Lost iPhone and found rights?

Lots of talk going on about the increasingly interesting lost iPhone that Gizmodo found.

A quick background, Gizmodo – a tech blog – paid $5000 for a prototype iPhone that someone found in a bar. It was a big deal for nerds who wanted to see the next iPhone (front facing camera, bigger battery, etc).

The problem is that Gizmodo might have committed a crime by buying property it knew wasn’t being sold by the owner. I’m not big on this area of the law, but that isn’t the part I want to focus on anyway.

The other interesting part of this story is that the Police have raided one of the blogger’s houses to find evidence suggesting he knew it was “stolen” property. The twist is that the blogger might try to argue a defense under a safe habor law the “California Shield Law” designed to protect journalists from giving up their sources for stories.

The reason this peaked my interest is that if he is allowed to use that argument, it would create a precedent that bloggers are legitimate journalists! Yes! Something I can add to the resume! (joke – or am I?) That would open up another batch of issues – what would constitute a journalistic blog? Would this count? Would my sister’s tumblr? Your facebook page?

Either way, lots of fun legal precedent could be decided – all because some drunk employee left an iPhone in a bar!

If this interests you, you can check out a more in depth write up over at Mashable.

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2 thoughts on “Lost iPhone and found rights?”

  1. steve jobs is a meglomaniacal bully

    http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2010/04/26/police-raid-gizmodo-editors-home/?section=money_topstories&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+rss%2Fmoney_topstories+%28Top+Stories%29&utm_content=Google+Reader

    they broke into and seized all of this guys stuff.

    In my eyes bloggers (some) are journalists. It is the new form of journalism. What is really the qualification for the term journalist? Someone who writes things that other people read? Is anyone going to deny that bloggers do that? Hell Perez Hilton probably has more people read his “journalism” than some columnists in the the NYT, Wash Post, or the Journal. If we are then to determine the term journalist by how followed they are (some type of follower threshold) we must be prepared to exclude Susie Q who write for her small town high school paper and exposes the principal misusing funds. You’re right in that it is some interesting legal precedent.

    For me this is apple calling in the dogs on this guy. The responsibility ultimately lies with apple. When you issue phones to employees youre shouldering a certain amount of risk. Youre drunk employee left it at a bar. Thats an in-house problem. Do you know how many lost/stolen phones are sold on ebay everyday? Hundreds. Know how easy it would be? Search for phones and “BAD ESN” in the description. Every one of those phones was reported as lost or stolen, hence the bad ESN. The point is that apple used its clout to have these guys break into this guys house and take his stuff (including a box of his business cards?). They did it to clean up their own mess.

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