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Ernest Miller Ernest Miller pursues research and writing on cyberlaw, intellectual property, and First Amendment issues. Mr. Miller attended the U.S. Naval Academy before attending Yale Law School, where he was president and co-founder of the Law and Technology Society, and founded the technology law and policy news site LawMeme. He is a fellow of the Information Society Project at Yale Law School. Ernest Miller's blog postings can also be found @

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May 24, 2005

Boston Globe Writer Takes Journalists to Task in Apple Trade Secrets Case

Posted by Ernest Miller

In the Boston Globe, Alex Beam takes his journalistic colleagues to task for not providing more support to those being sued by Apple to reveal their sources (Standing Alone Against Apple). It is a particularly fine rant:

Where are the always-vocal guardians of the First Amendment? Where is the American Civil Liberties Union? Where is the American Society of Newspaper Editors? Where, for that matter, is Harvard's Nieman Foundation? They have publicly supported the higher profile case of The New York Times's Judith Miller and Time magazine's Matt Cooper, who have been ordered to reveal the sources of their reporting on the contentious Valerie Plame case. But I found not a word about Ciarelli -- a Harvard undergraduate and a beat reporter for the Harvard Crimson -- on the Nieman Watchdog website.

Maybe it's time for the Niemans to stop playing footsie with the butchers of Beijing and start standing up to the control freaks of Cupertino. The Ciarelli case ''really hasn't come to our attention in any significant way at all," Nieman curator Robert Giles says.

And, traditional media continues to fail to understand just what freedom of the press is all about:
Goldberg [general counsel for the American Society of Newspaper Editors] points out that many experts haven't made up their minds whether an online publication like Think Secret should enjoy the same First Amendment protections extended to print and broadcast media: ''Ciarelli's not viewed as a member of the traditional media, and that makes it difficult for anybody to understand what law currently applies."
If these so-called "experts" haven't made up their minds whether untraditional online publications should get First Amendment protections, then I would hardly consider them "experts."

David Weinberger, however, thinks the article tilts the playing field by calling Ciarelli a "journalist" (Apple the Bully). He thinks Apple is wrong, but is not sure bloggers are journalists. I really don't understand this position.

Comments (1) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Blogging and Journalism


1. Seth Finkelstein on May 24, 2005 12:35 PM writes...

Just to describe, David Weinberger's professional interest is in those bloggers who are writing primarily for diary or socializing. That's his perspective, I think the idea is is being expressed a bit confusingly (I believe he means to convey "All bloggers aren't journalists, some are writing their diaries or socializing"). It's a problem of unclear terminology, like saying "freelance writers aren't (intrinsically) journalists".

But, sigh, the legal issue here IS NOT "BLOGGING"!

It's whether journalistic protection should extend to this particular article.

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