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3/31/2006
05:38 PM
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Apple To Face Online Writers' Appeal In California

Do bloggers and journalists have the right to publish trade secrets? That's one of the critical First Amendment issues in the case.

Apple Computer will head to a California court to face an appeal on behalf of bloggers and online journalists who claim their sources should be protected from subpoenas.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation and Apple are scheduled for an April 20 hearing in a California Court of Appeal, which is set to decide whether a lower court erred when it refused to protect PowerPage publisher Jason O'Grady's communications and unpublished materials.

Apple sued several unnamed individuals in Apple v. Does and issued subpoenas to PowerPage ISP Nfox to uncover materials O'Grady obtained for articles about "Asteroid." A judge decided that journalists and their sources lose constitutional protection when they publish information that a business classifies as a "trade secret." EFF filed a petition in an attempt to have that decision overturned.

Blogger, Derek Slater, wrote Thursday that the lower court's decision threatens all journalists.

"EFF petitioned to correct the trial court's manifest error and restore the previously well-settled constitutional protections for a journalist's confidential information, upon which the practice of journalism and the freedom of press depend," he wrote.

Meanwhile, Apple is tied up with a London case against a company founded by members of The Beatles.

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