Amending Bloggers’ Rights

Uncategorized Posted Mar 7, 2005 by metropolis

A post from my colleague Becky Ayers…

Heads up PR folk: the next time a blogger writes about your company or your client based on a leak — look out.

Today’s news (here’s the BusinessWeek article) spotlights three now famous blog sites that published confidential information about an unreleased Apple product. They may soon be required to name their confidential sources in a court of law.

At stake: whether bloggers fall under the same category as news “journalists,” who are generally afforded First Amendment protection for their sources. Apple’s position is that these particular blog sites aren’t “legitimate members of the press” thereby giving the company the right to subpoena information that may lead to employees who have violated their confidentiality agreements.

You can imagine that folks like Dan Gillmor are none too pleased with this. Yet there’s no question that blogging has become the new frontier of journalism with, in many cases, no restrictions about what gets said and what doesn’t.

That is, until now.

Apple’s subpoenas remain on hold until the judge issues a written ruling. This gives companies a window of opportunity to reiterate or revisit policies with respect to confidentiality and blogging — as a favorable ruling will open the door for companies to crack down on leaks and start a witch hunt for the folks responsible for them…