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334 comments

For contrast. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37689882)

In China, these are called hero's of the people.

and in china loseing a prototype = faked suicide (1, Troll)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#37689942)

Re:and in china loseing a prototype = faked suicid (3, Interesting)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#37690018)

And you have evidence of this? In the same vein, how do we know you didn't rape and murder a young girl in 1990? I'm not saying you did but I find it interesting that you never denied it either. I'm just asking questions, that's all.

Finders keepers, losers weepers. (-1)

orphiuchus (1146483) | more than 2 years ago | (#37689888)

Unless the loser makes campaign contributions, then its finders felons.

Re:Finders keepers, losers weepers. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37689962)

I think that if you look it up, you will find that F. Keepers v. L. Weepers is not, in fact, a Supreme Court case, and the law in the real world is slightly more sophisticated on this matter than a handful of ten year old children would have you believe.

Justice is served (4, Informative)

infernalC (51228) | more than 2 years ago | (#37689904)

The right thing to do with something that isn't yours is not to pick it up and sell it. Duh. He will learn a lesson from this.

Re:Justice is served (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37690050)

If it was just another phone that was stolen, would the punishment be as severe? I dont think so.

Re:Justice is served (1, Funny)

Matt.Battey (1741550) | more than 2 years ago | (#37690088)

What ever happened to finders keepers? I thought that there was something about abandoning property that made it a free-for-all.

Re:Justice is served (4, Funny)

WilyCoder (736280) | more than 2 years ago | (#37690224)

Please let me know where you abandon, I mean park your car each day. Thanks.

Re:Justice is served (1)

ccguy (1116865) | more than 2 years ago | (#37690482)

Please let me know where you abandon, I mean park your car each day. Thanks.

So the bar are places now where one can leave his phone for days and pick it up at his convenience a few days later provided he puts money in a meter or something? Seriously?

Re:Justice is served (2)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#37690454)

There is a procedure for that. You turn it into the police. After a certain amount of time, 90 days I think, it's yours if no one claims it. The problem for Hogan was he had the name of the engineer who lost it and where he lost it. Technically selling it is the same as selling stolen property.

Re:Justice is served (1)

SirGarlon (845873) | more than 2 years ago | (#37690184)

If it was just another phone that was stolen, would the punishment be as severe? I dont think so.

If it had been just another phone, he would not have been able to sell it for $5,000. IANAL but it seems the penalty for selling stolen goods should be proportional to the value of those goods.

Re:Justice is served (1)

ccguy (1116865) | more than 2 years ago | (#37690210)

The right thing to do with something that isn't yours is not to pick it up and sell it. Duh. He will learn a lesson from this.

Well, did he pick it up, remove the SIM card so the owner couldn't just call it and ask about it? Or did he keep it at home waiting for the owner to call and after a few days decided to sell it?

Re:Justice is served (3, Interesting)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 2 years ago | (#37690356)

The right thing to do with something that isn't yours is not to pick it up and sell it. Duh. He will learn a lesson from this.

Well, did he pick it up, remove the SIM card so the owner couldn't just call it and ask about it? Or did he keep it at home waiting for the owner to call and after a few days decided to sell it?

Completely not the point. (make way for the car analogy!) Hey I found this sweet car, and the owner never once showed up in the few days that I waited for him to claim it. It's totally mine. I wonder why so many people abandon cars at the airport, anyway? Oh well, finders keepers!

Most jurisdictions require public notification of found goods, as well as a 6 month waiting period. Neither of which this guy even came close to adhering to.

Re:Justice is served (0)

Calos (2281322) | more than 2 years ago | (#37690498)

Analogy, it seems that word means what you think it means... Not only is that a terrible analogy that in no way describes the situation (unless where you come from, it's common to leave phones and other small personal articles in public areas and away from your person), there's also no such thing as proof by analogy.

Re:Justice is served (1)

smash (1351) | more than 2 years ago | (#37690578)

Steve Jobs called him about it, and he told steve he wasn't going to give it back.

Re:Justice is served (1, Troll)

Shotgun (30919) | more than 2 years ago | (#37690234)

As a hobby, my dad used to go over the school playgrounds and athletic fields with a metal detector. He had some success finding rings and coins. He made some attempts to contact owners of a couple school rings that had identification marks, but ended up selling most of the stuff to a local jeweler for basically scrap prices. It was a popular hobby in the late 70's to early 80's.

I don't think you're sentiment is as cut and dry as you think.

