March 23, 2005 12:31 PM PST

Apple settles with Tiger leaker

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Apple Computer has reached a settlement with one of the men it sued for online distribution of its unreleased Mac OS X Tiger operating system.

Apple said on Wednesday that it has reached a settlement with 22-year-old Doug Steigerwald. It did not discuss the details of that settlement, though it does involve money being paid to Apple, according to Steigerwald. The company still has legal action pending against two other men in the case, which was filed in December in federal court in San Jose, Calif.

"While Apple will always protect its innovations, it is not our desire to send students to jail," Apple said in a statement to CNET News.com. "We are pleased that Mr. Steigerwald has taken responsibility for his actions and that we can put this lawsuit behind us."

Steigerwald is actually not a student, but a recent graduate of North Carolina State University who is currently looking for a job. Reading from a prepared statement, Steigerwald said that a criminal investigation had been launched against him as well. In the statement, Steigerwald said that the allegations made by Apple were true and apologized for his actions.

"As a member of Apple's Developer Connection program I received a pre-release version of Apple's Mac OS X 10.4 'Tiger' software, which I promised to keep confidential," he said. "Instead, I disseminated it over the Internet, and thousands of unauthorized copies of Apple's software were illegally distributed to the public."

The wording of his statement was an agreed-upon part of the settlement with Apple, according to Joe Cheshire, an attorney with Cheshire Parker in Raleigh, N.C., and Steigerwald's lawyer. As for the criminal case, Cheshire said, "We are in discussions with the U.S. attorney's office and I believe we will satisfactorily work his case out."

In the suit, Apple has been seeking an injunction to prevent further releases of its software, as well as unspecified monetary damages.

Apple has shown off Tiger but has not yet shipped the operating system, which is slated to go on sale sometime in the first half of the year. Several test versions have been available to developers on the condition that the software be kept confidential.

"Members of (the) Apple Developer Connection receive advance copies of Apple software under strict confidentiality agreements, which we take very seriously to protect our intellectual property," Apple said in a December statement.

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sounds like a fair settlement
glad to hear apple and this student were able to come to terms.

hope this thwarts other efforts to do the same.

with the advent of the internet, we have to re-adjust our values. sending out pre-release software is very much like stealing a tv, a ring or car and letting others use it.

apple has the burden of updating laws to bring us all into the future. thanks apple for not sending this kid to jail, like microsoft did with the kid that started a simple virus.
Posted by OS11 (844 comments )
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Why the sympathy?
What's with the sympathetic note from your reporter? This wasn't some kid that didn't know better. The guy is an adult and knowingly violated a license agreement. If he just had to pay a settlement and sign a letter of apology then he got off lucky. And if he has trouble finding work, well, you reap what you sow. If he had done this while working for a corporation he could have cost them a great deal of money and ruined their reputation.
Posted by Tank252ca (16 comments )
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