Bloggers Buy iLawsuit

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Bloggers Buy iLawsuit

The ruling below is bad news for journalists and bloggers everywhere or just common sense? Is this the first step towards journalists losing their freedom to do their jobs effectively? An even worse scenario is one in which more people will be afraid to share important information with journalists for fear of legal action. The following came from the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Court Crushes Online Journalists' Rights

EFF Asking California Appellate Court to Intervene
Santa Clara - Today Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge James Kleinberg ruled that an online journalist's Internet service provider (ISP) can be required to reveal the identities of the reporter's confidential sources to attorneys from Apple Computer, Inc. The court rejected a request for an order to protect the confidentiality of these sources and other unpublished materials.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), along with co-counsel Thomas Moore III and Richard Wiebe, is representing the journalist, and will be asking the California Appellate Court to intervene.
"We're disappointed that the trial court ignored the Supreme Court's requirement that seeking a journalist's confidential sources be a 'last resort' in civil discovery," said EFF Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl. "Instead, the court asserts a wholesale exception to the journalist's privilege when the information is alleged to be a trade secret."

"This is a broad-brush ruling that threatens journalists of all stripes," said EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn.


This landmark case was the first in which a court heard arguments that online reporters' confidential sources and unpublished materials are protected by both the reporter's shield in the California constitution and the reporter's privilege under the federal First Amendment. But the court did not restrict its ruling to online journalists, instead deciding that all journalists could be required to reveal confidential sources when a claim of trade secret is raised.

Apple is suing several unnamed individuals, called "Does," who allegedly leaked information about an upcoming product code-named "Asteroid." Apple has subpoenaed Nfox, the ISP for PowerPage.com publisher Jason O'Grady, demanding that the ISP turn over the communications and unpublished materials O'Grady obtained while he was gathering information for his articles about "Asteroid." Apple has also been granted permission to issue subpoenas directly to EFF clients PowerPage and AppleInsider for similar information, but these have not yet been issued and were not ruled on today.
Ruling [PDF]; case summary [PDF]; more about Apple v. Does.



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