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Originally published Thursday, January 20, 2005 at 12:00 AM

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Student publisher sued by Apple gets legal help

A lawyer specializing in freedom of speech and the Internet said yesterday he will defend free of charge a 19-year-old publisher of a Web...

The Associated Press

BOSTON — A lawyer specializing in freedom of speech and the Internet said yesterday he will defend free of charge a 19-year-old publisher of a Web site facing a lawsuit over an article that revealed trade secrets about an Apple computer.

Nicholas Ciarelli, publisher of the site www.ThinkSecret.com and a Harvard University student, will be defended by Terry Gross, of the San Francisco-based firm Gross & Belsky.

Ciarelli said last week that he could not afford to defend a lawsuit that Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple Computer filed in Santa Clara County on Jan. 4.

Ciarelli had sought legal help from groups including the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a San Francisco-based organization that Gross has represented in the past.

The EFF declined to take Ciarelli's case. But the group and other civil-liberties organizations helped him secure representation from Gross, who said he will handle the case on a pro bono basis.

Apple sued a week after Ciarelli's Web site published an article that revealed details of the $499 Mac mini computer. Defendants include Think Secret and unnamed sources who tipped off the online publication two weeks before Apple's Jan. 11 Mac mini introduction.

Apple has said the Web site "solicited information about unreleased Apple products from these individuals."

Gross said in an interview that Ciarelli and his Web site used proper newsgathering techniques and deserve First Amendment protection. He said he plans to file a motion asking a judge to immediately dismiss the lawsuit.

Another Think Secret story on Jan. 6 correctly predicted Apple's rollout last week of a $149, 1-gigabyte flash-memory version of the company's popular iPod music player.

Orders backlogged for iPod shuffle

It could be déjà vu all over again for Apple Computer.

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Just one week after launching the tiny iPod shuffle, a lightweight and cheaper model of its market-leading digital music player, customers face a wait of two to four weeks before their order is shipped, according to the company's Web site Tuesday.

The backlog of orders comes not quite a year after the introduction of the iPod mini sparked a six-week wait when ordered online.

There is a two- to three-week wait for the $99 iPod shuffle, which holds about 120 songs, while customers face a wait of three to four weeks for the $149 model, which has double the capacity, according to the Apple Web site.

All the other iPod models are listed on Apple's Web site as available for shipping the same business day as ordered.

Apple has sold more than 10 million iPods since their introduction in October 2001, with sales in the most recent quarter more than doubling to 4.58 million from the prior period.

Reuters

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