Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge James Kleinberg ruled in Apple’s favor on Friday and said the company could obtain records from PowerPage email provider Nfox. Lawyers for the Web site said they plan to appeal the decision.
Lawyers argued 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California Shield laws that protect journalists employed by print publications from having to reveal their sources and unpublished material.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 judge disagreed with that argument saying that “no one has the right to publish information that could have been provided only by someone breaking the law.”
“The rumor and opinion mills may continue to run at full speed,” Kleinberg wrote in the 13-page 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.”
A copy of the judge’s ruling can be
Update: 7:15 pm — Added information on the court ruling as it affects PowerPage.