Feeds

Isaacson fights outing of heart-to-heart chats with Steve Jobs

Biographer battles subpoena in Apple ebook court showdown

Boost IT visibility and business value

Biographer Walter Isaacson is fighting a subpoena to unlock his unpublished interviews with Steve Jobs in the Apple ebook price-fixing case.

When Apple moved into ebooks, it negotiated an agency model with publishers – not in itself illegal – where the publishers set the price and Apple took a 30 per cent cut.

The plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit are trying to get their hands on Isaacson's notes and tape-recorded interviews in case there's more about Jobs' ebook strategy in there that could incriminate Apple. But Isaacson is using a journalism shield law to try to stop his notes being used in court.

Isaacson's attorney, Elizabeth McNamara, argues that journalists are only supposed to have subpoenas issued on their work as a last resort and not when the case has only just started. She also said in a letter to Judge Denise Cote that the plaintiffs hadn't shown that the material was relevant or unobtainable from other sources.

McNamara also insists that Isaacson doesn't have any tape-recorded interviews of Jobs chatting about ebooks, so anything he does have would be secondhand knowledge and could therefore be construed as hearsay.

In a handwritten scribbled note on the letter, Judge Cote wrote that the plaintiffs could renew their application when they could show that there was good legal reason to get Isaacson's notes.

But the plaintiffs are not giving up. They are now applying to have an informal discovery session – in other words, trying to force Isaacson and his lawyer to at least tell them what he has in his notes.

"Mr Isaacson's counsel maintained that all unpublished material was privileged and refused to describe what materials existed and in what forn, asserting the form of information was also privileged (although Mr Isaacson stated publicly that many interviews were recorded)," the plaintiffs' lawyer Steve Berman said in a letter to the court.

Berman maintained that Isaacson's unpublished stuff wasn't confidential and he'd already played some of the tapes on TV when he was promoting his book.

"Mr Isaacson conducted numerous interviews during the time Mr Jobs was involved in negotiating Apple's entry into the eBook market. And Mr Jobs discussed Apple's eBook strategy and negotiations with Mr Isaacson," Berman said.

"Not only are these discussions highly relevant, in light of his death, Mr Jobs' contemporaneous recorded statements of Apple's strategies, motives, and discussions with industry participants are unique evidence that cannot be obtained from other sources."

The class action case was filed after the Department of Justice launched its own case against Apple and five publishers for alleged price-fixing. Three of the publishers have settled their cases but Apple, Penguin and Macmillan are fighting on. ®

The Power of One Brief: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.