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Quote of the Day - People will accept your ideas much more readily if you tell them Benjamin Franklin said it first. - David H. Comins
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Blogger As Journalist Dispute To Be Decided

Or, Was Ben Franklin The First Blogger?

Writ granted!

The Sixth District Court of Appeal wants to hear more from Apple and Jason O'Grady. On Thursday, the Court agreed to consider whether Apple Computer can subpoena records kept by the ISP for O'Grady's blog PowerPage that published / posted information about Asteroid. Apple claims the information posted was a trade secret. The 6th DCA issued an order requesting more briefing and giving the parties the opportunity to request oral argument.

That's one postcard you can expect will be sent in. Surely we'll hear both sides argue the issue shortly.

Initially, this dispute seemed ripe for bloggers to take up the banner of whether O'Grady was a journalist, a position Apple hasn't contested. (Aside here, and hat tip to fellow Law.com blogger Professor Orin Kerr, whose law review article, A Userís Guide to the Stored Communications Act, and a Legislatorís Guide to Amending It, got cited in the EFF brief.)

Apple understandably has tried to frame the issue as a violation of its trade secrets in an attempt to avoid First Amendment issues.

The EFF, on the other hand, views the issue squarely as one that involves the right of journalists to protect their sources.

Bloggers offer all types of solutions. They propose boycotting Apple (how many bloggers out there are willing to give up their Macs in support of that boycott?); sticking their head in the sand; seeing what other bloggers think; waiting and seeing; and throwing up their hands.

Some have jumped right into the fray, and filed amicus briefs. No matter what stance you take, everyone's got an opinion, but ultimately, it will be only one opinion that matters.

Mine won't be it, and it's highly likely that unless you sit here, yours won't either. But that doesn't stop us from prognosticating.

Where do you come down on the issue? Are bloggers journalists? Perhaps, but not all, which means the converse is likely true, as well: not all journalists are bloggers. I'm sorry; Logic is getting me off track, again. Let's get back to the point of this post.

There are some journalists who aren't journalists, and some newspapers tabloids that aren't journalism.

But apparently, all MSM journalists enjoy the privilege of protecting their sources. A nice, easy-to-apply, bright-line test.

The only result that would remain consistent, then, is that all bloggers are journalists. All we have to do is rely on precedent. You know - go back in time at bit. Thanks, Ben Franklin, for the reminder that one person can be writer, printer and publisher all rolled into one.

Just like a blogger.

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Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Saturday, June 04, 2005 at 17:23 Comments Closed (1) |
 
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