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Giz Your Own Adventure: Law & Order

 Gizmodo has the iPhone prototype in their possession for about a week. Two of the site’s top editors analyze the device inside and out–Jason Chen, the site’s second-in-command, inspects the internals that make the phone run (or not run, in this case, since’s it has been remotely bricked). Jesus Diaz, Gizmodo’s senior associate editor and an Apple fanatic, pores over the phone’s design for signs that it came from Jonathan Ive’s Apple lab.

The two editors come to the same conclusion: This is the real deal.

On Saturday, April 17th, Gizmodo’s rival, Engadget, posts a few pictures of the leaked iPhone, presumably got from Secret Source as he shopped the device around. Gizmodo hurries their work and posts their hands-on of the iPhone on the following Monday, April 19th. The Internet promptly explodes.

Gizmodo forces Apple to formally request the device back, in writing, proving Gizmodo with a clever piece of concrete evidence that the phone actually does come from Cupertino. Gizmodo returns the prototype and rides the wave of popularity for a few days. The site’s editors are convinced they’ll see no legal problems–they bought a device that was merely lost, after all, and they’re returning it as soon as it’s formally requested.

Is Gizmodo in legal trouble?

CHOICES

a. Gizmodo is guilty. The phone is stolen, in spite of Gizmodo’s relatively good (or at least legally justifiable) intentions. It shouldn’t be in their hands. Click here.

b. Gizmodo is innocent. The phone really is lost–and, while they’re doing it in a roundabout and outrageous public way, Gizmodo is returning the iPhone to Apple, something Secret Source didn’t do. Sucks for Apple, but Gizmodo’s still innocent. Click here.

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