Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Who is a Journalist? Ask Apple

Thanks to the holiday weekend I'm a little behind in my reading. I tried to take in a bit more "real life" this weekend and a bit less of the online world.

In any case, a colleague sent me Charlie Cooper's piece from Friday about the most recent ruling in the Apple case. Basically, a blogger put out what Apple said were trade secrets, so Apple sued. At the heart was whether the blogger was a journalist and protected under California's shield.

The court held that yes, a blogger is, in fact, a journalist.

Last week Charlie Kravetz of NECN stopped by our offices and I had a chance to talk with him about the shield law he and others proposed for Massachusetts (I've written previously on the topic). They wrote the definition deliberately to include bloggers, but I still hold that it protects anyone who puts out information, such as PR people. Kravetz, of course, disagrees, saying that a court probably wouldn't hold that a PR firm could be considered a journalist.

But I guess that all depends on the judge and the lawyers involved.


Anonymous said...

Apple didn't sue anybody in this case.

Chuck Tanowitz said...

Many reports I read use the word "sue," but it's possible that it's not correct. Apple did, however, file complaints against several anonymous people who it alleges released proprietary information. The case was about whether the journalist should be forced to name those individuals.