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Pirate our software, lose your job

Think Secret reports Apple retail store employees have been axed for illegally acquiring developer builds of Apple’s unreleased Mac OS X Leopard operating system. Mac OS X Leopard was given out to developers at Apple’s WWDC event earlier this month and leaked out to the public.

previously reported on leaked screen shots of Mac OS X Leopard earlier today too. The Apple retail store employers obtained a leaked copy and were overhead discussing the matter with other employees. The discussion was overheard and Apple corporate investigated the matter after word had reached Apple’s office in Cupertino, CA.

The employees were immediately fired after admitting to obtaining the illegal software. Obtaining illegal copies of Apple software is a clear violation of Apple’s terms of service, or TOS, for retail store employees. Furthermore, the Apple employees had also signed a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) about upcoming software, which resulted in a second infraction.

The dismissed employees, when questioned, responded with "All of us know that we violated our NDA and ethics policy. Therefore, because we had the character to tell the truth and to face the consequences of our actions, we were terminated," said one of the fired employees, who spoke with Think Secret on condition of anonymity. "My only question is, if we all lied and denied it would we still be working at Apple today? Even more so, is that the kind of person that Apple wants working for them?"

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Flawed logic
By AppaYipYip on 8/22/2006 8:24:24 PM , Rating: 1
Funny how the fired employee tries to justify his actions. No, Apple obviously does not want you working for them since you STOLE from the company and violated their policies.

I am happy to see Apple has the guts to take out the garbage.

RE: Flawed logic
By xsilver on 8/22/2006 9:25:02 PM , Rating: 2
These were retail employee's, its not like they had anything to do with the creation of the software.... they were probably just curious onlookers like the rest of us.

One point of view could be that they downloaded it to verify its authenticity, so they could report it to apple and shut the source down.
wishful thinking?

RE: Flawed logic
By plonk420 on 8/23/2006 6:17:57 AM , Rating: 2
i'm thinking Apple cut some kind of deal that they wouldn't sue the crap out of the (ex)employees and/or ruin their futures if the they released a press statement giving a glowing image of the almighty company they worked for.

or maybe i'm just cynical :)

RE: Flawed logic
By RyanM on 8/22/2006 11:19:03 PM , Rating: 2
You are the one with the flawed logic. They could not have
"STOLE from the company" because Leopard is not available for sale yet, so they merely obtained something which they did not exist for sale. They also didn't prevent someone else from getting a legitimate copy, because as we all know, downloading something is not the equivilant of grabbing an item off the shelves or out of someone's home and taking it.

These were enthusiast employees who probably wanted to get a first look at what they were going to be selling and working on in the near future, and Apple punishes them for that enthusiasm?

What's sad is that these Appleheads are so devout that they don't even feel betrayed.

RE: Flawed logic
By Lonyo on 8/22/2006 11:24:34 PM , Rating: 1
Umm, whether it's for sale or not doesn't affect whether it was stolen or not...
It's copyright theft, just the same as downloading anything would be.
Theft: The act or an instance of stealing; larceny.

RE: Flawed logic
By RyanM on 8/23/2006 1:34:16 AM , Rating: 3
First of all, a copyright cannot be stolen. It can be infringed upon, but not stolen.

Look up "steal" in the dictionary.

"To take (the property of another) without right or permission."

Data itself is not property. It is 1's and 0's, and copying these 1's and 0's does not deprive the original owner of its 1's and 0's.

RE: Flawed logic
By hondaman on 8/23/06, Rating: 0
RE: Flawed logic
By RyanM on 8/23/2006 3:34:37 AM , Rating: 2
Unless the physical disk upon which the 1's and 0's reside is stolen, no. Copy is never stealing. It is an entirely separate term which would be considered "Intellectual property infringement."

My argument is that any IP infringment which is non-commercial in nature and does not directly threaten sales or cause harm to the IP owner is not ethically wrong.

Downloading an OS which is currently unavailable for sale for trial purposes is hunky dory in my book. They couldn't have bought the product, so it didn't effect sales, and having sales reps who are knowledgeable about the upcoming product could only AID Apple.

RE: Flawed logic
By rushfan2006 on 8/23/06, Rating: 0
RE: Flawed logic
By ProfJohn on 8/22/2006 11:29:02 PM , Rating: 2
They did "steal" from the company by taking an item that they have no right to have.
The only people who have the right to have the software are the people Apple gave it too. Every other copy is an illegal copy.

