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Apple Can't Strongarm Bloggers

PRESS RELEASE
January 10, 2005

EFF Defends Rights of Reporters Who Published Asteroid News Stories on Blogs

Santa Clara, CA - Only weeks before Macworld, the nation's biggest annual trade show devoted to Apple products, Apple sent legal threats to the publishers of the Mac-centric weblogs AppleInsider and PowerPage for posting information about a product code-named "Asteroid." Apple-watchers believe this product will be announced at Macworld. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is representing the publishers to protect their right to keep confidential the identities of the people who supplied them with the information.

On December 13, Apple filed suit against "Does 1-20" in a Santa Clara court. The company obtained a court order that allows it to issue subpoenas to AppleInsider and PowerPage for the names of the "Does" who allegedly leaked the information in question. EFF is defending the publishers against these subpoenas, arguing that the anonymity of bloggers' sources is protected by the same laws that protect sources providing information to journalists.

"Bloggers break the news, just like journalists do. They must be able to promise confidentiality in order to maintain the free flow of information," said EFF Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl. "Without legal protection, informants will refuse to talk to reporters, diminishing the power of the open press that is the cornerstone of a free society."

"I am very disappointed by Apple's behavior and its new policy of issuing legal threats to its best customers," added Jason O'Grady, publisher of PowerPage. "Is corporate paranoia really more important than the First Amendment?"

Contacts:

Kurt Opsahl
Staff Attorney
Electronic Frontier Foundation
kurt@eff.org

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