A judge of the Santa Clara County Superior Court has sided with Apple in the company's efforts to find out who leaked confidential information to three weblogs.
In a tentative ruling, the judge said that Apple can force the blogs to reveal the sources of stories about upcoming Apple products. Apple filed suit against the three for disclosing details about an unreleased product codenamed "Asteroid".
The ruling effectively says that bloggers don't have the same rights are journalists. Journalists are protected against having to reveal their confidential sources by previous court rulings.
Apple argues the publications violate the company's trade secrets. Freedom of speech protections don't apply here, the company's lawyers said, because blogs aren't legitimate members of the press.
Since the judge sides with Apple's view, the question remains what defines press in this age of micropublishers.
You could argue that a blogger who does 3 posts a month and has no significant revenues shouldn't be considered a journalist. But what about professional, for profit blogs like Paidcontent.org or Gizmodo.com?
The economic breakdown sounds like the most workable one here. But even then there is a great group between these two extremes. In hoping to solve one dispute, the judge has opened a Pandora's box of new legal issues.
And the little blog - whether its for profit or not - won't be able to afford the legal bills if it gets sued. So once again the big corporation can bully they way into getting their things done their way.
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