Feeds

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

Biographer battles subpoena in Apple ebook court showdown

The essential guide to IT transformation

Biographer Walter Isaacson is fighting a subpoena to unlock his unpublished interviews with Steve Jobs in the Apple ebook price-fixing case.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"Mr Isaacson's counsel maintained that all unpublished material was privileged and refused to describe what materials existed and in what forn, asserting the form of information was also privileged (although Mr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Berman maintained that Isaacson's unpublished stuff wasn't confidential and he'd already played some of the tapes on TV when he was promoting his book.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

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
BBC: We're going to slip CODING into kids' TV
Pureed-carrot-in-ice cream C++ surprise
Twitter: La la la, we have not heard of any NUDE JLaw, Upton SELFIES
If there are any on our site it is not our fault as we are not a PUBLISHER
Facebook, Google and Instagram 'worse than drugs' says Miley Cyrus
Italian boffins agree with popette's theory that haters are the real wrecking balls
Sit tight, fanbois. Apple's '$400' wearable release slips into early 2015
Sources: time to put in plenty of clock-watching for' iWatch
Facebook to let stalkers unearth buried posts with mobe search
Prepare to HAUNT your pal's back catalogue
Ex-IBM CEO John Akers dies at 79
An era disrupted by the advent of the PC
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
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.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.