Apple Loses Appeal in Trade Secret Case

In a crucial victory for both online journalists and bloggers, a California appeals court ruled Friday that Apple enthusiast site AppleInsider was entitled to the same protections as traditional journalists. The ruling overturns a previous verdict that would have put online writers at a serious disadvantage to their mainstream media counterparts.

The original ruling, handed down by California Superior Court Judge James Kleinberg in March of last year, stated that journalist protections not apply to the sites, as trade secrets were revealed in violation of state law.

"In no relevant respect do they appear to differ from a reporter or editor for a traditional business-oriented periodical who solicits or otherwise comes into possession of confidential internal information about a company," Justice Conrad Rushing wrote in the unanimous decision.

Rushing also said the court was not going to get involved in a debate over what would and would not be considered journalism. Furthermore, the law protects the newsgathering process, which the justices said AppleInsider did.

The appeals court found that the site was protected under California's shield law, as well as privacy of e-mails sent between the source and AppleInsider writers under federal law. In a statement, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which represented AppleInsider in its appeal, called the ruling a "huge win."

Apple was not returning press inquiries for comment on the case.

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