Mac Web sites PowerPage and Apple Insider have filed appeals in the lawsuit over Apple's trade secrets.

The case could have "broad implications for the media", observes the Associated Press.

The appeal follows a judges decision on March 11 that reporters for three Mac Web sites should divulge the identities of confidential sources. The judge declared the journalists are not protected by the right to protect those sources.

Apple is trying to nail the identities of up to 25 employees it believes to have been leaking information to the media, specifically as regards a product called "Asteroid". The Cupertino corporation claims these individuals violated NDAs and local Trade Secret laws.

The journalists argue that allowing Apple to progress the case will damage the press. Journalists across the world agree with the position, arguing that the definition of trade secret is open to abuse, and that the effect of the judgement could be to make it impossible for the media to engage in investigative reporting.

The final effect of that could be a ghost of journalism dedicated solely to rewriting press releases and repeating corporate marketing speak. And the effects of the ruling could extend across every industry.

The appeal says the judge's initial declaration violates the First Amendment, and says Apple is obliged to use every avenue it can internally to identify the leaks before it is able to pile legal pressure on journalists.

Representing the defendants, Kurt Opsahl of the Electronic Frontier Foundation told Associated Press: "The Court of Appeal will now get the opportunity to correct a ruling that endangers all journalists."