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Sunday, May 28, 2006

Victory for Bloggers in California Court

It's good news for bloggers:

On Friday a California Court of Appeals ruled the bloggers are entitled to the same protections as journalists in traditional media when it comes to being required to reveal confidential sources. The New York Times story (free registration required to view) quotes the decision as saying:
We decline the implicit invitation to embroil ourselves in questions of what constitutes "legitimate journalism". The shield law is intended to protect the gathering and dissemination of news, and that is what petitioners did here.
The case, Apple vs Does, involved bloggers who published articles containing confidential information about an unreleased product being developed by Apple Computer Inc. Apple went to court demanding the bloggers reveal their sources within the firm. Apple won, but Friday the appeals court overturned that decision. The bloggers were represented in their appeal by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The EFF referred to the ruling as "a free speech victory for every citizen reporter who uses the Internet to distribute news."

In addition to ruling that California's shield law as well as constitutional protections applied to the bloggers, the court also found it impermissible for Apple to subpoena the plaintiff's email from their email provider, finding that this violated federal law. Something else that can make us all breath easier.

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