Apple, Bloggers Fight In Court

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A battle that could determine whether bloggers may enjoy conventional journalistic protection behind the First Amendment has a court date coming up on April 20th.

Apple, Bloggers Fight In Court
Apple, Bloggers Fight In Court

The Electronic Frontier Foundation noted the Apple v Does lawsuit heads to the courtroom on Thursday. Apple wants two fan sites, AppleInsider and PowerPage, to turnover sources that provided them with insider information on forthcoming Apple products.

Apple also wants PowerPage’s email provider, Nfox.com, to hand over email so it can track down the source that gave up Apple’s product information. Despite great consumer popularity, Apple has its detractors in the media who find the company’s attitudes towards the press at best apathetic.

The media does have what Apple claims bloggers do not have, a privilege under the Constitution to maintain the confidentiality of a source. But bloggers feel otherwise, and will face Apple in court over the issue.

A November 2004 article published at AppleInsider about a new audio interface to the GarageBand audio application. Apple considered that a theft of trade secrets.

The Mercury News reported on the coming storm, noting a vast array of high tech companies and the former dean of Stanford Law School have aligned themselves against bloggers being protected by the First Amendment.

An EFF attorney responded to that in the article:

“The First Amendment wasn’t designed to protect the organized press,” said Kurt Opsahl, a lawyer with the Electronic Frontier Foundation who is representing (PowerPage’s Jason) O’Grady in the case. “It was to protect the right of the lonely pamphleteer who put a pamphlet up on the walls. A blogger is much more akin to those lonely pamphleteers.”

A March 2005 court decision in favor of Apple discovering the source behind the leak did not address the issue of journalistic protection. The subsequent appeal hopes to receive a decision that treats the typical blogger like a journalist.

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

Apple, Bloggers Fight In Court
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