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Apple Settles with Tiger Leaker 349

Posted by Zonk
from the not-confidential dept.
The Hobo writes "CNet is carrying a story about Apple reaching a settlement with one of the Tiger leakers, 22-year-old Doug Steigerwald. The terms of the settlement were not released, but it was said that money will be paid to Apple. To quote Doug, 'As a member of Apple's Developer Connection program I received a pre-release version of Apple's Mac OS X 10.4 'Tiger' software, which I promised to keep confidential, instead, I disseminated it over the Internet, and thousands of unauthorized copies of Apple's software were illegally distributed to the public'"
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Apple Settles with Tiger Leaker

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  • by 2.7182 (819680) on Thursday March 24, 2005 @10:34AM (#12035729)
    at the zoo, and boy let me tell you they must drink a lot!
    • by davesag (140186) on Thursday March 24, 2005 @01:50PM (#12037798) Homepage
      sorry for being almost 100% off topic but the parent post just brough flooding back the time I was visiting this place in the middle of nowhere in australia, between melbourne and adelaide, called Kryal Castle. it's some sort of castle that got moved brick by brick from europe somewhere. anyway the point is they have wild cats, including lions and tigers (see relevent) in cages in the middle of the castle grounds. I was standing there as this massive female lion turned, aimed,(ie looked carefully, turned a bit more, ) and then shot a hot stream of lion piss about 6 metres all over a middle aged couple and their teenaged kids. this was a directed blast - like a firehose of piss. Oh how we laughed that day. the other 60 or so tourists wandering about there thought it was hillarious too. and watching these parents try to calm their howling kids down was just the icing on the cake. i laughed aloud just recalling it. and remember kids - lions can shoot hot piss 20 feet! that's not something they teach you lions can do!
  • by Uptown Joe (819388) on Thursday March 24, 2005 @10:35AM (#12035740)
    means that you won't disclose anything. Or give away a few thowsand copies of licenced, un-released software... huh.
  • I am sure that the admission of guilt was in no way a coherced condition of the settlement terms... :-)
    • Re:How Sincere... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 24, 2005 @10:45AM (#12035864)
      I am sure that the admission of guilt was in no way a coherced condition of the settlement terms... :-)

      I'm sure it was more like "In exchange for an apology and being an example to others, we'll reduce the fine from $500,000 to $10,000". So if you want to call lessening the punishment "coherced", you can. Apple gets what it want, untrustworthy developer get what he wants. Others might call it an equitable settlement.

      • by FreeUser (11483) on Thursday March 24, 2005 @11:30AM (#12036287)
        By definition:

        coerce (k-ûrs)
        tr.v. coerced, coercing, coerces

        1. To force to act or think in a certain way by use of pressure, threats, or intimidation; compel.
        2. To dominate, restrain, or control forcibly: coerced the strikers into compliance. See Synonyms at force.
        3. To bring about by force or threat: efforts to coerce agreement.

        So if you want to call lessening the punishment "coherced", you can. Apple gets what it want, untrustworthy developer get what he wants. Others might call it an equitable settlement.

        "In exchange for an apology and being example to others (by signing this confession), we'll reduce the sentence from death to twenty years in the Gulag". So if you want to call lessening the punishment "coherced" [sic], you can. Russia gets what it wants, untrustworthy citizen get [sic] what he wants. Others might call it an equitable settlement.

        See the problem with your logic, and your definition? I hope so, even if you can't bring yourself to admit it publicly.

        I don't want to defend or excuse the actions of this fool for having disseminated Apple's secrets all over the net, violating not only the NDA, but trade secrets and copyright, but to call what happened "uncoerced" is to redefine the term along Newspeak guidelines.

        Was what he did wrong and illegal? Yes.
        Was the law clearly on Apple's side? Yes.
        Could it have been worse for the offendor? Yes.
        Was the offendor coerced into making a public apology and serving as a scary example to others? You bet he was.

        $10,000 is probably a lot to most any 22-year-old. $500,000 would have destroyed him. "Do what we tell you or we'll destroy you" is about as coercive as it gets, whether or not the one being coerced is on the right side of the law. If you have any doubt about this, I suggest referring to the definition of the word, which I have conveniently pasted above.
        • Was what he did wrong and illegal? Yes.
          Was the law clearly on Apple's side? Yes.
          Could it have been worse for the offendor? Yes.
          Was the offendor coerced into making a public apology and serving as a scary example to others? You bet he was.


