Apple to Pay Bloggers' Legal Fees

Apple was ordered to pay the legal fees in a case involving two Apple enthusiast sites, seven months after a judgment in its favor was overturned, essentially giving bloggers the same protection as traditional journalists in the state of California.

The case involved Apple rumor sites AppleInsider and PowerPage.org. At issue was the disclosure on both sides of a confidential product code named "Asteroid." The device was never released, but the Cupertino company sued anyway.

In the initial case, a lower court ruled in favor of Apple, saying that the two sites had no right to disclose the information, and an "interested public" was not the same as "public interest," which would be protected speech under the law.

However, a state appeals court disagreed with that ruling in May of last year, saying that bloggers should be afforded the same protections under the Constitution and state law as traditional journalists. Apple later dropped the case.

A total of $700,000 in fees is owed to the defendants, of which $425,000 would go to the EFF, which primarily represented the two sites. The remaining funds would be split between co-counsels Richard Wiebe and Tom Moore, who also provided assistance to the defense.

The EFF says it would use the money received to continue defending the rights of bloggers and online journalists.

The figure is the actual legal cost to defend the case, plus a 2.2 times multiplier as ordered by the court. The order comes after Apple declined its right to appeal and dismissed the case, although "without prejudice," meaning it would have the opportunity to re-file if it chooses to.

One of the sites, AppleInsider, told MacNN that it was satisfied with the ruling. "Hopefully, Apple will think twice the next time it considers a campaign to bully the little guy into submission," editor Kasper Jade told the site.

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