We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
80,259 News Articles

Apple fails in bid to control the press

Bloggers aren't revealing trade secrets

Apple has lost in its bid to create a two-tier system of journalism through its case against Mac news websites the company attempted to characterise as 'bloggers'.

The three judges in the California appeals court rejected an earlier finding in Apple's favour, denying the company the right to prosecute the sites for publishing its trade secrets.

They also blocked Apple's attempt to unveil the true identity of those within the company who have been passing information to these sites, including forcing ISPs to hand over their clients' confidential records.

The court determined that online journalists have the same right to protect their sources that offline ones do.

In recent months, large companies have been attempting to create the notion that only journalists writing for large media organisations should be considered journalists.

In a four-page declaration, the judges declared: "The 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. Any attempt by courts to draw such a distinction would imperil a fundamental purpose of the First Amendment."

Apple has been claiming that new product information is tantamount to trade secrets, and that this information had been "misappropriated and disseminated".

The company had demanded the identities of the information leakers, arguing that they must have contravened a confidentiality agreement with the company. As such it had a right to unmask them, the company claimed.

"Today's decision is a victory for the rights of journalists, whether online or offline, and for the public at large," Kurt Opsahl, a spokesperson for online civil liberties group the EFF (Electronic Frontiers Foundation) said.

EFF lawyer Kevin Bankston added that in addition to being a free-speech victory "for every citizen reporter who uses the internet to distribute news", today's decision is a profound electronic privacy victory for everyone who uses email.

This story first appeared on Macworld.co.uk.

IDG UK Sites

Best camera phone of 2015: iPhone 6 Plus vs LG G4 vs Galaxy S6 vs One M9 vs Nexus 6

IDG UK Sites

In defence of BlackBerrys

IDG UK Sites

Why we should reserve judgement on Apple ditching Helvetica in OS X/iOS for the Apple Watch's San...

IDG UK Sites

Retina 3.3GHz iMac 27in preview: Apple cuts £400 of price of Retina iMac with new model