First Amendment Applies to Internet

0 comments

Good news for bloggers worldwide:

A California appeals court ruled Friday that online reporters are protected by the same confidentiality laws that protect traditional journalists, striking a blow to efforts by Apple Computer to identify people who leaked confidential company data.

California essentially treats bloggers as members of the media:

"We decline the implicit invitation to embroil ourselves in questions of what constitutes 'legitimate journalis[m].' 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, which is to identify the best, most important, and most valuable ideas not by any sociological or economic formula, rule of law, or process of government, but through the rough and tumble competition of the memetic marketplace."

Obviously tons of bloggers are blogging about this. The most interesting posts were probably by Doc Searls, Dave Winer and Eugene Volokh.

The 96 page PDF of the court's ruling is online here.