          Sweet! Can I make some random speculations based on absolutely no evidence, too? I heard that if I make enough of them, they might get put into a "story" or some such thing!
        • by Bryan Ischo (893) * on Thursday March 24, 2005 @11:40AM (#12036392) Homepage
          Your understanding of the concept of "coercion" is oversimplified. You fail to take the circumstances of the supposed "coercion" into consideration.

          By your definition, any time anyone does something they don't want to do, they are "coerced". So I am being "coerced" by the government not to commit murder because if I did, they would throw me in jail for the rest of my life. Right?

          The word "coercion" completely loses its meaning if you really think it is supposed to be used this way.
          • So I am being "coerced" by the government not to commit murder because if I did, they would throw me in jail for the rest of my life. Right?

            Right. If you were inclined to commit murder, and the only bar was the threat of state force (imprisonment), then yes, you are coerced into a course of action. One that most of us approve of, no doubt. We don't want you murdering any of us, after all.

            That's the essense of coercion: overriding individual will with force or threat of force. On some level, that's what soc

        • by ScentCone (795499) on Thursday March 24, 2005 @11:46AM (#12036453)
          You're using the definition in a somewhat correct way, but the context makes the tone of your comments a little off. "Coerced," as in "compelled," true. But if Apple just threw a dart at the phone book and decided to "coerce" someone into giving them $10k, it wouldn't hold up in court. This settlement stuck because it's the tail end of a process that the twaddle-headed developer started through his own (uncoerced) actions. What happened was the playing-out of his own, freely chosen behavior within a framework that he understood and within which he chose to act.

          There's no coercing there, but rather simple justice. Otherwise, you might argue that when you choose to jump off a building, you are then coerced into hitting the ground. Apple said, "You're going to hit the ground either way, buddy, so say you're sorry, and we'll put out something of a mattress for you."
  • Spilt Milk (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Vamphyri (26309) on Thursday March 24, 2005 @10:36AM (#12035750) Homepage Journal
    What was the tiger leaking?

    All humor aside. You have to assume when you receive a beta copy of something and signed an NDA there is some way for them to track you.
    • You have to assume when you receive a beta copy of something and signed an NDA there is some way for them to track you.

      I remember statements saying that he went to Apple and admitted it.
  • That's gotta hurt (Score:4, Insightful)

    by NetMagi (547135) on Thursday March 24, 2005 @10:36AM (#12035754)
    What's sad here is, he likely got pressured into giving up a copy or two to some friends, who probably SWORE they wouldn't share it.

    They stood to lose nothing, and shared it with more of their friends and, etc, etc.

    Wonder how those people feel now.

    -NetMagi

    • Possibly happy.

      Some people have no conscience...
    • by saddino (183491) on Thursday March 24, 2005 @10:40AM (#12035800)
      What's sad here is, he likely got pressured into giving up a copy or two to some friends, who probably SWORE they wouldn't share it.

      Since one his friends is named "BitTorrent" he should've known that friend was going to share it. ;-)
    • I think that's exactly the reason to ignore the temptation. Those other people didn't sign the NDA, and may not have known there was an NDA so there may not be repercussions, though copyright infringement comes to mind.

      What this means is the person that did sign the NDA is the one that will get into trouble.
    • Wonder how those people feel now.

      They are probably in a lot of pain after the guy kicked their asses. But, if they were decent people, they'd help pay his settlement amount.
    • by Rude Turnip (49495)
      He's an adult that signed a contract. When you enter into these types of agreements, there is a very strict wall that forms between your profession and your friends and family. This guy is completely at fault and cannot act like a child and say "my friends made me do it!"
  • by Anita Coney (648748) on Thursday March 24, 2005 @10:37AM (#12035760) Homepage
    OSX is better. Windows only has memory leaks!
  • the case has been settled, and everyone's happy...

    Where's my torrent? :)
  • by jim_redwagon (845837) on Thursday March 24, 2005 @10:40AM (#12035799) Journal
    Can't blame Apple here, I'd rather see their lawyers working on this kind of case than on better ways to enforce DRM. Pre-release versions give you a heads up on software advances and help companies release a better product.

    On a side note, it's good to see this guy actually take responsibility for his actions, instead of hiding and blaming Apple.
  • by ch3ch2oh (768848) on Thursday March 24, 2005 @10:45AM (#12035858)
    there is a widely-held view that NDA's are meaningless and un-enforcable. this shows clearly that is not the case. i'm sure apple wants a certain amout of publicity around this to get that point across.
    • Who thinks that NDAs are unenforceable? They are a staple of the business world, especially the tech industry. This isn't a precedent for NDAs. I think you're thinking about EULAs. It's easy to do if you spend way too much time on Slashdot-
    • there is a widely-held view that NDA's are meaningless and un-enforcable. this shows clearly that is not the case.

