Apple's attempt to suppress the Mac rumour sites faces stiff opposition.
Lawyers from US civil liberties group the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) yesterday asked the California Superior court for an order to suspend Apple's subpoenas against Apple Insider and O'Grady's PowerPage.
EFF argues that such subpoenas should not be permitted because "Internet journalists deserve the full protection of the First Amendment" that print journalists have. They should also be permitted to protect their sources, the EFF said.
The belief is that when the US Constitution was written the authors intended to afford such protection to pamphlet writers - individuals publishing their own beliefs - and that online journalists, even independent ones - should share that protection.
The activity follows Apple's decision to sue the two sites over revelations pertaining to a music break-out box, purportedly called 'Asteroid'.
Apple also chases ISPs
In its attempt to control what the public knows, Apple is making another big move: the company is demanding that the site's ISPs hand over communications that relate to the leak.
EFF lawyer Kurt Opsahl told the BBC: ""Rather than confronting the issue of reporter's privilege head-on, Apple is going to the journalist's ISPs for his emails. This undermines a fundamental First Amendment right that protects all reporters," he said.
"As well as looking at how far corporations can go in preventing information from being published, the case will also examine whether online journalists have the same privileges and protections as those writing for newspapers and magazines," the BBC explained.
The issue is raising deep feelings. A related case, involving Think Secret's Nicholas Ciarelli has generated an online petition, asking Apple to drop its actions. This petition has so far attracted 5,122 signatures.