for the original outrage. As they once said on M*A*S*H, I have been royally had.
o remember earlier this week when I wrote about Apple, Inc. litigating and then bribing Think Secret into oblivion? A few folks were not impressed; I was told that Nick Ciarelli was a bad guy who was inducing Apple employees to disclose trade secrets, that Apple had every right to lawyer the guy out of existance, deedle deedle dee, wubba wubba wubba.
Now there's this. Having whetted its appetite on Ciarelli, Apple Legal has now turned its claws on the Fake Steve Jobs, aka Daniel Lyons. An Apple lawyer contacted Lyons and offered him a substantial cash payoff if he'd agree to kill the wildly-popular Fake Steve blog. When Lyons declined, this was the response:
Just got another PDF letter from the same Rambo attorney (photo above; but I won't print his name) saying that in response to my last post about doing things transparently he wants to remind me that while this "course of action" is of course mine to take, he feels it is his duty to inform me that Apple's lawyers have identified at least three posts in my archive that they "deem to be actionable." He says Apple hopes this can be a "conversation rather than a confrontation" [isn't Johnnie Cochran dead? ed.] and that before I turn this into a public fight by continuing on my current "course of action" I should perhaps consider the potentially serious consequences to myself and my family of doing so.
This is followed by a recommendation that I retain an attorney to represent me. And then, I swear to friggin God, there's a list of my assets with an estimated value for each and I suppose the implied threat that I stand to lose them. Which kinda scares the living shit out of me, to be honest, since they've got a pretty thorough list, which means they've been doing some research on this and the offer didn't just come out of thin air. Their lists includes my home address, most recent assessed value of my house and all the information about my mortgage; a rental property that we own; my bank accounts and investment accounts, including the college funds for our kids, whose names are used; and our boat and two cars.
Folks, that's not about protecting "trade secrets." That's just flat-out extortion.
There's no defensible reason for Apple to be coming down on Lyons. The pretense for declaring three posts out of hundreds on FSJ as containing "trade secrets" and thus being "actionable" is a joke (check Lyons' rundown on them if you don't want to take my word for it). This is about a corporation with billions in the bank to spend on lawyers threatening to ruin a guy for... making fun of the CEO.
That's unmitigated garbage. That's inexcusable. It's one step removed from organized crime trashing a storefront because the owner won't pay protection money.
It's not exactly a secret that I'm a big fan of Apple's products. I worked in Apple support for a few months after I finished college, and enjoyed it. There are Macs and iPods and such scattered from one end of my house to the other. But this is so far beyond the pale, I can't really see continuing to be a customer. If Apple is going to use its wealth and legal bullies to push around somebody just for making jokes they don't like, I'm going to have a very hard time justifying ever giving them another dime.
Apple came back later and offered Lyons $500,000 to shut up and close down the site and go away. To Lyons' credit, he told them to get stuffed. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have had that kind of backbone myself. That said, I suspect Apple is going to lose a lot more than half a million over this outrage.
Hey, Apple: you're losing goodwill by the second here. Knock it off. You can start by firing the scumbag lawyer who threatened to take away Daniel Lyons' house.