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Saturday, March 12, 2005

Apple Defeats the Bloggers 

So it's official. It looks like the shield laws don't protect bloggers from having to reveal their confidential sources. I think that this is a shame, but it highlights the need to determine when a blogger is a "journalist.

There's been a lot of hemming and hawing about the blogosphere on this issue. It makes me wonder if the bloggers over at the Prospect, or Kevin at Political Animal (safely under the umbrella of the Washington Monthly and a California resident like the bloggers in the Apple case) are exceptions to this rule simply because they are affiliated with a more "traditional" publication.

In any event, the newspapers tend to make this about the blogger/"real journalist" divide, but I want to read an opinion. Having some very basic understanding of shield-law application, it's entirely possible that this case hinged on different stuff than the press in its mad rush for blogger news is letting on.

Either way, I think its clear that shield laws generally walk a fine line between protection of and protection from the press. I think sooner or later, the law is going to have to take bloggers into account as members of the press in some form or another...it's just not that time yet.

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