OLD Media Moves

Court case could threaten biz journalism sources

April 21, 2006

A lawsuit brought by Apple Computer against bloggers who posted confidential information about some of its upcoming products could have negative consequences for business journalism and how reporters deal with confidential sources inside companies, according to coverage on InternetNews.com.

Apple ComputerApple filed a lawsuit against some unnamed people in 2004. Reporter David Miller writes, “One or more of the “Does” allegedly e-mailed information about an Apple product under development to several Web publications, including AppleInsider and PowerPage.

“According to Apple’s court filings, the stories that ran on AppleInsider and PowerPage included verbatim extracts from Apple’s in-house development documentation, as well as confidential pricing projections and marketing analysis.”

If Apple wins the case, the Web sites and other publications that published the documents could be forced to disclose who gave them the information, according to the article.

Dan Gillmor, who works with the Center for Citizen Media, a joint project with Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society and the University of California at Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, said that the mainstream media haven’t paid nearly enough attention to this case.

In the article, Gillmor said, “The circuit judge essentially ducked the question of whether these folks were doing journalism. But if his ruling is upheld it will be a huge barrier to business journalism in general.”

Read more here.

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