      I'm not sure that I've ever seen anyone claim that. It is important to remember, however, that not all portions of an employment agreement (including NDA's) are necessarily enforceable. For example, many such contracts stipulate that you will not sue your employer. That particular clause is completely unenforceable in every state I know about. Like anything else there are parts that can be

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 24, 2005 @10:47AM (#12035888)
    Tyger, tyger burning bright,
    In the shadows of the night.
    What immortal hand or eye
    Dare leak thy secrets P-to-P?

    Tyger [tuffydog.com]

  • by peter303 (12292) on Thursday March 24, 2005 @10:51AM (#12035933)
    As these comprehensive databases like ChoicePoint record more civil an criminal judgements, it gets harder to obtain a job at a mainstream company. Article in Wired [wired.com] about this issue yesterday.
    • That's why you can get pardons
    • Are you somehow trying to argue that if you break the law it should be hidden from prospective employers? Give me a break, people need to take the concequences for their actions. The Wired article was mainly about inaccurate data, which has nothing to do with reporting it when it's correct.

      It's pretty simple: If you want a good job in the future, try and avoid being a criminal today. It seems like pretty good advice to me.
  • Bravo (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wootest (694923) on Thursday March 24, 2005 @10:52AM (#12035935)
    Setting a precedent and standing up for their rights while not mauling the guy to death. Nice.
  • by dioscaido (541037) on Thursday March 24, 2005 @10:52AM (#12035941)
    from TFA: Steigerwald is actually not a student, but a recent graduate of North Carolina State University who is currently looking for a job.

    Well, thanks to this story he has officially been transitioned to the permanent tech no-hire pool. I don't think any company would want to hire someone who so blatantly broke an NDA, and made the headlines for it.

    I hear those people who drive snow plows make a killing. Maybe he can do that instead of software development.
  • Jail time? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by iamacat (583406) on Thursday March 24, 2005 @10:55AM (#12035964)
    "While Apple will always protect its innovations, it is not our desire to send students to jail,"

    I thought it was a civil case, or is Steve Jobs made a royalty here so that offending him carries jail sentences? Besides how exactly do you "settle" a criminal case?
    • I thought it was a civil case, or is Steve Jobs made a royalty here so that offending him carries jail sentences? Besides how exactly do you "settle" a criminal case?

      Distributing software without permission violates federal copyright and possibly patent laws and thus is criminal. I think that Apple settled the civil side but decided not to pursue the criminal aspects. The local and federal authorities can pursue criminal charges on their own, but if Apple considers the matter closed, they won't likely wa

    • Re:Jail time? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by avalys (221114)
      I suppose Apple has an open-and-shut criminal case against him, and if they wished to they could press criminal charges and have him sent to jail.

      But they don't want to, so they won't. That's all they're saying.
      • They may have an open-and-shut civil breach of contract case, but not anything to put him in jail. He claims he just intended to share his stuff with several friends and it accidentally got out. How do you prove the opposite "beyond the reasonable doubt" in a criminal court?

        Besides, even if the law allowed for jail time, the first time it was used would be the undoing of the industry it was supposed to benefit. People are already pissed at RIAA suing a 12-year-old girl. If they tried to put her in jail, th
    • Besides how exactly do you "settle" a criminal case?

      Plea bargain.
    • Re:Jail time? (Score:3, Informative)

      by NormalVisual (565491)
      When you start getting into trade secret cases like this, yes, you start getting into the criminal side of the law. Apple's "settling" of the criminal case is probably a simple matter of calling the DA and saying they don't want to press charges, and without Apple's cooperation, the DA really doesn't have a case.
    • Re:Jail time? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by shark72 (702619)

      Exactly -- you have nailed it. They do not wish to send students to jail, so they settled, rather than pressing criminal charges.

      • MOD PARENT DOWN (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mpoulton (689851)
        MOD PARENT DOWN -- doesn't understand the legal system, or the grandparent's post. It is absolutely NOT allowable, and carries severe criminal penalties, to agree to drop criminal charges in exchange for a civil settlement. Moreover, no criminal act took place here. Breach of contract is NOT CRIMINAL and cannot result in jail time. The grandparent got it right too -- you can't "settle" a criminal case. Whoever provided that quote to the press about "not sending students to jail" didn't understand the c
  • by jonbeckett73 (847732) on Thursday March 24, 2005 @10:56AM (#12035969) Homepage
    Any of us who work in the commercial sector will know that this guy only has himself to blame, and good on Apple for acting quickly. OSX is commercial software. He signed a NDA. He broke the terms of the agreement. End of story!
  • Tiger Preview (Score:5, Insightful)

