Apple: Was that stolen iPhone that Gizmodo revealed to the world Monday really “stolen”? Was its sale to Gawker illegal? The Daily Finance takes readers through Apple’s legal grounding, trying to determine whether or not the selling of lost property in this instance warrants a lawsuit. According to Jeff Bercovici: “At heart is the question of whether the person who found the phone made ‘reasonable and just efforts to find the owner and to restore the property to him.'” From the account posted on Gizmodo, it appears–as contrived as it reads in retrospect–that the phone’s finder made reasonable efforts, but Bercovici is not convinced, arguing he “made only the most perfunctory efforts to return the phone to its owner.” Bercovici believes Gawker is at fault too, contending the media conglomerate’s after-the-fact attempts to return the iPhone to Apple don’t excuse their wrongdoing.
Not to knock Bercovici’s research (it’s a good read), but I think what’s more important here than legal precedent is industry precedent. Apple’s lawyers will surely know the ins-and-outs of the law–if they wanted to make the case, I’m sure they could. But does Apple really want to bring a lawsuit against Gizmodo, which every media outlet is guaranteed to pick up?
A similar event that comes to mind is the leaking of Guns N’ Roses’ Chinese Democracy by blogger Kevin Cogill. It’s not exactly an Apple to apples comparison (Cogill’s case related to copyright law and distribution), but the case was eventually left up to the band itself–and who cares if they sue, right? Any bad press the band receives will only jive well with their image…But Steve Jobs is no Axl Rose (and Gizmodo is no Kevin Cogill). So is such potentially terrible press worth a likely drawn-out trial, especially if it tarnishes Apple’s oh-so-enlightened image? Probably not–especially since Apple can do just about as much damage by withdrawing all the keynote presentation access Gizmodo has enjoyed lately, as well as the lucrative takeover ads that run on the site from time-to-time.
Gilt Groupe: The invite-only designer clothing shop has been dominating online retail, and recently expanded to the iPad for its flash sales (not Adobe Flash, of course). Today, Gilt Groupe announced that it had hired the company’s first editorial director, branching the brand’s retail side with media. It’s still too early to say how this will change the site.
Politico: How has Politico become the go-to read for inside the Beltway power players? With a reporter who doesn’t sleep. In a profile of Mike Allen, Politico’s chief political correspondent, by the N.Y. Times Magazine, it seems no one can figure out when the prolific politicker grabs shuteye, as he sends and answers emails day and night, in a non-stop fashion perfectly symbolic of the 24-hour news cycle. Allen runs Politico’s Playbook, a newsletter read by all Washington movers and shakers, which earns around $780,000 a year from advertisements (eat your heart out, Drudge). Also of note: It appears no one even knows where this man of mystery lives: “It is almost impossible to find anyone who has seen his home…One friend describes driving Allen
home and having him get out at a corner; in the rearview mirror, the
friend saw him hail a cab and set off in another direction.”