A California judge has said in a preliminary ruling that bloggers should not have the same protection afforded to journalists under US law.
A hearing was held Friday in the Santa Clara Superior Court by Judge James Kleinberg, with lawyers representing Apple and three sites: ThinkSecret, AppleInsider and PowerPage.
Kleinberg issued a preliminary ruling that upholds Apple’s subpoena against the three publishers to disclose the identities of insiders who passed along what Apple refers to as trade secrets.
In its court filings, Apple argued that blog writers are not legitimate members of the press, and therefore should not be able to shield their sources.
The ruling is a blow to blogging, which in effect means the blogosphere does not have the same right under the US Constitution to protect the identities of sources as does main stream media.
Apple, often the favoured company of many high profile bloggers, is now facing a blogger led boycott over the court action, with Rex Hammock, a “former Apple lover”, writing that “I do believe there’s a real danger to blogging in the judge’s decision in favor of Apple, which, if upheld, will force several enthusiast websites to disclose their sources on articles they published regarding unannounced Apple products.”
Forbes headlines the tale with “Is Apple the new Microsoft?“.
The company risks real damage from its bizarre pursuit of bloggers, and the goodwill held towards the company by many in the blogosphere runs the risks of evaporating over-night.