A landmark case
The case is landmark in that it was the first in which a court heard arguments that online reporters confidential sources and unpublished materials are protected by both the reporters shield in the California constitution and the reporters privilege under the federal First Amendment. Kleinberg cited various statutesIntegral Dev. Corp. v. Weissenbach and Magnecomp Corp. v. Athene Co.saying that they "support the compelling interest of disclosure which may, in the proper civil case, outweigh First Amendment rights."But PowerPage receives some 300,000 hits per month, giving it a larger audience than most hometown newspapers, Cohn pointed out. Regardless, whether the journalists are "legitimate" or not did not pertain in the ruling. The court did not restrict the ruling to online journalists, instead deciding that all journalists could be required to reveal confidential sources when a claim of trade secret is raised. Read more here about Judge James Kleinbergs tentative ruling that three Mac rumor sites cannot seek protection under journalist shield laws. The EFF will ask the California Appellate Court to intervene, petitioning for a Writ of Mandate, which will likely be filed next week, Cohn said. In the meantime, the EFF is talking with journalist organizations in a quest for amicus briefs. Already, media outlets such as the San Jose Mercury News have published editorials decrying Apples heavy-handedness. (This link requires free registration.) It is all in keeping with Apples traditional cloak-and-dagger approach to product releases. In late 2002, for example, the company sued a contractor who had left the company after he posted information about yet-unreleased Power Macintosh G4 desktop models. Apple did not return calls requesting comment by the time this article was published. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis about Apple in the enterprise. And for insights on Macintosh coverage around the Web, check out eWEEK.com Executive Editor Matthew Rothenbergs Weblog.
According to Cohn, Apple tried to paint the journalists as "at-home journalists working in their pajamas."