Good Bloggers and Bad Bloggers

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The recent events in the case of the Apple iPhone acquired by Gizmodo has the potential for a significant legal precendence on whether blogger's can be protected by shield laws the same as journalists according to Jeff Neuburger, legal correspondent for MediaShift.

First there has to be determination on whether or not the iPhone that was abandoned in the bar is considered stolen property.

Brainstorm Tech names Brian J. Hogan of Silcon Valley as the person who found the phone. They also report that it was Apple who contacted the district attorney to report the iPhone as stolen. Hogan said he tried to return the phone to Apple, but was ignored. Then he realized what he had and started peddling it on the Internet. However, Hogan may still be charged with theft.

Gizmodo's editor, Jason Chen's home was raided by police last Friday and computer equipment, hard drives, phones were seized as police carried out a warrant that stated the equipment was used in the commission of a felony. That means that the San Matteo district judge sees it as stolen property.

Everyone seems to have an opinion on the situation. Jon Stewart thinks that Steve Jobs of Apple is overreacting. Letterman says it comes under the category of "who cares."

Regardless of where you stand on the issue, there is also an element of journalistic integrity that should come into play. Jason Chen paid $5000 for this iPhone prototype. He gave it back, but not before disclosing all of Apple's proprietary technology over the internet. Is that news? Should that really fall under the category of journalism and be protected by shield laws?

Shield laws are meant to protect the journalist from having to testify to reveal their sources of confidential information. Information that is gathered because the public has the right to know and disclosure of the information is for the public good. I would argue that would not include the right to know trade secrets of an organization.

I think some bloggers are journalists and I think others are not. Maybe I'm missing something, but I don't think this will be the case that decides the issue.

2 comments:

Brian Steffen May 2, 2010 at 7:07 PM  

Jon Stewart really put the screws to Apple in this bit on his show last week.

Meredith Jinks May 3, 2010 at 8:07 AM  

It is unfortunate for Apple that the iPhone was released early. As much time as they have spent producing this, it has to be frustrating for them to not have control over when, how, and where the iPhone is shown. All eyes are on Apple right now to see how they are going to handle this situation. It could potential become a PR nightmare for them depending on how they react.

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