Apple vs. OnLine Journalists: Are Bloggers Journalists?
Nicholas Ciarelli, aka Nick DePlume, a Harvard freshman sued by Apple for disclosing trade secret information about its new Mac mini computer on his website, Think Secret, has filed a motion with the Court seeking to have the case dismissed under California'as Anti-SLAPP law.
SLAPP stands for Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation.
The law is designed to protect individuals who are exercising their free speech rights from frivolous lawsuits designed to silence them.
Ciarelli argues that he has the same right as journalists to protect his sources.
Ciarelli argues that he is no different from any other journalist. He solicits tips and offers sources confidentiality in the course of news gathering. But he did not pay Apple's employees to disclose proprietary information, nor did he sell the alleged trade secrets to a competitor of the computer-maker, according to the motion.
filed similar suits against subpoenaed information from two other websites. On March 3, the Judge ruled that bloggers are not journalists and that the websites have to divulge their sources.
Here's the $64 million question: Are bloggers journalists? It depends. Think Secret reports on news and has been cited in articles about Apple by the New York Times, BusinessWeek and the Mercury News. I'd say that makes the writer a journalist.
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