Posted on : 18-05-2010 | By : Julie Gottlieb | In : Buzz, Online Speech
Tags: Apple, Gizmodo, iPhone 4G, Jason Chen, Online Speech, Shield Laws
Over the past month the Gizmodo-iPhone scandal has raised many questions about privacy protections of Internet journalist. (Please see my articles, Shield Laws Fail Internet Journalists and Gizmodo’s iPhone Saga Continues to learn more about the facts and legal issues of this case.)
Last week the plot thickened when, according to Antone Gonsalves’s article, Apple Claims Gizmodo iPhone Photos ‘Immensely Damaging’, Apple lawyer, George Riley told police that the publication of the photos and descriptions of the device’s features by Gizmodo were “immensely damaging” and could hurt sales. Specifically, Riley was concerned that Gizmodo’s story would persuade people to postpone purchasing a current iPhone until the new iPhone 4G is released, “thereby hurting overall sales and negatively effecting Apple’s earnings.” Although Riley could not provide an estimate of Apple’s loss, he believes it is “huge.”
Could the announcement of Apple’s anticipated losses be prefacing a civil suit for damages against Gizmodo’s deep-pocketed owner, Gawker Media? Although no suit is currently pending, many feel it is to be expected. However, it is unlikely that Apple will be able to show actual or anticipated damages because as one anonymous blog commenter wrote, “You’d have to live under a rock to not know there’s a new iPhone coming.” That is, even before the Gizmodo iPhone scandal people were aware that a new iPhone was in production and going to be released. It would be very hard and maybe impossible to prove that any losses Apple experiences are due to Gizmodo and not the preexisting iPhone 4G hype. In fact, it is possible that all this free publicity will increase Apple’s sales.
Although recently-released court documents indicate that Gizmodo’s editor, Jason Chen was considered a suspect in three felonies, including the purchase or receipt of stolen property, theft of trade secrets, and malicious damage to another person’s property valued at over $400, no charges have been filed against him or any of the participants in this case.
Please check back for the latest news in the Gizmodo v Apple smackdown.