Apple Can Force Publishers To Reveal Sources

    March 7, 2005

In Apple’s Lawsuit against three publications, the judge has ruled that Apple can force the publishers to name their sources.

An E-commerce Times article asks, “whether those who write for online publications are entitled to the same constitutional protections as their counterparts in more traditional print and broadcast news organizations.”

Following are a few opinons on the matter:

“Compelled disclosure of journalists’ sources would have a devastating effect on the free flow of information,” said Kurt Opsahl, an Electronic Frontier Foundation attorney. “It’s the lifeblood of a functioning democracy. Therefore the courts have to understand the vital connection between the confidentiality of sources and the freedom of the press.”

“Under what circumstances should an online forum be forced to disclose a source behind information that they’re posting?” asks Susan Crawford, a law professor at Cardozo law school of Yeshiva University. “There is no principled distinction between a New York Times reporter and a blogger for these purposes. Both operate as news sources for wide swaths of the general public.”

“In 15 years, there may be no clear distinction between reporters on the one hand and bloggers on the other,” Jack Balkin, a professor at Yale Law School said. “It won’t just be an either-or, where you have a reporter for The Chicago Tribune on the one hand, and a guy sitting in his pajamas drinking beer on the other.”

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