Roger L. Simon

Et tu, Apple?

The Federal Election Commission is not the only entity looking to reign in bloggers these days. Apple… of all companies… is also trying to restrict us legally. A San Jose, California case instigated by Apple is significant in that it tries to separate blogs from mainstream media regarding the confidentiality sources, although many blogs are starting to make money and the destinction seems moot and largely about technology. From the San Jose Mercury News:

In a case with implications for the freedom to blog, a San Jose judge tentatively ruled Thursday that Apple Computer can force three online publishers to surrender the names of confidential sources who disclosed information about the company’s upcoming products.

Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge James Kleinberg refused to extend to the Web sites a protection that shields journalists from revealing the names of unidentified sources or turning over unpublished material.

Kleinberg offered no explanation for the preliminary ruling. He will hear arguments today from Apple’s attorneys and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a San Francisco digital rights group representing two of the three Web sites Apple subpoenaed — Apple Insider and PowerPage.

The case raises issues about whether those who write for online publications are entitled to the same constitutional protections as their counterparts in more traditional print and broadcast news organizations.

It would be ironic indeed if Apple Computers ends up leading the charge against new media. Shame on them. (hat tip: Stu)

UPDATE: Perhaps I have this one wrong. I was indeed influenced by the San Jose Mercury News’ take on this matter and am reviewing the comments below. It may be adviseable to withhold an opinion until more information is released by the court. As can be seem from this report about yesterday’s threatened “blog censorship,” some people, possiby myself included, are a little trigger happy here.

AND: In case you’ve missed Gizmodo’s take.