The UCL Practitioner
Thursday, March 03, 2005
Apple Computer sues bloggers
Speaking of Apple Computer, the Daily Journal reports today that the computer manufacturer has sued several bloggers for allegedly revealing trade secrets about new products, and has subpoenaed several other bloggers to find out where they obtained certain information that they posted on their sites. The article reports:
Legal observers say the Apple litigation poses the first test in California of whether these operators of Web log sites - or "blogs," as they are commonly known - enjoy the same protections as reporters for traditional news organizations.
As a blogger, I can say categorically that blogging makes you a journalist, whether you want to be one or not. I have a lot of confidential sources who provide me with information that I post on my site. Sometimes, the news I report on overlaps what reporters from "real" newspapers (such as the Recorder and the Daily Journal) put in their stories. Since I started blogging in October 2003, I have faced a number of journalism-related ethics questions, and I have often wished I had studied the subject in school. I just hope the judge who is hearing Apple's case is already familiar with blogs and will be able to perceive this reality.

UPDATE: The San Jose Mercury News reports here that the judge tentatively ruled yesterday that "Apple Computer can force three online publishers to surrender the names of confidential sources who disclosed information about the company's upcoming products." The case is being argued today. (Thanks to How Appealing for the pointer.)

UPDATE: I've now heard from two three different confidential sources that during the hearing on March 4, Judge Kleinberg quoted (without attribution) some of my comments from this post. Wow.
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