Building the Case to Sue Gawker Over iPhone Scoop

Are rival bloggers just jealous?

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Gizmodo could pay a steep price for exposing a prototype of Apple's iPhone. Its parent company, Gawker Media, paid $5,000 for the handset from someone who found it at a bar in California. Now a number of bloggers are building the case that Apple could sue Gawker for purchasing an allegedly stolen item. Does Gawker deserve it?

  • Looks Like Possession of Stolen Goods to Me, writes Charles Arthur at The Guardian: "If you come into possession of something, you're meant to tell the owner and give it back. You can ask for some payment for your trouble (but only the trouble). If you then sell it - ooh, things get complicated. That would be, in effect, theft: depriving the rightful owner of their property... Which also makes Gizmodo's buyer both an accessory to theft (possibly even having performed incitement to theft) and a receiver of stolen goods."
  • Yes, This Was Outrageous, writes Jeff Bercovici at Daily Finance: "I am somewhat scandalized, even outraged. Put simply, Gawker Media brazenly, publicly flouted the law. It subsidized a crime: the selling of stolen merchandise. Then it published a misleading, whitewashed account of the seller's actions meant to make it look as though he was not acting with criminal intent. It published this account in order to disguise its own culpability in the matter."
  • In the End—Not Worth It, writes Doc Searls, a Harvard fellow and widely published technology writer: "Was malice absent in Gizmodo’s case? And, even if it was, is the story worth what it cost to everybody else involved — including whatever dollar amount Gizmodo paid to its source? I submit that it wasn’t... I’m not saying that one must not sometimes make those compromises. We all often do, regardless of our professions. What makes journalism a special case is its own moral calling. How high a calling is it to expose the innards of an iPhone prototype?"
  • Denton Is Baloney, writes John Cox at Network World. He has beef with Gawker founder Nick Denton. "The first obligation for new as for old media is the truth. Denton, and his reporters, from the outset accepted only one account, that of the 'finder,' and showed toward him the same kind of credulity and toward their readers the same kind of self-serving cant for which they lambast and lampoon the old media."
  • Are You Kidding Me? Gizmodo's Rivals Are Just Jealous, writes The Inquirer Friction blog: "People who moan about that sort of thing are usually the types of people who can dismiss an accurate news story because of a typo or a split infinitive in the 24th paragraph. In tabloid journalism it is common practice to 'do a spoiler' on an article that is written by a rival, but some of these comments in the US press go beyond simple jealousy."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.