Sports Law Blog
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Monday, May 10, 2004

More on Price and SI: The US District Court judge in the Mike Price case has allowed Sports Illustrated to appeal his decision ordering the magazine to reveal its sources. Price has sued the publication for defamation stemming from his dismissal as the Alabama football coach. In December, the judge ruled that an Alabama law protecting newspaper, television and radio reporters from being forced to reveal their sources does not extend to reporters for magazines. The judge asked the Alabama Supreme Court to rule on clarify this issue of state law, but it declined to do so. The judge then cleared the way for the federal court of appeals to rule on the matter.

You can read my analysis of this legal issue in this earlier post. Here is an excerpt:

    Legally, can a law distinguish between different types of publications? The answer seems to be yes, as Playboy does not have the same privileges regarding sources as does the Washington Post. However, where should this line be drawn? The judge in this case seems to be distinguishing between “primary” and “secondary” news sources, but this difference is not always so easy to see. Should Newsweek receive less protection? Should Variety receive more? And where do Internet publications fit into this picture?

The case should be decided by next fall, and an appeal to the Supreme Court is possible.


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