Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 26th Apr 2010 23:11 UTC, submitted by UglyKidBill
Legal Well, this is unexpected. The iPhone 4G saga just got a whole lot crazier - dare I say it, a whole lot more ridiculous. Have you ever reported anything like a phone or something similarly small stolen to the police? What was their reaction? Did you ever get the device back? Did they send an army of officers to get your device back? No? Odd. They raided Jason Chen's house, and took four computers and two servers. Update: And thus our true colours reveal. "The raid that San Mateo area cops conducted last week on the house of Gizmodo editor Jason Chen came at the behest of a special multi-agency task force that was commissioned to work with the computer industry to tackle high-tech crimes. And Apple Inc. sits on the task force's steering committee." Update II: According to TechCrunch, the investigation has been put on hold while the DA ponders Gizmodo's shield defence. Update III: Some legal insight from a constitutional law and first amendment expert and a law professor. The gist? The DA has said no one has been charged with anything here, making this just an investigation - however, this makes the search and seizing of material worse. "If the police are literally just gathering information, with no suspect targeted yet, then a subpoena against a journalist would have probably been smarter than a search warranted that resulted in the front door of Chen's home being bashed in."
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RE[2]: Comment by clhodapp
by clhodapp on Tue 27th Apr 2010 16:42 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by clhodapp"
Member since:

They obviously knew that it came from Apple (even Gizmodo admits that it was absolutely clear once they opened the case... and it was incontrovertible once Apple contacted them). If they can be believed, their source made significant effort to notify Apple about the device and they both called and emailed Gray Powell (whom their source said was the owner of the phone) asking about returning the phone shortly after they posted the story to their web site. I would say that this qualifies as a reasonable effort to return it. It's not like the person who finds your lost stuff has to bend over backwards to get it back to you. They just have to make a reasonable effort. My only concern is that it doesn't seem like it should have taken them the week that they claim it did to determine concretely that the phone came from Apple. Since they would have wanted to publish such a hot story as quickly as possible, what would have caused them to hold onto it for so long?

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RE[3]: Comment by clhodapp
by nt_jerkface on Tue 27th Apr 2010 17:25 in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by clhodapp"
nt_jerkface Member since:

They knew it was a company prototype.

Did they try returning it to the company? No.

Stating that you tried contacting some employee is a poor defense when you paid $5000 for a prototype that you knew the company would want back.

This was just incredibly stupid of them to do. They're 30 minutes away from Apple and they buy an internal prototype for $5000 from some random guy and then publicly blog about it. Just freaking stupid.

The DA will also be able to show that they profited from the purchase through increased ad revenue. Profit through the purchase of stolen goods. He's going to need a good attorney.

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RE[4]: Comment by clhodapp
by clhodapp on Tue 27th Apr 2010 18:00 in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by clhodapp"
clhodapp Member since:

Well... They didn't just try to contact him. They have an abridged phone transcript on their website in which Powell acknowledges their email and states that Apple as a company is aware of the situation. Also at what point did we establish this prototype as "stolen"? Everyone seems to be assuming that, but it certainly seems to have been lost. I don't see what the problem is if lost goods change hands so long as the new party is willing to relinquish them to the actual owner upon request. That is really the core issue here though: if it was in some way stolen and they are privy to this fact, Gawker and/or some of its employees are guilty of a fairly serious crime. If not, then they are only guilty of a minor civil infraction in taking the phone apart. Mixing in emotions related to the fact that Gawker won through Apple's mistake (as many seem to be doing) just muddles the real issue: people shouldn't be legally punished just for being slimy gits (to use a British term that I have always enjoyed). If they were, Apple themselves would have been out of business several years ago.

Edited 2010-04-27 18:02 UTC

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