Police investigates the situation with iPhone 4G prototype

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As you remember, some time ago Gizmodo acquired an iPhone 4G prototype for $5,000. The story was pretty mystical - Gray Powell who is (or was?) an Apple employee decided to drink some beer and then lost his iPhone 4G in the pub. Another guy found it and then supposedly tried to bring it back to Apple, but nobody believed it's an iPhone 4G. So he sold it to Gizmodo.

Journalists at Gizmodo were very happy - they made a video of it, took dozens of pictures, disassembled it and again made photos and videos.  Then Apple officially asked Gizmodo to bring it back and they did it.

Well now we have information from the report made by Greg Sandoval at CNET where it is said the police are currenty investigating the circumstances of the story to find the evidence enough to support the criminal prosecution.

"CNET has not been able to confirm whether the investigation is targeting Gizmodo.com, its source who reportedly found the iPhone in a bar, or both. "

As the phone was found in the California, local laws state that anyone who found lost property and knows who can be the likely owner but doesn't gives it back is accused to be guilty of theft. If the property can be valued at more than $400 then the action can be considered as the grand theft. Moreover, if you are the person who received property that you know it has been obtained illegally, you may be imprisoned for up to 1 year!

According to First Amendment members of media have a right to broadcast confidential information, but in this situation there were facts of selling and buying the property that has been stolen, and these are separate criminal law issues. Gizmodo can also face legal consequences because of a California's Uniform Trade Secrets Act.

Once Apple had already commented on such legal arguments:

"If these trade secrets are revealed, competitors can anticipate and counter Apple's business strategy, and Apple loses control over the timing and publicity for its product launches".

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