Apple loses ‘Asteroid’ appeal in California’s 6th District Court

“Applying strong First Amendment protections to bloggers and Web site operators, a San Jose-based appeals court today rejected Apple Computer’s bid for the identities of individuals who leaked confidential information on one of its new products,” Howard Mintz reports for The San Jose Mercury News. “In a 69-page ruling, the 6th District Court of Appeal broke new ground by concluding that bloggers and webmasters enjoy the same protections against divulging confidential sources as established media organizations. The decision sets up a likely challenge in the California Supreme Court.”

Full article here.

“The case began in late 2004, when Apple Insider and PowerPage published drawings, artists’ sketches, pricing and release dates for a planned product codenamed “Asteriod.” Incensed, Apple lawyers sued the anonymous sources of the information as Doe defendants, and promptly issued subpoenas to the bloggers’ ISPs seeking any e-mail pertaining to Asteroid, in a bid to unmask the leakers. That prompted the EFF to intervene. The trial judge sided with Apple, and EFF appealed. The ruling is a significant victory for journalists, and, I’d argue, the public. It’s also good for ISPs, says EFF lawyer Kurt Opsahl, because the court found that the federal Stored Communications Act protects private e-mail from civil subpoenas,” Kevin Poulsen blogs for Wired News.

Full article here.

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Related articles:
Apple questioned in ‘Asteroid’ trade secrets case – April 20, 2006
San Jose court to hear Apple ‘Asteriod’ case, weigh in on bloggers’ rights – April 17, 2006
Apple wins initial ruling in ‘Asteroid’ case, can pursue publishers’ confidential sources – March 04, 2005
Apple suspends legal action against three journalists – February 17, 2005
Stop the presses! Apple sues ThinkSecret over ‘Headless Mac,’ ‘iWork,’ and other rumors – January 05, 2005
Apple Computer sues three for posting Mac OS X ‘Tiger’ on Web – December 21, 2004
Apple sues anonymous people over leak of unreleased Apple product info on Web – December 17, 2004
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54 Comments

  1. Big whoop! Means nothing to the economics of the company. The only thing that this will do is to make them more secretive about their development (if it’s possible for them to be more secretive).

  2. This is huge for journalism….

    I don’t see how someone ‘blogging’ or even runnign a website where people are sending in emails and they are publishing them as stories could consider themselves a Jounalist who needs to protect their sources, but at the same time, does not see themselves as a Jounalist who needs to live by the journalism code of ethics – like don’t be evil.

  3. Woo Hoo!

    For once a legal judgment that leaves some of our rights intact!

    Oh wait, the other POS things that steal our rights like DMCA and Patriot Act have never made it to court. Still, even a small win is good

    MDN Mord “military” interesting

  4. Apple is unique amongst tech companies in that it uses secrecy to create marketing splash. For example, we all know about PS3 and Nintendo Wii and upcoming chipsets and Blue Ray, well in advance of the actual products coming to market.

    So Apple has a different approach wants to keep things secret. Fine. But that’s Apple’s problem, isn’t it? Not the blogger’s, not the webmaster’s, and not Think Secret’s problem. Apple’s problem. Period.

  5. No one here is complaining eggman. Where did you see anyone complain? And who’s a fsking fascist? For example: I’m an Apple shareholder and I applaud the decision. So next time have a point b4 you post.

  6. Journalism must be the only profession where the codes of conduct and standards of individual ethics permit all forms of self-serving, malicious, money-grubbing, and disrespectful behavior except plagiarism. Yes, folks, you may publish whatever you want regardless of the financial or emotional cost to innocent people, just don’t copy some other journalist’s work. Now, that would be heinous.

  7. Apple has the right to protect themselves. But I don’t think suing bloggers and attempting against free journalism is the way.

    I like Apple, I love the products, I love the innovation, but I agree with the decision. It’s a big step. Sorry, Apple, you blew this one.

    But in your favor, I’ll say, you don’t blow as many as the competition.

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