1/24/12

Illinois Shield Law: Chicago Case Rules No Protection for Blogger

Another blog fight over application of state shield law.  Expect this Illinois case of first impression to go up on appeal, after all the losing party has already announced that the fight’s not over.
 
Nevertheless, a Chicago court has set a precedent on how Illinois will apply its shield law in the case of a blog out of California, TechnoBuffalo, which has been sued by an Illinois printing company, Johns-Byrne Co., in a lawsuit asking the court to force the blogger to reveal its source for an image of a Motorola cellphone (the Droid Bionic)

John-Byrne argued that it needs the name of the blog’s source in order to seek legal remedies against what it believes to be an evildoing employee who violated John-Byrne’s legal rights by sharing the images. 

TechnoBuffalo responded by arguing the state shield law, and claiming that it was acting in the same role as a traditional media source reporting on the cellphone industry. 

What is the big deal?  TechnoBuffalo published the pix on its blog before the cellphone was actually available for sale.

Some would call that a “scoop.”

Nevertheless, the Cook County Circuit Court Judge ruled that the blog is not the same as Main Stream Media and shield laws of Illinois (and presumably California? though how the Chicago judge could rule on Cali law escapes me) and ordered the name of the blog’s confidential source to be released.

Let’s see if the appellate court agrees.
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