Tentative ruling favors Apple in blog case

California judge issues a tentative ruling that would force three blogging sites to divulge their sources to Apple.

A California judge has issued a tentative ruling that Apple Computer can force three blogging sites to divulge their sources, according to reports.

In the preliminary ruling, issued Thursday, a Santa Clara County Superior Court judge said that the three blogging sites, which had disclosed information about Apple's upcoming products, did not have the same legal protections that shield journalists, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

A hearing in the case, which is scheduled for Friday, could have a significant ripple effect on all blogging sites that disclose information about companies.

Judge James Kleinberg tentatively declined to extend to the Web sites the protections of the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment and the California Shield Law, which is designed to protect journalists from having to divulge the names of sources or supply unpublished materials.

In the past four months, Apple has subpoenaed PowerPage, Apple Insider and Think Secret, seeking to discover their sources of information about a yet-to-be released product code-named Asteroid and Q97.

Apple is subpoenaing the three Web sites to ascertain the identity of those who leaked the information and is suing the "John Does" who allegedly did so for trade secrets violation.

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