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Apple Computer Inc. reached a settlement Wednesday with a North Carolina man who leaked a copy of an unreleased operating system onto the Internet. In December, the computer maker sued Doug Steigerwald, 22, for copyright infringement and trade secret misappropriation. Apple said the North Carolina State University computer engineering graduate released a copy of “Mac OS X Tiger” on a file-swapping Web site, where people downloaded thousands of unauthorized copies. Apple doesn’t plan to ship its next-generation operating system until later this year. The company gave Steigerwald access because he was a member of Apple’s “Developer Connection” group, whose members receive advanced copies of software and must abide by strict confidentiality agreements. Neither Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple nor Steigerwald would discuss terms of the settlement. But Raleigh, N.C.-based attorney Joe Cheshire, who represents Steigerwald, said his client would pay monetary damages to Apple. As part of the settlement, Steigerwald also had to sign and distribute a repentant statement. “Although I did not mean to do any harm, I realize now that my actions were wrong and that what I did caused substantial harm to Apple, and for that I am truly sorry,” Steigerwald, who graduated in December, said in an e-mail through his attorney. “I am grateful for the chance to resolve this lawsuit and move on with my life and hope that any publicity generated by this lawsuit discourages others from making the same mistake as I did.” Apple is still suing two other people involved in the Tiger leak. The case was filed in U.S. District Court in San Jose, Calif. “We are pleased that Mr. Steigerwald has taken responsibility for his actions and that we can put this lawsuit behind us,” Apple spokesman Steve Dowling said. The settlement comes amid other high-profile court battles between Apple and people who allegedly leak or distribute the company’s trade secrets. In December, Apple sued 25 unnamed individuals, called “Does” and believed to be Apple employees, who leaked specifications about a product code-named “Asteroid” to three online journalists. Monish Bhatia, Jason O’Grady and another person who writes under the pseudonym Kasper Jade, who write for online publications Apple Insider and PowerPage, appealed a judge’s decision on Tuesday, and it’s unclear whether they’ll have to divulge their confidential sources. On Jan. 4, Apple sued a 19-year-old publisher of another Web site that revealed trade secrets about the $499 Mac mini computer. Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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