PowerPage wins on appeal

The PowerPage and I got a big win today in the Apple vs. Does case.
Written by Jason D. O'Grady, Contributor

The PowerPage and I got a big win today in the Apple vs. Does case.

Our petition in O'Grady, et al. v. Superior Court of Santa Clara County (Case: H028579, 6th District) was granted. From the court's 69 page opinion:

The trial court denied the motion on the ground that the publishers had involved themselves in the unlawful misappropriation of a trade secret. We hold that this was error because

(1) the subpoena to the email service provider cannot be enforced consistent with the plain terms of the federal Stored Communications Act;

(2) any subpoenas seeking unpublished information from petitioners would be unenforceable through contempt proceedings in light of the California reporter’s shield; and

(3) discovery of petitioners’ sources is also barred on this record by the conditional constitutional privilege against compulsory disclosure of confidential sources.

Accordingly, we will issue a writ of mandate directing the trial court to grant the motion for a protective order

For more information on this case, go here.
The opinion issued by the court today is a good one and very thoughtful. It's clear that the court understands that allowing this case to go through would have set a dangerous precedent for all journalists. Today's decision is a win for journalism and the Constitution of the United States.

UPDATE: More information on today's historic decision is available from the EFF

"In addition to being a free speech victory for every citizen reporter who uses the Internet to distribute news, today's decision is a profound electronic privacy victory for everyone who uses email," said EFF Staff Attorney Kevin Bankston. "The court correctly found that under federal law, civil litigants can't subpoena your stored email from your service provider."

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