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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: Legal stupidity
By TomZ on 7/13/2006 1:57:50 PM , Rating: 2
The answer to your question lies in history and human nature. In essence, if the government were able to get journalists to always give up their sources, then the government would likely seek to silence sources by abusing the legal system. The net effect of this type of repression would be more control of the press by the government, which is contrary to the principle that one of the most important roles of the press is to inform citizens about the actions of the government.

You can substitute "corporation" for "government" in the above - the situation is pretty much the same.


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