updated 05:50 pm EDT, Fri May 26, 2006
Court rules against Apple
A California Court of Appeals overturned a lower court's decision and protected Mac websites and magazines from Apple's subpoenas until it showed cause. The subpoenas, which were an effort by the Cupertino-based company to uncover the person who leaked information about an unannounced product called Asteroid, were the center of much media attention, as the company tried to compel the bloggers and journalists to unveil their confidential sources. Ruling against Apple, the Court sided with the EFF, along with several other traditional publications, saying that bloggers and online journalists should be afforded the same Constitutional and state law protections as traditional journalists as well as ruled that Apple could not subpoena information from a journalist's internet service provider (ISP).
Overturning the lower court's ruling, the three judge panel unanimously said that both PowerPage editor Jason O'Grady and AppleInsider's publisher and editor-in-chief, who writes under the pseudonym of Kasper Jade, should be protected--under both the California Shield Law and the First Amendment of the Constitution--against Apple's civil supboena's which sought to discover the identity of the person who leaked information about the unannounced product. The decision also protected the PowerPage's ISP, a third-party from whom Apple sought confidential email information, under the Federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act.
"Today's decision is a victory for the rights of journalists, whether online or offline, and for the public at large," said EFF Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl, who argued the case before the appeals court last month. "The court has upheld the strong protections for the free flow of information to the press, and from the press to the public."