A judge in Santa Clara County Superior Court earlier this week issued a tentative ruling that favors Apple in a case concerning the disclosure of confidential information on Mac-oriented Web sites. A full hearing is scheduled for Friday, when the sites will be represented by lawyers from the
Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).
Earlier this week Judge James Kleinberg ruled that Apple can serve subpoenas to the publishers of O’Grady’s PowerPage and Apple Insider. Apple hopes these subpoenas will lead to the identities of individuals who allegedly provided those publications with information about an as-yet unannounced Apple product code-named “Asteroid.”
“We’re disappointed that the tentative ruling was a denial,” said Electronic Frontier Foundation attorney Kurt Opsahl. Opsahl added that the EFF plans to make its case before Judge Kleinberg today.
Apple has already subpoenaed Nfox.com, the Internet Service Provider (ISP) for O’Grady’s PowerPage. Apple had also applied for the subpoenas for O’Grady’s PowerPage and Apple Insider. The EFF
filed a protective order in February hoping to stop Apple’s subpoenas. Apple agreed to wait on serving the subpoenas until Kleinberg ruled on the order. Kleinberg’s tenative decision allows Apple’s subpoenas to proceed.
The EFF argues that reporters for online publications are covered by the same First Amendment rights and California Shield laws that protect journalists employed by print publications from having to reveal their sources and unpublished material. The EFF says this is the first case of its kind. The hearing is scheduled to take place on Friday, March 4 at 10:00 AM in the Santa Clara County Superior Court.