A federal judge ruled that Walter Isaacson, the author of Steve Jobs' official biography, won't have to surrender his interview notes in a class-action lawsuit over an alleged e-book price-fixing conspiracy.
The decision came earlier this month after plaintiffs subpoenaed Isaacson to give up his notes to help bolster their case that the late Apple founder helped create a conspiracy with publishers to battle Amazon. Several passages in the biography seemed to address the controversy and the plaintiffs wanted more confirmation. His lawyer requested that Isaacson be given journalistic protection and not be forced to turn over his notes or other materials.
On July 20th, U.S. District Court Judge Denise Cote agreed that Isaacson did not have to turn over his source material, but did say that the plaintiff's lawyer could try to prove the source material was non-confidential.
Steven Berman, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, argued that the reporter’s privilege shouldn’t apply because Jobs didn’t ask for confidentiality and said that Jobs wasn't silent about e-books in other media interviews (notably with Walt Mossberg from AllThingsD.)
It seems to us that if Berman already has the information from other sources, then why does he need Isaacson's notes? We think because he wanted to see if Jobs said anything else not on the record, but according to Isaacson's attorney, that's not the case. In short, Berman is using Isaacson as his personal private investigator, but Isaacson does not have to comply.