The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes
Saturday, March 05, 2005
Apple: the blogger rights frontier
The Santa Clara Superior Court will supply a steer on the question of blogger's rights when Judge James Kleiberg delivers his ruling in Apple v Does next week.
Apple is claiming it's entitled to discovery from various online sites in an effort to discover the source of a leak about a planned product improvement .
The key distinctions between this case and the infamous Plame-Miller-Cooper case (February 16) are
My understanding is that some or all of the parties against whom Apple has moved for discovery are, in fact, professional journalists, scribing both for online and dead-tree publications.
If the shield law covers them all, we're no further forward. But if - because some of the parties are amateur journos, or their media don't qualify as other periodical publication[s] within the meaning of § 1070 - the courts find that the shield law doesn't cover them all, then the law on bloggers ceases to be moot.
The history of the Federal privilege since Branzburg has been don't ask, don't tell (until Patrick Fitzgerald started wielding his shillelagh) - prosecutors were sparing in demanding sources and journos ultimately caved. Now, the DC Circuit Court (pending en banc rehearing - if any - or Supreme Court decision) has put the question beyond doubt, journos are, in practical terms, probably worse off than in the previous state of uncertainty.
Similarly, a finding from the California Supreme Court that bloggers are definitely not privileged under Federal or CA law might be worse than no decision at all...
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