In the preliminary ruling, issued Thursday, a Santa Clara County Superior Court judge said that the three blogging sites, which had disclosed information about Apple’s upcoming products, did not have the same legal protections that shield journalists, according to the San Jose Mercury News.
It’s a thoughtful but seriously wrong decision,” Scheer said. “Under this logic, if the Wall Street Journal ran a story about these documents, it could be prosecuted criminally. That’s an absurd result.
Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge James Kleinberg avoided the question of whether the enthusiast sites qualified for the same legal protections as traditional journalists, saying that Apple’s right to protect its secrets trumped any legal protections afforded reporters under state or federal law.
I can’t even begin to explain how absurd this seems. If this ends up coming to fruition this will be a very sad day for electronic journalism. According to this case, any blogger or amateur electronic journalist without a big corporation behind them will not be affored the same protection as say a journalist writing for the New York Times. If a print journalist has a source and writes a exclusive front page story for the New York Times they are protected from an inquiries from the company in question. If the company that the article relates to wants to know the journalist’s source they will be protected by freedom of speech (within reason) as well as the backing of a major corporation like the New York Times (for example). It would be an entirely different flow of events if any of these blogging sites were a large newspaper. Apple would not be able to push these little guys around and use intimidation to force something out of these electronic journalists that would otherwise be protected for a print journalist.
As the lawyer for the individual who runs Think Secret has repeatedly shown, there has been websites talking about a relatively cheep “headless” mac for almost 3 years now. How is it suddenly information that someone can get sued over? Just because this person happen to write about this before the release of Apple’s “super secret” (yeah right) product. Why don’t they sue the other sites from 3 years ago? This is just a ploy by Apple to create publicity surrounding there new product. It’s not about trying to protect there property rights a week before a new product is released. They weren’t actually worried about a competitor copying there product because of this leaked information. That was a BS reason to launch a publicity campaign against a die-hard Mac fan.
I guess the only choice is to watch how this mess ends and to hope for sanity to prevail.