The front page of today's Chronicle reports on O'Grady v. Superior Court, ___ Cal.App.4th ___ (May 26, 2006). Significant coverage of the decision can also be found at So Cal Law Blog, Bag and Baggage, and The Volokh Conspiracy. Congratulations to the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Stanford Law School Center for Internet & Society on their victory.
Although the Court of Appeal deliberately chose not to use the terms "blog" or "bloggers" (see my post immediately below), the court's language clearly protects this site and the blogs cited above as well as the two sites in question, Apple Insider and PowerPage. A few examples:
[L]ike any newspaper or magazine, [petitioners] operated enterprises whose raison d’etre was the dissemination of a particular kind of information to an interested readership. Toward that end, they gathered information by a variety of means including the solicitation of submissions by confidential sources. In no relevant respect do they appear to differ from a reporter or editor for a traditional business-oriented periodical who solicits or otherwise comes into possession of confidential internal information about a company. (Slip op. at 38.)
[T]he open and deliberate publication on a news-oriented Web site of news gathered for that purpose by the site’s operators ... appears conceptually indistinguishable from publishing a newspaper, and we see no theoretical basis for treating it differently." (Slip op. at 39.)
[W]e can see no sustainable basis to distinguish petitioners from the reporters, editors, and publishers who provide news to the public through traditional print and broadcast media. It is established without contradiction that they gather, select, and prepare, for purposes of publication to a mass audience, information about current events of interest and concern to that audience. (Slip op. at 51)