July 12, 2006 | By Rebecca Jeschke

Apple Won't Appeal -- Online Journalists' Source Protection Stands

EFF confirmed today through court filings that Apple Computer will not appeal a May ruling that secured the reporter's privilege for online journalists in California. The lack of an appeal from Apple cements the decision as settled law and provides Internet news-gatherers in the state with the same right to protect the confidentiality of their sources as offline reporters have.

This case began when Apple sued several "Does," claiming they leaked upcoming product information to some online news sites, including AppleInsider and PowerPage. As part of its lawsuit, Apple subpoenaed PowerPage's email service provider for journalist Jason O'Grady's emails. The court's decision not only shot down that subpoena, but celebrates the explosion of new outlets for news by providing the online journalists with an order protecting them from additional subpoenas:

"We can think of no workable test or principle that would distinguish 'legitimate' from 'illegitimate' news. Any attempt by courts to draw such a distinction would imperil a fundamental purpose of the First Amendment, which is to identify the best, most important, and most valuable ideas not by any sociological or economic formula, rule of law, or process of government, but through the rough and tumble competition of the memetic marketplace."

With your support, EFF will work to extend this strong protection for the free flow of information to the press to other states.


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