Apple VS Bloggers As JournalistsApr 26th, 2010 | By James Lewin | Category: Citizen Media, iPhone
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably know about Gizmodo‘s stolen-phone scoop on the 4th generation Apple iPhone.
Gizmodo paid an unnamed source $5,000 for the stolen phone, and, in exchange, got the biggest Apple scoop in many years.
They found that the new Apple iPhone features:
- Front-facing video chat camera
- Improved regular back-camera (the lens is quite noticeably larger than the iPhone 3GS)
- Camera flash
- Micro-SIM instead of standard SIM (like the iPad)
- An improved display.
- Split buttons for volume
- Power, mute, and volume buttons are all metallic
- Larger battery
It’s a huge story for Gizmodo – but a bigger story, for people involved in new media – is the aftermath.
Apple VS Bloggers As Journalists
California’s Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team entered editor Jason Chen’s house Friday and seized his computers. The People of the State of California authorized a search warrant and seizure of Chen’s computer systems, on the grounds that the computers were evidence in a felony crime.
4 computers and two servers were seized from Chen’s house.
Gawker Media, publisher of Gizmodo, has formally protested the search of Chen’s house and the seizure of Chen’s equipment, on the grounds that Chen is a journalist and journalists are legally protected in California:
A publisher, editor, reporter, or other person connected with or employed upon a newspaper, magazine, or other periodical publication, or by a press association or wire service, or any person who has been so connected or employed, cannot be adjudged in contempt by a judicial, legislative, administrative body, or any other body having the power to issue subpoenas, for refusing to disclose, in any proceeding as defined in Section 901, the source of any information procured while so connected or employed for publication in a newspaper, magazine or other periodical publication, or for refusing to disclose any unpublished information obtained or prepared in gathering, receiving or processing of information for communication to the public.
This case isn’t as simple as Apple vs bloggers as journalists:
- While the law protects journalists and publishers that refuse to disclose their sources – Gizmodo blurred their role by paying for the phone. arguably a knowing purchase of stolen property.
- Gizmodo disassembled the phone and published the details – and Apple has a history of suing bloggers that reveal trade secrets.
Gizmodo’s no stranger to sleaze – and Apple’s no friend to bloggers – so it will be very interesting to see how this case pans out.
What do you think? Should Gizmodo be protected because they’re journalists doing their job – or do you think they should go to jail for buying stolen goods and giving bloggers a bad name?