The Register reports on Apple’s attempts to compel bloggers to reveal their sources for stories related to a future Apple product. The case is currently before a US Court of Appeals.
Under current case law, journalists have wide discretion to protect their sources. This has been challenged in recent years though, at least in the area of criminal cases, by prosecutors using the grand jury as an investigative tool in order to compel journalists to reveal their sources. This was used very successfully in the Valerie Plame investigation by the special prosecutor – though no charges have yet to be filed for the underlying offense in that case.
The case law around bloggers is not quite so clear. The Apple case is important because it will be one of the first major cases that will set the stage for what will come – or not come – in terms of legal protections for bloggers in the future.
For more information on the case and the issues at stake for bloggers, visit the EFF’s excellent summary.
Matt Craven is the former editor & publisher of The Blog Herald. Currently, Matt is the co-founder of Bryghtpath LLC, a consulting practice located in Woodbury, Minnesota. Matt's presently looking for new blogging gigs. Ping him at matt (at) bryghtpath dot com. You can follow him on Twitter.