The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) announced Monday it will legally represent Mac news sites AppleInsider and PowerPage in its legal battle with Apple Computer over a recent lawsuit filed by the company seeking information on who leaked facts about an un-announced audio hardware product.
EFF, a nonprofit group interested in protecting digital rights, said it would legally represent the owners of the two sites in their legal fight to "protect their right to keep confidential the identities of the people who supplied them with the information," the statement read.
"Bloggers break the news, just like journalists do. They must be able to promise confidentiality in order to maintain the free flow of information," EFF Staff Attorney Kurt Opsah told The Mac Observer. "Without legal protection, informants will refuse to talk to reporters, diminishing the power of the open press that is the cornerstone of a free society."
On December 13, Apple filed suit against "Does 1-20" in a Santa Clara County district court. The company obtained a court order that allows it to issue subpoenas to AppleInsider and PowerPage for the names of the "Does" who allegedly leaked the information in question.
Also named in the complaint was Mac site ThinkSecret, but it will not be represented by EFF, Mr. Opsah said. The complaint against ThinkSecret explains that the site printed rumors of the audio product, but in fact, ThinkSecret only linked to messages boards discussing the rumors of such a product. The message boards are not owned by ThinkSecret.
Mr. Opsah criticized Apple for the lawsuit saying, "by filing suit, Apple is tacitly admitting these rumors are true, Apple is really helping people figure which rumors are true or not. The function is counter productive. And itis certainly not a coincidence these suits were filed before Mac Expo."
An Apple spokesman was not immediately available for comment to The Mac Observer.
Mr. Opsah told TMO neither owner of PowerPage nor AppleInsider have been properly served with subpoenas by Apple, 28 days after first filing suit. "Therefore, the next move is in Appleis court," he said. "Perhaps the company is re-thinking this suit and figuring out itis not in their best interest to sue its biggest fans or harass them."
The lawsuit in question is not connected to another recent suit in which Apple sued ThinkSecret for publishing what it calls trade secrets regarding unannounced products.