Sunday, May 28, 2006

Apple Computers and the Court Definition of "Post"

This is a fun case in the study of courts relying on dictionaries (rather than legal precedent) to decide cases.
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O'Grady v. Superior Court, 2006 WL 1452685 (Cal. App. 6 Dist. May 26, 2006), is about an online magazine that posted material about Apple computers, software, etc. The case comes out of Apple’s claim that a publisher wrote about a secret, planned product that hadn’t been released yet. The holding turned in part on the definition of "post," as in "post it online."

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In the world of digital communications, to "post" is "[t]o send (a message or data) to a mailing list, newsgroup, or other online forum on which it will be displayed; to display or make available online." (a footnote cites to the Oxford English Dictionary, www.dictionary.oed.com, as authority)
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The court goes on to use the Oxford English Dictionary (online version, no less) to settle the definition of "magazine," "e-zine," and "periodical."