Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

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Sunday, May 28, 2006

Appeals Court Reverses Lower Courts; Holds That Bloggers Are Entitled to Benefits Of California Shield Law

A California appellate court has held that the "John Doe" bloggers in the Apple Computer case may avail themselves of the same protections as traditional journalists under the California shield law. Apple had alleged that the "John Doe" bloggers had published information about Apple's trade secrets and had attempted to serve a subpoena; the bloggers claimed a reporter's privilege under the shield law. The lower court found in favor of Apple, and the website publisher, represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, appealed. The appellate court ruled that "[t]he shield law is intended to protect the gathering and dissemination of news and that is what petitioners did here. We can think of no workable test or principle that would distinguish "legitimate" from "illegitimate" news." The court also held that Apple's attempt to subpoena information from the webpage publishers violated the Stored Communications Act. Read the court's ruling here.

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