Did ‘Giz’ break the law with the iPhone 4G scoop?
Gizmodo recently purchased a lost-&-found iPhone 4G prototype for $5,000, releases periodical scoops exclusive to their website, exposing the Apple engineer who lost it at a bar, and garnered more than a couple of million pageviews alone in a single day for their ’cause’. Ethics aside, has Giz broken the law?
Interestingly, while violating trade secrets laws seems like the most obvious concern, it actually does not apply.
So, in my view, neither Gizmodo nor the finder of the phone have a trade secrets case to answer. By testing the phone in public, even under a disguise, Apple lost its trade secret protection.
Rather, Technovia believes Gizmodo could potentially be found guilty of receiving stolen goods.
A year inside for Messers Denton and Chen, and a big enough set of damages to bankrupt the company may ensue. Or it may not. In fact, I think the odds are that Apple will make no attempt to get criminal charges pressed (and it’s pretty unlikely the police would pick it up otherwise), and will take no civil action against the finder of the phone.