Ready, Fire, Aim! - Mihail's Public Blog: Blogs under attack?

Friday, March 4, 2005

Blogs under attack?

Two developments that may impact blogs in significant ways.

One, as written about yesterday in this CNET story [thanks to a post on], interviews one of the Federal Election Commissioners,  Bradley Smith, who is having to consider extending the 2002 campaign finance law to the Internet:

In just a few months, he warns, bloggers and news organizations could risk the wrath of the federal government if they improperly link to a campaign's Web site. Even forwarding a political candidate's press release to a mailing list, depending on the details, could be punished by fines.

...In 2002, the FEC exempted the Internet by a 4-2 vote, but U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly last fall overturned that decision. "The commission's exclusion of Internet communications from the coordinated communications regulation severely undermines" the campaign finance law's purposes, Kollar-Kotelly wrote.

In in another news story, Apple has won a tentative victory in its lawsuit against three blogs/sites, according to this San Jose Mercury News story:

In a case with implications for the freedom to blog, a San Jose judge tentatively ruled Thursday that Apple Computer can force three online publishers to surrender the names of confidential sources who disclosed information about the company's upcoming products.

Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge James Kleinberg refused to extend to the Web sites a protection that shields journalists from revealing the names of unidentified sources or turning over unpublished material.

...Apple sought subpoenas in December against two online news sites that focus exclusively on its products: PowerPage (www.power and Apple Insider ( The company filed a separate suit against Think Secret ( on Jan. 4.

Updated 1:10 PM. As Ross Mayfield writes in his blog on this topic, links are about relationships and these two developments put a price on those links or require that the writers reveal their sources.

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