I link to this, because it's a good overview, because it's about bloggers and this is a blog, but mostly because the guy who wrote it shares the seats next to me at Giants games, and I'm hoping he'll see I've linked to him and he'll bring me some cool Little Man souvenirs this season:
Apple Computer has sued three bloggers -- so-called because of their authorship of online publications known as Web logs, or blogs for short -- in an attempt to uncover anonymous sources who may have illegally leaked some of Apple's internal trade secrets.
Traditional journalists confronted with similar demands to reveal sources could rely on California's Shield Law, which protects reporters from having to reveal unpublished information, which in many cases includes the name of the source. Superior Court Judge James Kleinberg issued a tentative ruling last week that the bloggers who reported about Apple don't deserve the same protection. Kleinberg's final decision is due this week....
[F]or all their gains, bloggers remain a disparate group. Many media experts embrace the notion that bloggers deserve the same First Amendment protections accorded all citizens. But they're not sure bloggers are actually journalists in every instance, entitled to special privileges under shield laws adopted in some states, including California.
"Under the First Amendment of the Constitution, I would be hard-pressed to find any distinction between bloggers and journalists," said Paul Grabowicz, director of the New Media program at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. But, he added, "There are some potentially really bad things that could come without any distinction. Principal among them is, if there is no distinction, things like shield laws that protect journalists go away, because they apply to everybody else."
That was just the case last month when the New York Times and Time Magazine said the First Amendment offered shield law protection to their reporters. Judge David Sentelle of the Washington, D.C., Circuit Court of Appeals, disagreed, however, asking, "Does the privilege also protect the proprietor of a Web log, the stereotypical 'blogger' sitting in his pajamas at his personal computer posting on the World Wide Web ... to inform whoever happens to browse his way?"