NEW YORK – Apple Inc. has settled a lawsuit it brought against a fan site devoted to Apple products, ThinkSecret.com, but the site will also shut down as part of the agreement.
Apple had sued the site in January 2005 after it disclosed information about an upcoming bare-bones Mac computer two weeks before it was officially unveiled.
Under the terms of the settlement, which was announced Thursday on ThinkSecret.com, the identity of the people who leaked the information will not be revealed.
The site's publisher, Harvard student Nick Ciarelli, said in a statement that he was "pleased to have reached this amicable settlement, and will now be able to move forward with my college studies and broader journalistic pursuits."
Ciarelli started ThinkSecret in 1998 when he was 13.
A California judge last year denied Apple's bid to force the identification of people who had apparently leaked company information to three other Web sites, ruling that the sites were entitled to the same protections as traditional journalists under a state law that prevents the forced disclosure of confidential news sources.
Apple spokesman Steve Dowling declined to provide other details of the settlement, saying the terms were confidential. He said the company was "happy to have this behind us."
Apple has grown well beyond its original business of home computers with a number of innovations that have shaken up the music and entertainment industries, notably the hugely popular iPod, and most recently the iPhone, which also functions as a Web browser and music player.
ThinkSecret.com is a play on an Apple advertising slogan "Think Different."
Kurt Opsahl, an attorney for Electronic Frontier Foundation, said he was "very pleased" that no confidential sources were revealed as part of the agreement.
The EFF, a nonprofit organization that advocates for free speech, privacy and consumer rights online, had represented the online journalists in Apple's other case against the people who had presumably leaked information.
Opsahl said Apple was facing a "real possibility" of losing its case against ThinkSecret.com, and also having to pay the site's legal fees.
"I hope that Apple takes from this that it is neither useful nor wise to sue its fans," Opsahl said.