Apple forced to pay after failing to gag bloggers

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Company must pay legal fees for attempted subpoena.

Apple's attempt to take several bloggers to court over alleged trade secret violations has been dealt a fatal blow after a US court ordered the company to pay the bloggers' legal fees. 

A Santa Clara county judge ordered Apple to pay US$700,000 in legal expenses and damages to AppleInsider and PowerPage. The two sites were assisted in their case by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). 

The original case involved a leak of images and data in 2004 about an experimental product codenamed 'Asteroid'. Apple filed a legal complaint against the websites and sought to force them to reveal their sources.

Initially, the courts sided with Apple, claiming that the bloggers and their information were not protected by the state law that protects journalists and their sources.

However, a state appeals court overturned the decision a year later, declaring that the information was in the public interest and that bloggers and online journalists are afforded the same protections as their print counterparts.

"We are glad that we have this money to continue to fight for digital rights, " an EFF spokesman said.

"The important thing was the victory that we won last year when the court decided that online writers should have the same protections as print writers under the California Shield Law."
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