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Friday, March 11, 2005

Shields Down

JurisPundit has the rundown and links regarding today's California Superior Court (that's the trial court level of our state judicial system) ruling on the lack of shield law protection for sites accused of disclosing Apple trade secrets. While JMoore seems disappointed the judge didn't try to draw a line between bloggers and journalists in this situation, as is pretty clear from the EFF press release it doesn't seem like such a distinction would have been necessary or appropriate here. Either the shield law applies or it doesn't, and the Court of Appeal will have the chance to weigh in on that issue. The good news is there doesn't seem to have been any treatment of online journalists as second class citizens, as John Palfrey feared might occur. At the risk of grossly oversimplifying, the issue teed up seems to be the scope of the shield law vis à vis the information in question, not the means by which it was reported.

More links and information at How Appealing [Update: and yet more later], and the So Cal Lawyer is doing his level best to encourage the blogosphere to keep a level head: "Given the narrow set of facts presented in this case, the allegations of property right violations and given that it is a trial level decision with no precedential value, bloggers should not panic. The case merely holds that Califorina courts will not and should not protect the identities of those who break the law."

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