Law Religion Culture Review

Exploring the intersections of law, religion and culture. Copyright by Richard J. Radcliffe. All rights reserved.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Bloggers as Journalists?

A couple of excellent Irvine, California (OC) lawyers I know, Jeffrey Lewis and Benjamin Pugh, have filed this week a "friend of the court" (amicus) brief with a California appellate court.

The brief asserts the right of bloggers to be treated the same as journalists with respect to the right to protect confidential sources. Read the brief here.

In the underlying case, Apple sued unnamed individuals who are accused of leaking information regarding Apple’s new products to several news websites. The lawsuit involves the competing interests of the First Amendment guarantees of a free press on the one hand, and Apple’s rights to protect the unlawful dissemination of its trade secrets on the other.

Apple sought the identity of the source of the leaked information by serving a subpoena to the Internet service provider for one of the news websites, among other things. The publishers of the news websites have asked the Superior Court to block Apple’s discovery to protect the publishers’ confidential sources.

When the Superior Court denied that request, the publishers filed a petition with the Court of Appeal.

The "friend of the court" brief, on behalf of the Bear Flag League (an association of 80 California bloggers), urges the appellate court to afford these website publishers and all bloggers the same privileges and protections from discovery that traditional journalists enjoy under the United States and California Constitutions.

(HT: The Southern California Law Blog.)