Sad to lose a job over something stupid like this.

RE: Flawed logic
By Souka on 8/23/2006 12:35:22 AM , Rating: 2
How about punish the developers who let it be "stolen"...aka, they put it on a FTP site prob....

Oh wait...developers are gods.... can't punish them.


RE: Flawed logic
By melgross on 8/23/2006 1:28:00 AM , Rating: 2
You must live in a different world from real people.

RE: Flawed logic
By RyanM on 8/23/2006 3:35:59 AM , Rating: 3
Yep. In my world, copyrights last 15 years, fair use is in the Constitution, and only creators and artists, not their employers, can own the rights to any created work.

It's a far cry from the one we live in, but it's a much happier place.

RE: Flawed logic
By slunkius on 8/23/2006 7:06:37 AM , Rating: 2
so if you as an employer paid to bunch of artists to create some work, it is they who own it?...nice

RE: Flawed logic
By KashGarinn on 8/23/2006 11:38:27 AM , Rating: 2
Do you know how much sense you just made?

If you want someone to create something you can't do on your own, of course it should be they who in the end own the thing they created... they created it, not you. What they do with the creation is up to them, and the legitimacy in how you bought their work..

R2OP, I think I like you world better.. can I join?


RE: Flawed logic
By deeznuts on 8/23/2006 1:49:47 PM , Rating: 2
Do you know how much sense you didn't make? If your proposal of how the IP system should work were really true, it would stunt innovation and development big time. First of all, the system doesn't work one way or another.

It is by contract that employers get to keep IP. The IP system doesn't dictate that employers get to keep and employees (or contractors) have to divest their rights. It is a contract that the employee or contractor agreed to. If they didn't want to agree to this, they could keep walking. or use their own resources to create whatever it is. So right there your argument is shot.

But I'll keep going to show how absurd this idea is. Let's assume the system mandated the creator always gets the rights to the creation. Nobody will invest resources with an inventor/creator because they cannot get rights to the product. Why the hell should they invest then? They get no property rights, so there is no upside to the investment. How is the inventor going to get funding for his project? Loans? Secured by what? A product that the law says only he can own? See how ridiculous that is?

Some of you guys need to think this stuff through before giving your opinion.

RE: Flawed logic
By INeedCache on 8/23/2006 9:45:43 AM , Rating: 2
That's in your opinion. I think there would be more chaos in this than you think. It's always easier to speak when the proverbial shoe is not on your foot. I'm sick and tired of semantics here, if you download software illegally or break a licensing agreement, like pirating Windows, you are, for all intent and purpose, a thief. Whether you have taken physical or intellectual property doesn't matter, because either way, it was something that didn't belong to you. But I'm sure you'd have no problem if it was done to you. Right.

RE: Flawed logic
By blwest on 8/24/2006 2:08:23 PM , Rating: 2
The current system doesn't work either. It's not stealing it's copying. Does apple still have all the source code and master discs to the IP, yes. Nothing was stolen, it was copied. PERIOD. you all are idiots...good day.

RE: Flawed logic
By 1983myfirstmac on 8/23/2006 9:34:58 AM , Rating: 2
FACE It, the real CRIME would have been if the Apple Employee aided in giving a person not covered by an Apple Non Discloser Agreement.

Funny Apple NOW gets so TIGHT.

In the late 80's and Early 90's I was General Manager of an Apple Dealer in the Chicago Area. They were opening some new big Box Retailers, such as COMP USA and others. There was a Midwest Dealer Meeting in Chicago where Apple met with dealers to try to exlain thier Business Plan.

Well the Dealers gave tons of questions in the QA time. I was finally Recongnized by one of the presenters, an Apple VP of Sales.

I said, I am fully behind you doing whatever you wish. That is your business. But I do have concerns on how you administrate your policies. We were forbidden to sell to Mail order companies, or to other computer companies for Resale, yet there was a thriving Mail order business. I personally had the opportunity to sell Millions and Millions of Dollars worh of Mac, into the Russian market. I was constantly turning down opportunities, and complying to the rules.

I said Sir, I have a problem how you administrate your policy. I said a part time High School Student with a Credit card, and one Apple Lawyer, could easily adiministate these poliies of yours. I was given some mombo jumbo answer and he moved on. But later in the Socal eating and drinking part of the night, the Apple VP caught up with me and was very upset, saying I was undermining the meeting and bringing up issues that were not my concern.

