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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: Nice Apple
By defter on 7/13/2006 10:58:58 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
They need to protect their intellectual property.


They aren't protecting "intellectual property" here.

Imagine if AMD/Intel would do the same thing and sue Dailytech or Inquirer for leaking roadmaps?


RE: Nice Apple
By TomZ on 7/13/2006 11:05:27 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
They aren't protecting "intellectual property" here.

Not sure what you mean by that. By trying to find out the source of the leak, presumably to punish and/or fire the employee, Apple is helping to protect their trade secrets from release in the future. There is nothing unreasonable about that. The only thing that was unreasonable is Apply trying to force journalists to help them short-cut their own internal investigation to find out the sources.


RE: Nice Apple
By rrsurfer1 on 7/13/2006 11:07:59 AM , Rating: 2
I can see how you could call it "intellectual property" - but your right, it wasn't as if they posted pages and pages of engineering schematics. It was only concerning a firewire interface for GarageBand which AFAIK didn't provide any technical info.

A pro-Apple ruling here would have been a very very bad thing for Tech sites and journalism in general.


RE: Nice Apple
By TomZ on 7/13/2006 3:25:19 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I can see how you could call it "intellectual property" - but your right, it wasn't as if they posted pages and pages of engineering schematics. It was only concerning a firewire interface for GarageBand which AFAIK didn't provide any technical info.

Future product plans can be trade secrets, which is what this was.


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