The Washington Times defends corporate theft
1) The police are trying to figure out whether Gizmodo purchased a product that they knew was not owned by the person who sold it. If the police can show this, a crime was committed. At this point, Apple can't control or stop the police investigation, just as a woman beaten by her husband can't stop that criminal investigation. We will have to see whether a law was violated, but we won't know without an investigation and If I had to bet, the odds seem very high that the law was violated.
2) This editorial implies that getting a leak about some government activity is the same as getting a leak about some corporate secret for a product that it is making. Do we really want to create a situation where people steal company secrets because they think that the media will pay them for those secrets? If someone broke into a company vault and took the iPhone, would that be acceptable? Even if it is true that "His intention was not industrial espionage," that is the impact that it has on Apple.
3) Apple may think that the review was good publicity, but the question is also when that publicity occurs. The company doesn't want others to know in advance what they are making. This is a highly competitive market and others have been copying Apple's efforts. Two months advance notice simply means that others can get their products out two month faster with those features.
From the NY Times:
Perhaps Gizmodo was involved in the felony theft of property when it paid $5,000 and published photos and videos of the device.
Why did Gizmodo think that the phone was worth $5,000? I assume that they would have been willing to pay even more for it.
Perhaps Jason Chen, the Gizmodo blogger who lost four computers and two servers to the police last week, is not protected by the California shield law intended to prevent the authorities from seizing journalists’ reporting materials without a subpoena (that matter is currently under consideration so the police and county attorneys have held off combing through the computers).
Should journalists be protected from committing crimes? If a reporter broke into an office and stole corporate secrets, would that be protected?
But those are a lot of assumptions, and regardless of how the law shakes out, the optics are horrible for Apple. Anybody with a kilobyte of common sense could have told Steve Jobs that the five minutes of pleasure that came from making a criminal complaint against journalists would be followed by much misery. . . .
Why is this so horrible? Apple and its shareholders have undoubtedly lost a lot of money. Apple's returns to developing new cutting edge products has been diminished. Is that good for consumers? Other companies will be able to start copying Apple's products earlier than they otherwise could have.