I said that I am constantly loosing business to Mail Order Companies, and the these companies are driving my Price Point DOWN.

Well... ..... the NEXT day all the shit hit the fan, as a number of high level Apple people called both me and OUR Owner, asking if we still wished to remain an Apple Dealer.

Needless to say, Apple continued with such policies, and lack of inforcment, and Most of the Many Apple Dealerships are just HISTROY. Worse... over the next 10 - 15 years they lost tens of thousands of Highly Trained Sales, support, and technical people who were responcible for putting Apple in the position they were in, only to be replaced by Apple Stores loosely spotted in the Big Cities.

So.... I guess my point is.... Apple is QUICK to act TOOO Quickly, and not get down to the root problem or issue.

Had these employees distributed the software to non Apple people, or outside the Apple Developers Community, then there would have been a BIG DEAL. For personal use, slap the hand and say please dont...

Lets face it. Computer software, is a lot of smoke and mirrors , and programmers stealing ideas and code from one another. Mac came from the Xerox Star. I have worked both with and for Developers, and have known many many high level programmers. They love to reverse engineer each others code to see how things are don, and how they could take something put their own twist on it and make it better.

We in the Mac Community are in DIRE NEED of Mac Evangelist... and people pushing the MAC. With todays technical ability, Apple has a dozen ways to keep the Unreleased product out of the hands of the Non Apple Developers or those who dont belong using it.

APPLE>>>....... FIXXX YOUR OWN PROBLEM OF LEAKS FIRST.... before you pick on some poor working man... for being eager to see whats new,

Start using Dongles, or the Internet to secure usage of products.

>.... and yes my first mac was under non disclosure, in October of 1983...... so I know and respect NON Disclosures....

I've heard of Sys admins gettng fired
By hmurchison on 8/22/2006 8:32:31 PM , Rating: 3
for putting stuff like RC5 on company computers. Sure it was benign but the fact was the computer resources were being used for private affairs. That guy probably made like twice what these kids were at the Apple store. Chalk it up as a lesson learned. As the poster above stated your honesty isn't a request it's requirement. Be happy it happened now and not later in life.

RE: I've heard of Sys admins gettng fired
By cgrecu77 on 8/22/2006 8:53:40 PM , Rating: 2
if you fire a good sysadmin for that reason then that manager is an imbecile. if they use that as an excuse to fire an inept employee then i can undertand that ...

By JeffDM on 8/23/2006 12:11:14 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think a good sysadmin would run unauthorized processes like that, much less processes that consume all the remaining computing power.

By rushfan2006 on 8/23/2006 9:59:55 AM , Rating: 2
You folks are masters at making mountains out of mole hills...

Its quite simple...

Apple as a company love them or hate them (I lean more towards hate myself), has the legitimate right and in fact duty to its shareholders to look out for the best interests of the company. Interests which are determined by apple's board and execs, NOT by what you or I feel should or shouldn't be.

Firing those employees was an appropriate response and a smart business decision. Why ANY of you argue against that is to stupid to fathom any logic. I suppose though, that you have zero business experience or are just a kid who's yet to face the real world (but hey its just an Internet board so now you can post BS like you have 12 master's degrees and worked for 189 years as CEO of 15 fortune 100 companies. ;) ).

My base problem for the stupidity of folks today for apologizing for actions like this --- there is no moral or ethic fiber in this country (US) in fact in the world anymore. The current generation (which includes my age group) of about 30-sometimes and younger .....its scary to fathom that these folks are the future. Everyone makes excuses, even when valid laws are broken, people still make excuses and cry foul....simply incredibly...what happened to everyone's balls? did they all disappear alone with their spines?

Finally, if the developer(s) who leaked this were found..yes they should hang too (metaphorically speaking of course).

By Helbore on 8/23/2006 3:07:44 PM , Rating: 3
Whilst I agree entirely that Apple had every right to fire the employees, I don't agree that it was a smart business decision. Good management is not about rigidly following the rules. All disciplinary cases should be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

If these employees had been caught out distributing copies of the software or supplying information to journalists or competitors, then an immediate dismissal would have been appropriate. If they had lied about obtaining the software, then there would be good reason to fire them. However, they were overheard discussing the product with co-workers and reported. They then admitted to the allegation, instead of trying to cover their backsides. If they were acting against Apple, they would have kept schtum. The fact that they didn't suggests we were dealing with Apple fanboys who were eager to play with the latest and greatest.

