Feeds

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

Biographer battles subpoena in Apple ebook court showdown

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Biographer Walter Isaacson is fighting a subpoena to unlock his unpublished interviews with Steve Jobs in the Apple ebook price-fixing case.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"Mr Isaacson's counsel maintained that all unpublished material was privileged and refused to describe what materials existed and in what forn, asserting the form of information was also privileged (although Mr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Berman maintained that Isaacson's unpublished stuff wasn't confidential and he'd already played some of the tapes on TV when he was promoting his book.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. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Yes, yes, Steve Jobs. Look what I'VE done for you lately – Tim Cook
New iPhone biz baron points to Apple's (his) greatest successes
Lords take revenge on REVENGE PORN publishers
Jilted Johns and Jennies with busy fingers face two years inside
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.