Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Are Bloggers Journalists? The Courts Seem To Think So. OR Oops Did I Just Lose Apple's Lawsuit Against Think Secret?

Yesterday, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) determined that:

Bloggers would be entitled to the same exemption from the campaign finance law that newspapers and other traditional forms of media receive. A blogger can report news and state political opinion as well as any news reporter.

"There will be no second class citizens among members of the media," The FEC Chairman said

In a recent court hearing concerning my BLOG and a story I did about an eBay dropoff company back in January of this year, the Judge made an interesting reference:

Gregg Leslie, legal defense director for The Reporters Committee For Freedom Of The Press, says that asking whether bloggers are journalists is the wrong question. "Bloggers is a vague amorphous term like telephone users", he says. "Just like some telephone users are journalists and some are not; the same thing with Bloggers. The medium doesn't answer the question. It has to do more with the function that the person is performing. That's how we approached the shield law question. If the Bloggers' involvement is to report information to the public and to gather information for that purpose openly then they should be treated like a journalist.

"There should be a functional analysis in addition to or instead of the current analysis of what medium you are writing in, " Leslie said.

As the courts have confirmed what makes journalism journalism is not the format but the content," says Kurt Opsahl (attorney for the EFF). Where news is gathered for dissemination to the public, it is journalism - regardless of whether it is printed on paper or distributed through the internet"

My judgement ended with the following:

Based upon the foregoing, this court finds that the defendant's function was to provide "news reporting or news commentary" in his articles about Bidzirk. Wherefore ... the plaintiffs may not obtain injunctive relief [against Jackwhispers]. Accordingly, this court recommends that the plaintiff's motion be denied.

My conundrum is ... did I help Think Secret win against Apple? Probably not ... as what I report here on this BLOG is legally obtained unprotected information (not so with trade secrets as Think Secret reports).

I report through exposition and analysis of the news. I have broken several stories on this site and I have also maintained an alternative stance to many of the issues in a "news behind the news" sort of way.

And that's the news ... readers ... back to you!


Jack Campbell said...

Congratulatrions, Philip! Hopefully, this win at the injunction request level portends another win at the trial level.

Kepp annoying the hell out of people. You're good at it, and the world needs more burrs under the saddles many of us wear so comfortably.

FYT said...

He pretty much decided the case ... yet the opposing attorney mentions plans of appeal and continues to drag out a lengthy and involved procedural process ... at this point ... their case has pretty much been determined to have no merit - they are trying to catch me on any technical or filing detail.