How hard must the finder of lost property try to return it to its owner before deciding it’s his to keep or sell? The answer to that question could determine whether Monday’s iPhone scoop results in millions of dollars in legal damages, or even criminal charges, for its purveyors.
Gawker Media has admitted — boasted, really — that it paid $5,000 to get its hands on a prototype of a fourth-generation iPhone for its gadget blog, Gizmodo. The seller of the device told the editors of Gizmodo and other technology blogs that he found it unattended in a bar called Gourmet Haus Staudt in Redwood City, California.
But shortly after Gizmodo published its blockbuster story about the phone, critics began accusing the site of breaking the law by, in effect, purchasing stolen goods