MercuryNews.com | 04/26/2005 | Discord over Jobs biography?
Jeff Young is a good buddy and an excellent writer. He worked with me at PC Week and later at Forbes where he was a contributing editor and a contributor to the early success of Forbes.com.
I love it when a company gets vengeful and does things like boycott magazine’s with their ads (as IBM did to Fortune) or yanks books off of shelves. Apple’s decision to yank all of Wiley’s books from its stores’ shelves is just the kind of publicity publishers would kill for.
Apple is turning into a real friend of the First Amendment — not.
Update: In conversations, some friends are disputing the responsibility of a corporation to assume first amendment ownership, arguing that trade secret protection and IP rights predominate in a corporate environment. While the press, particularly the trade press, has a long tradition of ferreting out corporate information via anonymous sources inside the company, dumpter diving, and hard leg work — sometimes publishing the results under nom de plume columns such as Mack the Knife and Spencer the Katt — there have been some notable instances of corporation rattling their legal sabers at publishers for divulging trade secrets.
Whatever the legal footing I’ll wimp out and back off the first amendment argument, admitting its specious in the case of Apple allegedly yanking Wiley’s titles from its shelves in retaliation for Young’s upcoming Jobs bio. As a PR tactic, I still don’t understand why corporations play into the controversy by threatening to block the publication of negative news, insuring they will, in the act, create yet more negative news. Sort of the way publisher’s used to welcome a "Banned in Boston" designation in the days when the Watch and Ward Society would encourage the City Censor to ban objectionable books.