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Illegitimate Citizen Journalism and its Discontents

Ouch! Bloggers (and the First Amendment) just lost round 1 of a legal fight about protecting confidential sources.

“In a case with implications for the freedom to blog, a San Jose judge tentatively ruled Thursday that Apple Computer can force three online publishers to surrender the names of confidential sources who disclosed information about the company’s upcoming products. … Kleinberg offered no explanation for the preliminary ruling. … In its court filings, Apple argued that neither the free speech protections of the United States Constitution nor the California Shield Law, which protects journalists from revealing their sources, applies to the Web sites. The company said such protections apply only to ‘legitimate members of the press.'”

Electronic Frontier Foundation seems to be going it alone on this case. It would be great to see some amicus-style participation from major professional associations with a long history of work in the area of intellectual freedom. That is, if such an association existed, and could make the leap that a free press–including a free citizen press–is essential to the right to read.

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