Now I'm not saying they shouldn't have been disciplined for this action. They clearly broke conditions of their contracts, but summary dismissal is not the only disciplinary action that can be taken. They could have been placed on report, had their pay docked, suspended without pay, forfeited annual pay rises, bonuses or commission. There were many other options that would have punished them for the actions. As it stands, this seems more like a management knee-jerk reaction intened to make an example to other employees.

It was sure within their rights, but out of proportion for the particular incident.

By rushfan2006 on 8/24/2006 12:31:14 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks for your opinion, after all that is the part that makes forums "great" (yes its a relative -- we all get to speak our minds. My opinion though is wholly in disagreement with yours and everyone's who has the same mindset.

Like I mentioned already -- your opinion is the carebear approach. For some offenses yes you give alternative discipline -- but not for stealing company property and voiding a contract you made with the employer. Again for everyone to understand "NOT for STEALING *company* PROPERTY *AND* VOIDING the CONTRACT between you and your EMPLOYER"...I have to assume for the folks that don't grasp this that you are very young and/or have little to no real life exposure to the business world yet -- and certainly no HONEST understanding of things like contract law. And sorry guys, quoting defintions from simple dictionaries or from google searches offers little to no value at all in real legal standings to a case like this if it was brought before a court. To assume this, or your pre-stated care bear approach as several of you outlined here in various posts only shows that you are naive and/or ignorant to the real business world or perhaps you just aren't old enough to have the work/business experience yet to comprehend such things.

I'm not saying such things is your fault...just proposing reasons why you may not fully understand.

Smoke 'em if you got 'em.
By MonkeyPaw on 8/22/2006 8:24:25 PM , Rating: 2
Apple probably has a much bigger problem going after everyone else who has illegally downloaded Panther. If all they did was fire their own, I wonder if they will do anything to everyone else who has illegally acquired the software. I guess you can't fault Apple for following through on thier end.

I wonder if the employees that got canned thought they deserved better for being honest? Honesty shouldn't be rewarded, it should be expected!

RE: Smoke 'em if you got 'em.
By Quiksel on 8/22/2006 9:28:15 PM , Rating: 2
erm, better check those codenames:

Jaguar is 10.2

Panther is 10.3

Tiger is 10.4

Leopard is 10.5

/picking nits, I know, but i want to educate for those less fortunate. :)

RE: Smoke 'em if you got 'em.
By MonkeyPaw on 8/22/2006 10:04:59 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, I get all those cats confused. Damn my feeble brain.

By Kalessian on 8/22/2006 10:30:56 PM , Rating: 2
I wonder if Apple would fire a top dev for doing something similar.

RE: hah
By Souka on 8/23/2006 12:37:20 AM , Rating: 2
How do you think the retail employees got the software?

One or more developers made it available, put it in an unsecure location, etc.... Bottom line, how would a retial employee "steal" from a developer....they can't. A developer is to blame....

Oh wait...developers are gods.... can't punish them.


RE: hah
By Hare on 8/23/2006 8:22:41 AM , Rating: 2
Oh wait...developers are gods.... can't punish them.
What's your problem with developers? The reason why no developers aren't punished is because Apple has no way to find out who actually leaked a copy. There are thousands of developers that have a copy and it's pretty easy to register to Apples dev group and get a legit copy.

If they knew who leaked the copy they would take action.

Perfectly Fair IMO
By Wilco on 8/23/2006 6:14:56 AM , Rating: 2
So basically, an Employee steals from his company (You can get caught up in semantics of out-dated dictionaries, Lets call it "Taking something that doesn't belong to you"). Clearly illegal and against his contract, and thus gets fired. Everyone on Dailytech gets upset at the unfairness of it all.

Why not fire the dev? Just because it makes it available by accident does not excuse people taking it. Are you saying a burglar can use "They left the window open" as a legitimate defence? Nothing contorversial in this story IMO.

RE: Perfectly Fair IMO
By kelmon on 8/23/2006 6:32:37 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly what I'm thinking. If the employees broke the terms of their employment contract then, just as with anywhere else, that's a disciplinary offence that can lead to termination. Apple can be viewed as being harsh but within their rights. Given this I also don't see this as being much of a news story, although reading people's varying definitions of theft and property was entertaining for a few moments.

