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Print 32 comment(s) - last by captchaos2.. on Jul 13 at 5:49 PM

Judges say online journalists should be protected by the same laws as traditional journalists

According to reports, Apple this week decided to drop its legal battle with several online websites that leaked information about unreleased Apple products. Despite a long drawn out battle, Apple decided not to appeal a ruling by a panel of three judges that rejected Apple's arguments that the writers for the online websites were not "true journalists."

Apple went after AppleInsider, MacNN.com and PowerPage.org after information was released about a FireWire product codenamed Asteroid for its music application GarageBand. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) ended up supporting the three websites and said that Apple's actions undermined the rights of journalists and threatened the safety of those who leak information to journalists. Judge Franklin Elia was quoted saying that Apple tried to "trump the First Amendment."

In May, a court ruling denied Apple rights to have the identities of those who leaked information be revealed. The case was originally filed in a Santa Clara County court but judges wondered why Apple had not performed any investigation internally. The judges felt that Apple had not exercised enough internal investigation to justify going outside of the company. "Apple has failed to establish that it adequately pursued other possible means to identify the source of the information in question," said the judges.

EFF attorney Kurt Opsahl said that "[Apple] just can't take a shortcut through a journalist" to identify the source of information. Although Apple did not submit an appeal -- and the deadline to do so has passed -- court documents showed that Apple's own internal investigators interviewed 29 employees. No details were released on the results of the investigation.


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RE: Your assessment is hollow
By TomZ on 7/13/2006 10:11:44 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
You can agree or disagree if freedom of the press applies and outweighs everything , even when the outcome causes harm is totally up to you. I certainly disagree with you there but opinions are opinions.

Apple's assertion that they could penetrate First Amendment protection for journalists was found to be wrong by a three-judge panel. Therefore, I see this more as a fact than an opinion. You may not agree with the finding, but it doesn't change the legal validity.
quote:
Even freedom of speech is curtailed when it causes harm. How about you yelling fire in a theatre and say you have a bomb at an airport to test that theory out.

Obviously freedoms are relative, but the judges in this case determined that the impact to Apple causes less harm then establishing a precedent for penetrating First Amendment protection for journalists.


RE: Your assessment is hollow
By rrsurfer1 on 7/13/2006 10:39:22 AM , Rating: 2
Thank you TomZ.

The issue is, we are not talking about safety (as in the examples you gave). We are talking money. Money and a companies well-being should never trump first amendment rights. That is an opinion, but it's an opinion that many others share.


RE: Your assessment is hollow
By DallasTexas on 7/13/2006 10:44:00 AM , Rating: 1
All your stating is that the judges opinion (ruling) is legally binding based on their determination who/what gets hurt the most.

It does not take away from my point (which you cleverly ignored) that sweeping Apples claims under the rug as "just protect it better" is a one sided view of the problem.


RE: Your assessment is hollow
By rrsurfer1 on 7/13/2006 10:52:59 AM , Rating: 2
No, it really is not a one sided view.

Protecting it better is what they HAVE to do. Other companies have to deal with this sort of thing as well. It's not Apple who's being picked on, its Apple who tried to change the way things were done, and they were firmly told "NO" by the courts.

One duty as a company if you want to remain competitive in the global marketplace is security of IP. It is part of developing, and marketing a product. ALL companies have to deal with this.

I work for a company that develops it's own IP, and our security is quite good. Yes, it costs money, but that is a cost of doing business.

YOU are cleverly ignoring the fact that the first amendment should not be idly sidestepped so that Apple can save money on security. They should conduct there own internal investigation, and if that is not enough, they should implement security measures to prevent this sort of thing from occurring again, or tracking the perp if it does.


RE: Your assessment is hollow
By OrSin on 7/13/2006 11:08:19 AM , Rating: 2
Sorry Bu I would ahve to side with apple here even if the judes don't. I'm all for free- of speech but I think people need to be accountable for what they say and print.
I can at this piont print anything i want about any one and say a source told me and I'm protected. it Might be legal but I think its crap. I think all jorunalist should have to produce proof of what they print or if the the information is clearer a link, then be responisble for the damages it causes. I know this will never be the case, but Free Speech should not the freedom print anything. Jornalist knew the leaked inforamtion was illegal gotten and people should be allow to benefit from it. And the website did benefit from it (increase ad revenue).

