California Court Says Bloggers Have Same Protections as Traditional Journalists

Finally, I can report that secret sources have revealed to me that Ann Coulter’s penis is longer than the Dubya Dong. From EFF:

A California state appeals court ruled in favor of the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s (EFF’s) petition on behalf of three online journalists Friday, holding that the online journalists have the same right to protect the confidentiality of their sources as offline reporters do.

“Today’s decision is a victory for the rights of journalists, whether online or offline, and for the public at large,” said EFF Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl, who argued the case before the appeals court last month. “The court has upheld the strong protections for the free flow of information to the press, and from the press to the public.”

In their decision, the judges wrote: “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.”

The case began when Apple Computer sued several unnamed individuals, called “Does,” who allegedly leaked information about an upcoming product to online news sites PowerPage and AppleInsider. As part of its investigation, Apple subpoenaed Nfox — PowerPage’s email service provider — for communications and unpublished materials obtained by PowerPage publisher Jason O’Grady. A trial court upheld the subpoena.

Hats off to John Gilmore and the crew at EFF.

  1. I studied journalism in college, before the World Wide Web even existed, and many years before the first weblog. You don’t need a blog to be a journalist, but it certainly helps! (So does having a signed contract from a media outlet. Some fruitcakes out in California actually paid me to write something about Linux.)

    Ian, if FTL wants to blog, I’d be happy to help you get it set up and get all the crew blogging.

  2. Ian,

    Exactly. That’s what the founders intended. Freedom to blog, freedom to run internet talk shows. Every man a journalist? Why not? A journalist is someone who tells a story – and everyone has a story to tell.

    I dont like the idea of someone else deciding for me if I am one or not. I prefer the better standard of my listeners, readers, or absorbers of whatever I do decide that. They are the best judges.

  3. I would love to know how the courts determine a Journalist Blogger from say “Yasuko’s’s Hot Bod’ Review”….Should be an interesting debate.

    It is a great ruling.

    Cheney needs a blog, badly!

    Hugs from the land of lock-up for tattle-tale bloggers.


  4. I won’t front. The truth is I am a button-pusher. I like the idea of being a journalis, I guess – but satire is more fun. This event supports what I do though – because, not everything that you read SHOULD be true. Art, gadfly-ism, absurdism is also an essential for the mind.
    Nicely written here, and hats off to the EFF.