Friday, April 28, 2006

Andrew Kantor: CyberSpeak - Focus on what's journalism, not who's a journalist - USA Today

"In late 2004, some people at Apple leaked information about a couple of the company's upcoming products to at least two websites. Since then, it's turned into a focal point for arguments about the First Amendment and what makes a journalist.

The leaked information, which was about a new audio interface for Apple's GarageBand (codename: 'Asteroid') was published on PowerPage and AppleInsider, both of which feature Apple-related news.
Apple wasn't happy about product info leaking, even if it was about a comparably minor product. It demanded to know the leakers. It sued the unknown individuals, called 'Does,' and demanded as part of the suit that the websites reveal their names.
The sites refused, so Apple took them to court. It won, at least the first round; Judge James Kleinberg of the Santa Clara County Superior Court said that the sites didn't have First Amendment protection because they published trade secrets. Apple, he ruled, could subpoena the information.
'?The United States and California Supreme Courts have underscored that trade secret laws apply to everyone regardless of their status, title or chosen profession,' he wrote.
And then the interesting part: 'The California Legislature has not carved out any exception to these statutes for journalists, bloggers or anyone else.' "

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