Apple Computer wins court battle against Macintosh rumor Web sites

Apple Computer wins court battle against Macintosh rumor Web sites

In a ruling that might affect more people than just the defendants, a California judge on Friday ruled against the three independent online reporters who leaked information about the upcoming Apple products on their website. This might lead to Apple forcing the three news sources to divulge confidential sources, which gave them the leaked information.

The court ruled that there is no legal protection for those reporters who publishes a company’s trade secrets. In addition, Apple had also sued 25 of their employees who they suspected of leaking information to these online news resources claiming that the probable leaks violated nondisclosure agreements and California’s Uniform Trade Secrets Act. They also demanded that the news sources in question should reveal their sources.

In return, the online magazines sought a protective order against the subpoenas claiming that if they revealed their sources under pressure from the tech giant, it would erode the media’s ability to report in the public’s interest. However, the judge claimed that the so-called reporters who published ‘stolen property’ were not entitled to protection by law, which applied to routine journalists to hide their sources of information.

Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge James Kleinberg said in the ruling: “What underlies this decision is the publishing of information that at this early stage of the litigation fits squarely within the definition of trade secret. The right to keep and maintain proprietary information as such is a right which the California Legislature and courts have long affirmed and which is essential to the future of technology and innovation generally.”

However, Free speech advocates and attorneys have slammed the ruling. Electronic Frontier Foundation attorney Kurt Opsahl said in a statement: “This opinion should be concerning to reporters of all stripes, especially those who report in the financial or trade press and are routinely reporting about companies and their products”. He was representing the news websites in the court case.

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