Hot on the heels of the article I posted last week regarding Apple's push to get several weblogs to identify "unnamed sources" that had leaked confidential product information comes the decision to the court case.
Apple was taking the weblog authors to court to force them to identify their sources, claiming that the weblogs were not protected by the First Amendment rights to freedom of the Press, as weblogs were not legitimate members of the Press.
Well it seems that the judge in the case, while not perhaps directly agreeing with that statement, has decided that the incident falls into the Trade Secret basket and that the website owners must divulge their sources.
Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge James Kleinberg ruled that no one has the right to publish information that could have been provided only by someone breaking the law.
"The rumor and opinion mills may continue to run at full speed," Kleinberg wrote. "What underlies this decision is the publishing of information that at this early stage of the litigation fits squarely within the definition of trade secret.
Weblogs are treated as Press when it comes to matters of defamation, so why should they suddenly be treated differently when it comes to protecting sources? It's a disappointing result, and while all journalists and press outlets should be held accountable for their information and reporting, to single out a particular facet of an emerging information platform is less than desirable.
Apple 1, Indie Journalists 0 - Wired News