Re:Justice is served (1)

Asclepius99 (1527727) | more than 2 years ago | (#37690366)

But as you said, he made an attempt to contact the owner if it had some type of identification on it. I found a cell found outside a local bar once and called the number listed as Home in the contacts. Eventually the person was able to get the phone back from me. From what I recall when this story first appeared, Hogan never made an attempt to get the property back to it's owner. Though I could be wrong.

Here's the lesson (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37690266)

If you spot a lost cell phone, ignore it. Don't touch it, don't look at it, don't ponder it, and above all, don't be the one who calls attention to it. Just keep moving. In today's environment of runaway government, chances are high you will be punished for trying to do right, rather than rewarded as one should be.

I'm not just talking about lost cell phones, of course. Unless it is a life-or-death situation, or somebody is likely to get hurt, the smart policy is to stay the hell out of any situation that is likely to involve government.

Remember that (1) the police are in the business of convicting people, not praising altruism, and (2) we live in the country with the highest incarceration rate in the entire world. Clearly, the US government's objective with the legal system is not justice -- and therefore it is prudent to regard the workhorses of that legal system (the police) as liabilities, not assets.

Re:Here's the lesson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37690456)

Actually, the government wants us to report it to them. After all, it might be TERRORISTS planting a tiny, phone resembling, bomb in a random bar. We need the government to protect us and make decisions for us. We need to report on our neighbors to the government so they can decide if they're TERRORISTS or not.

Yes, that was sarcasm.

Re:Here's the lesson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37690624)

After all, it might be TERRORISTS planting a tiny, phone resembling, bomb in a random bar.

Sort of like the, random commas you seem, to have, planted in that, sentence? They're tiny and, they look, like bombs! They've, got a fuse and everything!

Re:Here's the lesson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37690620)

Oh, come on, this guy wasn't trying to do anything even close to 'right'. In his own version of the story he's a thief. And who knows what really happened. It could even be more clear cut that he was up to no good, but the best possible light based upon his what he says happened is pretty darn clear that he wasn't even trying to do the right thing.

Re:Justice is served (1)

smash (1351) | more than 2 years ago | (#37690526)

He even got a call from Steve asking him "OK, you've had your fun, can you please give me my phone back now" after he ran an article on it (or words to that effect).

He told Steve to go jump.

Steve didn't like that.

And to be fair, if i had some property stolen, located someone who found it, and it was quite obviously mine, i'd take them to the cleaners as well.

Re:Justice is served (1)

smash (1351) | more than 2 years ago | (#37690552)

I meant to put in that last sentence "and refused to give it back when asked".

Here let me fix that for you. (4, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 2 years ago | (#37689920)

If you find a cell phone that doesn't belong to you in a bar and you turn it in to the bar owner, or you turn it into the police, or you turn it into a carrier store that the phone came from you are a finder.
If you find cell phone that doesn't belong to you and you sell it you are a thief.

Re:Here let me fix that for you. (1)

Cap'n Crax (313292) | more than 2 years ago | (#37690014)

What do you do if you find four $100 bills lying on the sidewalk?

Re:Here let me fix that for you. (2)

firex726 (1188453) | more than 2 years ago | (#37690086)

You should leave it alone, same as if you find someone's wallet on a park bench.

I heard in Japan this actually happened; that someone left his wallet full of money on a bench and came back the following day to collect it, and found it had been left undisturbed despite lots of people frequenting the park.

Re:Here let me fix that for you. (2)

theNetImp (190602) | more than 2 years ago | (#37690174)

As someone who lives in Japan, that doesn't surprise me one bit. MOST Japanese people are extremely honest, they may borrom your umbrella from the stand at the convenience store if it's pouring out but they'll return it on the next day.

Re:Here let me fix that for you. (3, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#37690232)

So I get to suffer in the rain instead of them... how dishonorable.

Re:Here let me fix that for you. (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 2 years ago | (#37690280)

>>As someone who lives in Japan, that doesn't surprise me one bit. MOST Japanese people are extremely honest, they may borrom your umbrella from the stand at the convenience store if it's pouring out but they'll return it on the next day.

A lot of the hotels in Japan have spare umbrellas in the stands by the front door for you to take, on an honor system of returning it later.

Re:Here let me fix that for you. (1)

l3v1 (787564) | more than 2 years ago | (#37690310)

How nice :) They leave you to get wet, but you'll get back the umbrella next day ? :) Awesome :)

Re:Here let me fix that for you. (1)

hduff (570443) | more than 2 years ago | (#37690506)

As someone who lives in Japan, that doesn't surprise me one bit. MOST Japanese people are extremely honest, they may borrom your umbrella from the stand at the convenience store if it's pouring out but they'll return it on the next day.