    by paithuk (766069) on Thursday March 24, 2005 @11:07AM (#12036075) Homepage
    The idea of the early release is to give developers who are willing to pay significant money, a head start in developing their applications so that they use the very latest and greatest features of the new OS (which in case is spotlight, etc). If Apple weren't to take action against piracy like the for-mentioned then these developers would lose faith and it be a lose-lose situation all round (including the end customer/user).
  • by AtariAmarok (451306) on Thursday March 24, 2005 @11:23AM (#12036230)
    Incontinent Tiger, burning bright
    Apple Secrets, in blog shall write
    But tiger urine's not the drink for you
    We know panther urine makes Mountain Dew.
  • by espek (797676) on Thursday March 24, 2005 @11:37AM (#12036373)
    A couple of years ago I found a leaked copy of 10.2 on Limewire or something simliar.

    Sure I downloaded For I was curious about it. Never got it to boot or anything, but I forgot about the copy left on the Limewire shared folder. Didn't think much of it since I never got the software to run properly, so I figured it was broken.

    Couple of weeks go by and I get a very angry call from my ISP telling me to delete the file immediately. Apparently, Apple called them and told them I had an illegal copy of their software on my machine. Needless to say, it scared the crap out of them and they in turn scared the crap out of me for they were fearing a lawsuit, etc. etc.

    The point of this little story is that this is nothing new on Apple's part. They're always protecting their R&D investment. And while the young and restless will snicker, it really taught me a lesson about respecting other people's hard work. This is something you don't learn until you start getting older apparently, for I would never have felt that way about it when I was a younger.

    Do I feel sorry for the guy that got sued, well, not really. He violated a contract, an agreement, and when that happens you have to suffer the consequences. Besides, I think there is more to the story than we are privy to. It's a waste of money for Apple to send their legal bird of prey after a 22 year old unless he really did some damage. These days with things like BitTorrent, the damage grows exponentially...and unfortunately, so does the punishment as a result.

    • They're always protecting their R&D investment. And while the young and restless will snicker, it really taught me a lesson about respecting other people's hard work.

      Did you really learn that lesson from being threatened?

  • They don't disclose the amount because it's a paltry sum, the guilty party being an unemployed recent graduate. It's much scarier this way, thus dissuading future bit torrenting of NDA protected material. If we knew the actual penalty was a few hundred bucks, then how dissuasive would that be?

    That's my theory anyway. I hope Apple was nice enough to the kid, he's allowed at least one stupid mistake.
    • Naturally, I spelled amount incorrectly. Yes I already know. This is my preventative measure against any flames I may receive because of my poor pre-submittal practices.
  • by stinkpad (810024) on Thursday March 24, 2005 @12:08PM (#12036666)
    Were not disclosed. So, it could have been ONE DOLLAR, plus the apology. (or ten, one hundred, one thousand, or some such small amount.)

    Since the amount was not disclosed, I would think it to be a small amount. If it was some large amount, I think they would have published the amount. An unknown amount may have as much, if not more "fear factor" than a known large amount, when it comes to discouraging future behaviour in others.

    So, I think the carping about picking on a "poor student" is a load of crap. To enter into a binding contract, one must be of the age of majority. If he then broke the terms of the NDA, I have no sympathy.

  • by ShoobieRat (829304) on Thursday March 24, 2005 @03:19PM (#12038875)
    Okay, this guy (who we'll refrain from calling "a total dumb@ss" for now), signs the usual legal agreement with Apple and receives confidential software, that he then, against contract, distributes to the web. Apple, with contract in hand, takes this guy to court. They bring this guy to the full accountability of the court, (which he knew about beforehand). In an act that I would describe as barely short of weakness, Apple offers this guy a way out of having to pay 500-Grand. ... And people have a problem with this? The guy willingly and directly defied his contract agreement by distributing this software, and Apple rightly came after him. Considering the way in which he broke contract, they should have nailed him to the wall! It's more of an example to pirates when companies show no mercy! This guy broke the law. Deliberately. It might be different if he like, had his computer stolen or something. What? Is he claiming that he opened a can of Jesus Christ and was told to put Tiger on the web? Please... If Apple wants to send a message to software pirates, they shouldn't do it by showing that they give pirates a break. If the full penalty crushes this guy into a sublevel of hobbo that he'll never recover from, so be it. He knew what he was doing. They should lock him away in a deep dark hole for the rest of eternity (or, if yer a darwinist like me, shoot him).

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