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California court to decide Apple case in 90 days
www.chinaview.cn 2006-04-22 21:48:44

     BEIJING, April 22 (Xinhuanet) -- A three-judge panel in a California appeals court will have to decide in 90 days on a case that weighs First Amendment and privacy rights against businesses' efforts to guard their trade secrets.

     US bloggers are divided over the Apple v.Does case. Some side with their fellow Web scribes, some are also defending Apple's role in protecting its trade secrets.

     They all agree, however, that whatever the judge decides, it's likely to have broad reaching effects. For one thing, it could effect the right of journalists to protect the confidentiality of sources were companies given more legal leeway to track down supposed leaks of trade secrets.

    The Apple Inc. first filed the lawsuit in Santa Clara County Superior Court in late 2004, in its bid to track down sources that leaked confidential information about the Company's unreleased  "Asteroid" product.

    Apple's lawyers argued that the release of the information constituted theft.

    A lower court last year ruled in Apple's favor but the bloggers, represented by lawyers with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), appealed. 

    The online journalists argued that their First Amendment rights and previous court decisions allow them to protect sources. A judge sided with Apple's argument in 2004, saying those rights did not apply once trade secrets were revealed.

    EFF Attorney Kurt Opsahl argued that forcing online journalists to reveal sources would constitute censorship, violate protections in the California constitution and the U.S. Constitution, and threaten all media.

    "The judges hearing the arguments asked tough questions and seemed to understand the high stakes for free speech in this case, and we are looking forward to their decision," EFF members wrote in a blog. Enditem

    (Agencies)

Editor: Yang Li
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