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O'Grady v. Superior Court

44 Cal. Rptr. 3d 72, 139 Cal. App. 4th 1423 (2006)

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O'Grady v. Superior Court

California Court of Appeal

44 Cal. Rptr. 3d 72, 139 Cal. App. 4th 1423 (2006)

Facts

Jason O’Grady and Kasper Jade (collectively, the website publishers) (defendants) operated separate popular online news magazines that regularly reported on Apple Computer, Inc. (Apple) (plaintiff) products and accessories. The websites published articles about an unannounced new Apple product, Asteroid, that included drawn renderings and the expected price and release date. Identical copies of Apple’s internal documents on the Asteroid were published on the websites. Apple filed a lawsuit in California state court in response to the leak and received permission to civilly subpoena the website publishers. The trial court denied a motion filed by the website publishers seeking a protective order because it found that the website publishers had engaged in the unlawful misappropriation of a trade secret. The website publishers appealed, arguing that they were protected under the California reporter’s shield law, which was extended to apply to reporters for periodical publications in 1974. Apple argued that the website publishers were not protected under the shield law, because they were not engaged in legitimate journalistic activities when they gathered the information and were not among the groups of people protected by the statute.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Rushing, J.)

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