Good Luck Feigning Ignorance

Nick Bilton surveys legal opinion on the Gizmodo case:

In contrast to Mr. Zimmerman’s views, David Sugden, a California lawyer who specializes in intellectual property litigation, said the state shield law might not apply, if stolen property were involved. […]

Mr. Sugden cited an example with celebrity images that are often bought by gossip sites like or Us Weekly. He said, “When TMZ takes photos of a celebrity, it’s in plain view, which is legal,” but cautioned, “TMZ would be in trouble if the reporters were breaking into houses to take those photos of people.”

Mr. Sugden said Gizmodo’s best defense would be to argue that it didn’t know the phone was Apple’s property when it was shown to them.

Good luck to the editors of a web site that specializes in mobile gadgetry — owned by the same publisher that received this warning from Apple just two months prior — arguing that they didn’t know that a heretofore unseen iPhone prototype, for which they were willing to pay $5000, belonged to Apple. And that’s their best defense.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010