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Apple's Just Desserts a Big Win for Online Journalism

Mac News Network: Apple pays $700,000 for bloggers’ legal fees.

In total, Apple was ordered to pay nearly $700,000 — a small amount for a company that reported nearly $1 billion in profit in the December quarter, but a large moral victory for bloggers, journalists and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) which helped defend against Apple’s subpoenas.

“We are very pleased, as this will go a long way towards keeping EFF on the forefront of impact litigation defending the rights of online journalists and others,” EFF Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl wrote in an email. “Bloggers break the news, just like journalists do. They must be able to promise confidentiality in order to maintain the free flow of information. Without legal protection, informants will refuse to talk to reporters, diminishing the power of the open press that is the cornerstone of a free society.”

If this is accurate as reported, it’s indeed a big victory for the rights of all journalists, including the new ones on the Web.

Keep in mind that this was not about bloggers. The Web journalists who were the targets of Apple’s actions didn’t call themselves bloggers, and in fact their sites were as much like online periodicals as anything else.

I played a small role in this case. At the request of the EFF, I filed a declaration (for which I was not paid) attesting to the journalistic value of what the sites were doing. I was happy to help, because in the end this was about journalism and little else.

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