Once again I know its legal but IMHO it shouldn't be.


RE: Your assessment is hollow
By DallasTexas on 7/13/2006 11:20:26 AM , Rating: 2
"..I work for a company that develops it's own IP, and our security is quite good. Yes, it costs money, but that is a cost of doing business. .."

Really? Are your company's security mechanisms that good? Even the CIA can't protect their most valuable information. Like the US government, your company is one rogue employee away from giving spilling all your secrets.

Again, it's a total disregard on your part that Apple, Intel, MS and most of the tech industry's assertion that allowing flagrant abuse of their intellectual property is a valid concern in an industry that lives and dies by this.

To your last point that I am ignoring the 1st ammendment virtues, Yes, agree with you that 1st ammendment challenges should not be idly sidestepped.

I'm certainly done with this circular argument. I give up. You win.


RE: Your assessment is hollow
By rrsurfer1 on 7/13/2006 11:28:45 AM , Rating: 2
They are good. Not infallible. But if something like this happened you would see extensive investigation, combing of employee hard disks, and certainly under-oath questioning, possibly even lie detectors. Exactly what Apple should do - not sue the journalists.


RE: Your assessment is hollow
By segagenesis on 7/13/2006 11:08:54 AM , Rating: 2
LOUD NOISES

So... posting with all bold text now means that it's right automatically?

Seriously though, chill out. It might suck pretty bad for Apple but at the same time were not going to start poking holes in the First Amendment and get on a slippery slope. Imagine if it got to the point where if you protest something the police knock on the door and makes you "disappear" for saying things people dont agree with. Try to not criticize the legal system that protects you and allows you to criticize in the first place!


RE: Your assessment is hollow
By DallasTexas on 7/13/2006 11:35:32 AM , Rating: 2
Oh goodie. Now we are arguing which is the best format for separating a quote from a response.

Good grief. The problem with forums is you don't know if you're debating a 10 year old or not. It's a best guess system.


RE: Your assessment is hollow
By segagenesis on 7/13/2006 12:31:31 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Oh goodie. Now we are arguing which is the best format for separating a quote from a response.


Yeah because you forgot about the button labelled "Quote". Last I checked it did not read "bold" and says "Quote". I mentioned it because it was amusing that you are the only person on DailyTech I've ever seen use all bold in his post and it reminded me of reading comments on Fark where people use huge letters and all bold to try and get attention when they know they are losing an argument.

quote:
Sorry Bu I would ahve to side with apple here even if the judes don't. I'm all for free- of speech but I think people need to be accountable for what they say and print.


You are not all for freedom of speech then. By your judgement sites like this who give a bad rating on reviewed hardware could then be sued by hardware manufacturers even if the product really was bad. Brilliant idea there, make sure you dont accidentally set the rest of the Bill of Rights on fire while your at it.

quote:
I can at this piont print anything i want about any one and say a source told me and I'm protected. it Might be legal but I think its crap. I think all jorunalist should have to produce proof of what they print or if the the information is clearer a link, then be responisble for the damages it causes. I know this will never be the case, but Free Speech should not the freedom print anything.


Mark Felt and the Washington Post are screaming at you right now. Like what I said above you either can have your cake and eat it too, or have none at all. You might think its "crap" or "should be illegal" but you apparently have no idea what freedom of the press has done for us in the past... I hear there is DeLorean heading back to the Soviet Union circa 1971, you might want to hope a ride.


RE: Your assessment is hollow
By akugami on 7/13/2006 11:13:46 AM , Rating: 2
Well said TomZ. The First Amendment should not be sidestepped, heck stepped upon, just so Apple can find out who leaked the information. It is Apple's job to hire trustworthy employees and it is Apple's job to prevent it from getting leaked. Web news sites, even if it's blog style like Engadget and Dailytech should be protected by the First Amendment for printing news. And this is coming from someone who likes Apple products. It's not like the news leakage was a matter of national security in which case I would say spill the beans but keep the case sealed to protect any other secrets that may come out of the investigations.


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