Apple Loses in Asteroid Lawsuit Ruling

Macworld reports that Judge James Klienberg of the State of California Court of Appeal 6th Appellate District has issued a ruling in the Apple lawsuit over the Asteroid leak, agreeing with defense claims that the websites were protected by the First Amendment.

The suit was filed in December 2004 against "anonymous parties" after a leak about an unannounced FireWire breakout box, but it became clear that Apple had targeted PowerPage.org as well as AppleInsider.com and ThinkSecret.com.

Powerpage.org's Jason O'Grady defended his position last month. Earlier court decisions had gone against the websites, when it was ruled that the information Apple classified as a trade secret was not covered under journalistic protection. The case also brought up the question of whether or not authors of articles at these websites should be considered journalists.

In rendering his decision Judge James Klienberg said, "we can think of no workable test or principle that would distinguish 'legitimate' from 'illegitimate' news. Any attempt by courts to draw such a distinction would imperil a fundamental purpose of the First Amendment, which is to identify the best, most important, and most valuable ideas not by any sociological or economic formula, rule of law, or process of government, but through the rough and tumble competition of the memetic marketplace."

Defense against the suit was provided by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), which made today's ruling available as a PDF.

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