RE: Perfectly Fair IMO
By deeznuts on 8/23/2006 2:07:42 PM , Rating: 2
So basically, an Employee steals from his company (You can get caught up in semantics of out-dated dictionaries, Lets call it "Taking something that doesn't belong to you"). Clearly illegal and against his contract, and thus gets fired. Everyone on Dailytech gets upset at the unfairness of it all.

No need to get caught up in semantics, anybody who tries to say downloading stuff without permission (either by paying if a retail product, or permission because you are developer) is just someone who read someone else's justification for stealing electronic copies of something. Now they spew the same nonsense themselves.

You can ignore these idiots who say "it isn't stealing unless it is a physical product, it's only 1s and 0s, you have to steal the disc." Lol, what are they 12 years old? If that was the case then how the hell is there a crime against "Theft of Services?" Nothing tangible there stolen but still a theft nonetheless. In fact, in New York, if you sneak into a theater or concert hall you are guilty of theft. Nothing tangible stolen, they were going to show the film or go on with the concert anyway. Yet it is theft.

You guys quoting a dictionary on the definition of theft are just reading the common law definition of it before the concept of Intellectual Property was created. Go pick up a law dictionary instead of quoting a 2nd grade abridged version of Websters.

By Sharky974 on 8/23/2006 6:29:49 AM , Rating: 2

Illegal Downloaders=PC

The majority of commenters here at Dailytech dont know which side to defend, LOL. They must feel so torn.

I'm betting they go with Apple.

By Sharky974 on 8/23/2006 6:31:53 AM , Rating: 2
Now if only we could have Nvidia in the mix as an opposing interest to Apple and the RIAA, LOL.

Many Dailytech commenters heads might explode, LOL.

Interesting read
By othercents on 8/23/2006 10:37:35 AM , Rating: 2
I think I would have taken a different approach if I was Apple. This is why:

1) Firing them doesn't stop the ability to download the OS.
2) Firing them doesn't keep other employees from downloading.
3) Firing does make it clear to other employees not to get caught.

Granted a few employees might think twice about downloading the software, but most of them will do it anyways and just hide the fact they did it. When the employees where talking about the new OS was when they broke the NDA, so if they never talked about it then they would have only broken one rule.

I would rather have an employee that admits they where wrong than one that doesn't.


RE: Interesting read
By rushfan2006 on 8/24/2006 12:37:24 PM , Rating: 2
No...firing for theft of company property, PARTICULARLY the very cmpany property (IP) that is a major revenue earner for the company....AND breaking contract -- is well justification for termination. Despite what you think firing under such conditions is actually quite the normal SOP.

Your reasons are noble because your reasons basically state you want to believe in your people more and you believe everyone deserves another chance and such. Unfortunately, after you are in business for a few years you'll learn that such ideologies only get you in trouble and hurt the bottomline in the long run.

Finally if you don't enforce the "rules" of your company specifically when severe offenses like this'll lose faith from your shareholders and fellow management staff, and most certainly look weak in the public spotlight. In our personal lives we can say "we don't care how we look" --- in business....if you don't care about your won't be in business long.

Oh boy..
By DigitalFreak on 8/22/2006 10:13:50 PM , Rating: 2
The employers were immediately fired

So... Apple fired themselves? There are a couple of people working at DT that need some serious proof reading help.

Good Thing...
By feraltoad on 8/23/2006 4:09:10 AM , Rating: 2
Good thing they fired them. Shenanigans like this only escalate. Next they'd be teabagging all the Mac Books and taking dumps in Mac Pros.

By jon1003 on 8/23/2006 10:38:22 AM , Rating: 2
The Apple employees were fanbois of the product, so they wanted to know all about it and try it out. Would they have bought the final version? Probably yes. The leaked version is NOT complete. There are many more secret features not added yet, according to Jobs. They're just punishing people who are excited about the new release. Apple's really not going to suffer any loss from this, as the products not even complete, and these employees are the dedicated fanboy kind to buy it when it's released anyways.

Overhead = Overheard
By spindoc on 8/23/2006 1:03:43 PM , Rating: 1
They're trashing our rights! Hack the planet! Hack the planet!

All information is free.

Apple is stupid ~~~
By gudodayn on 8/22/06, Rating: 0
RE: Apple is stupid ~~~
By Quiksel on 8/22/06, Rating: 0
"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov
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