And if they borrow your umbrella when it's raining, what are you supposed to use? That does not sound "extremely honest" to me. An honest person would 1)ask before borrowing and 2) if given permission, always return it.

That's very pre-9/11 (2)

BenSchuarmer (922752) | more than 2 years ago | (#37690260)

In the post-9/11 world you should assume it's a terrorist plot of some kind. Call Homeland Security immediately. They will cordon off the park, blow up the wallet, set up check points, and do body scans on everybody going in or out of the park.

Re:That's very pre-9/11 (1)

firex726 (1188453) | more than 2 years ago | (#37690406)

Like that electric toy robot they found in some street, I forget the details but the police were called because some kid left his toy robot in the street and they got the bomb squad out there to detonate it.

Re:Here let me fix that for you. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37690374)

If I find someone's wallet on the park bench, I pick it up and look for an ID to facebook them.

Even got a date out of it!

But leaving it there? That's not...remotely responsible. That's tossing their fate to the winds and saying "not my problem".

To hell with half-assed attitudes about honor. Cowboy up already and admit we live in the real world, where not everybody is good. The solution to that isn't to fucking ignore it, it's to DO SOMETHING.

Re:Here let me fix that for you. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37690206)

>> What do you do if you find four $100 bills lying on the sidewalk?

You are suppose to report it to the police. If no one claims the money after a specified amount of time (usually 30 days) then you can lay claim to it.

Re:Here let me fix that for you. (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 2 years ago | (#37690274)

Actually you should turn it into the police. If no one claims it after x amount of time it is yours free and clear.

Re:Here let me fix that for you. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37690440)

First, I'll just point out that your question has absolutely nothing to do with what Brian Hogan did -- he knew what he had and where to return it, and decided to sell it rather than do the right thing.
 
I found $80 in the Downtown Berkeley BART station and went to the guard; they just told me not to worry about it, but I gave them my name and I did my job to be a good member of society/not a criminal. If I found $5000 on the sidewalk, which is what Brian Hogan got for Apple's phone, I'd call the police. For $400, I'd probably go around to the businesses immediately surrounding the area and see if they have security footage of who dropped it since I wouldn't expect that little of a loss to be reported to the police.

Re:Here let me fix that for you. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37690548)

The law says you must take reasonable steps to find the owner. Anything else is theft. In the case of money, here in NY, you need to take the $400 to the police station. If no one claims it, in some period of time it becomes yours.

INHO What the person does is a good test of a persons character.
The type of person who just keeps the cash or property is the type of person who will do whatever they can get away with.

Re:Here let me fix that for you. (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#37690032)

And what crime is that exactly?

Unlawful finding?

It's not really theft.

Courts have rules too you know. They are very much like machines or computing devices in this regard. You can't just make sh*t up because you think it sounds good or it benefits your pet corporation.

Re:Here let me fix that for you. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37690212)

Putting in terms that the courts would understand, the defendant went from "finder" to "thief" when he sold an object (the phone) which he did not have title to. You do not get title to an object simply because a tequila-addled engineer left on the counter.

Re:Here let me fix that for you. (0)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 2 years ago | (#37690254)

It has nothing to do with pet corporations. If you dropped your cell phone and someone picked it up and sold it they are a thief. Finders keepers losers weepers only works for the under 5 year old set.
Your right courts do have rules what you seem to miss is that they are not the rules you learned in Kindergarden.
You can not sell property that you do not own.

Re:Here let me fix that for you. (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#37690258)

"Courts have rules too you know."

Yes they do. And those rules have a price.

Rule #1 - Rich guy get's more justice.
Rule #2 - please see rule #1 when complaining.

Re:Here let me fix that for you. (5, Informative)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 2 years ago | (#37690268)

I think you need to actually review a lot of the understanding you are basing your comment on...

One who finds lost property under circumstances which give him knowledge of or means of inquiry as to the true owner, and who appropriates such property to his own use, or to the use of another person not entitled thereto, without first making reasonable and just efforts to find the owner and to restore the property to him, is guilty of theft.

CAL. PEN. CODE 485 : California Code - Section 485

http://www.shouselaw.com/appropriation-lost-property.html [shouselaw.com]

Re:Here let me fix that for you. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37690388)

Thanks! I came here to post the same thing. The above is pretty standard in common law...

Re:Here let me fix that for you. (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 2 years ago | (#37690460)

You mean finders keepers isn't the law of the land! I am so going to take my kindergarden teacher to court.

Re:Here let me fix that for you. (1)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 2 years ago | (#37690318)

It wasn't theft due to simply finding it. He sold goods that didn't belong to him. Since he was in effect claiming ownership when he sold it, he is trafficking in stolen goods. Simply finding it wasn't a crime. Pretending it was his and selling it to the highest bidder is a crime if you don't own the goods in question or you are not authorized to sell the goods in question.

