Friday, May 26, 2006

Bloggers Get Some Shield, So Far

Apple loses its bid before the Sixth District Court of Appeals to force bloggers to reveal sources.

A California appeals court has smacked down Apple's legal assault on bloggers and their sources, finding that the company's efforts to subpoena e-mail received by the publishers of Apple Insider and runs contrary to federal law, California's reporter's shield law, and the state Constitution.

The Sixth District Court of Appeals on Friday roundly rejected (.pdf) Apple's argument that the bloggers weren't acting as journalists when they posted internal document about future Apple products. "We decline the implicit invitation to embroil ourselves in questions of what constitutes 'legitimate journalis(m).' The shield law is intended to protect the gathering and dissemination of news, and that is what petitioners did here," the court wrote.

"Beyond casting aspersions on the legitimacy of petitioners’ enterprise, Apple offers no cogent reason to conclude that they fall outside the shield law’s protection."

There's lots more, and if you're a blogger, you really should read the whole thing.

But don't rest easy. Be careful out there. Guard against extrapolation.

That's just legally speaking. There are whole other areas of potential imperatives to consider as well.


Added: When I say "legally speaking," I mean that as a layperson, having to think about legalities both potential and actual. Y'all are real clear that I'm not a lawyer, correct? But lawyer-readers are certainly invited to weigh in.