Relentless Pursuit of Wisdom and Liberty

The weblog companion of, dedicated to pondering, "If Patrick Henry could see us now..."

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

More on bloggers' & journalists' 1st Amendment protections

Dan Fost of the SF Chronicle has a great column today detailing the questions being pondered these days as a Superior Court Judge has issued a preliminary ruling that three bloggers will have to divulge their sources after being sued by Apple. Fost quotes industry people, bloggers, and political activists as he tries to get to the bottom of what's going to happen as a result of this preliminary ruling and the rest of the case as it proceeds to trial and beyond. This is going to be an interesting case, no doubt, and I hope the courts will be able to keep separate the question of whether or not those bloggers were trafficking in Apple's proprietary intellectual property (which, IMO, would be a punishable offense and worthy of forcing those bloggers to divulge their sources) and the question of whether or not the same protections that the media enjoys should apply to generic citizen-bloggers also. I don't think I'm alone in fervently hoping that the courts will be able to navigate the morass of public opinion and find an outcome favorable to freedom while protecting property rights (including IP). I'm working on a piece right now looking at the principle of 1st Amendment protections that are enjoyed by citizens and legislative protections enjoyed by the media ("press shield" laws), and the extent to which both brands of protections should be protected by all, rather than differentiate between average citizens and the media at large. More to come on that as I finish it.


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