Re:Here let me fix that for you. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37690326)

And what crime is that exactly?

Unlawful finding?

It's not really theft.

Courts have rules too you know. They are very much like machines or computing devices in this regard. You can't just make sh*t up because you think it sounds good or it benefits your pet corporation.

Where I live, the courts consider it felony theft by taking. If you find it and leave it, it's not theft. If you find it and take it, it's theft.

The fact that it was a huge billion-dollar corporation that legally owned the device, as opposed to a widowed grandmother on social security, is irrelevant. It's whether it's yours or not that makes it theft.

Re:Here let me fix that for you. (0)

mjr167 (2477430) | more than 2 years ago | (#37690342)

So... if I find your purse/briefcase sitting on the floor underneath your chair while you are eating lunch/waiting for a train/whatever, I can take it cause it's not stealing it's finding? Good to know. Does that also apply to unattended children, puppies, houses, and cars?

Re:Here let me fix that for you. (1)

mlingojones (919531) | more than 2 years ago | (#37690352)

Courts have rules too you know.

Yes, and in this case those rules state that you must return found property to its owner, or—if you can't find its owner—the police, otherwise it's stealing.

And where is the contention here, exactly?

Re:Here let me fix that for you. (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 2 years ago | (#37690408)

It's not really theft.

If you look up California law, which is the one that decided this case, you will find that picking up an item that was lost, and not trying to return it to the rightful owner is theft. In New York, it is a different offence than theft, but treated just as badly. In Germany, it would depend on the situation. If found in a bar, or on a train, or an airport, or a similar place that is under the control of someone else, then it would be theft. When found in a public place that is not owned by anyone it would be a different offence.

Re:Here let me fix that for you. (3, Informative)

Revotron (1115029) | more than 2 years ago | (#37690570)

I highly doubt you're educated in any form of law, but luckily I am, so let me break it down for you.

"Unlawful taking" is actually a crime and is exactly what it sounds like - taking something that you don't own, with the intention of making it yours. And it stands quite well legally that his intent to sell the device constituted him making it his own property. Therefore, the selling of the unlawfully taken phone to a third party (a crime in and of itself) signifies the lack of intent to return the device to its owner.

Oh, by the way, even if you're going to assume that the Apple employee left it there specifically so someone would find it, the fact that somebody did pick it up and take it as their own property to sell counts as Conversion, the legal definition of which is taking sole possession of something you have been given control over with no intent to return it. It's like embezzlement, but without money.

The courts DO have rules. They're called laws. And everything I just explained to you IS the law.

Re:Here let me fix that for you. (1)

a_nonamiss (743253) | more than 2 years ago | (#37690598)

You're dead wrong [onecle.com]

California Penal Code section 485: One who finds lost property under circumstances which give him knowledge of or means of inquiry as to the true owner, and who appropriates such property to his own use, or to the use of another person not entitled thereto, without first making reasonable and just efforts to find the owner and to restore the property to him, is guilty of theft.

VERY easy to prove intent here, as he sold a phone worth, maybe, $800 tops, for $5000. He knew exactly what he had, and he acted criminally in not returning it to the bar owner or Apple itself. Moreover, he clearly tried to profit from his theft. He's lucky he didn't get jail time.

Think what you want about the morality of the law. However, it's clearly spelled out, and he clearly broke it.

Re:Here let me fix that for you. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37690066)

that depends on where you found the cell phone. you don't have a legal obligation to find the owner of lost or abbandoned property. if he were the owner of the bar the abbandoned property left in his establishment would be his and he has every right to sell it if he wants.

Re:Here let me fix that for you. (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#37690458)

that depends on where you found the cell phone. you don't have a legal obligation to find the owner of lost or abbandoned property. if he were the owner of the bar the abbandoned property left in his establishment would be his and he has every right to sell it if he wants.

You have no obligation to find the owner, but you may have the obligation to allow the owner to find his lost property (which he can't if you take it away). In Germany, you definitely have that obligation. There are actually special offices for that, called "Fundamt" ("finding office"). But giving it to the police is also possible. And I'm pretty sure just leaving it where it was is allowed too.

Re:Here let me fix that for you. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37690466)

that depends on where you found the cell phone. you don't have a legal obligation to find the owner of lost or abbandoned property. if he were the owner of the bar the abbandoned property left in his establishment would be his and he has every right to sell it if he wants.

Most places, if you want to legally keep or sell the "abandoned" item, you do have an obligation to notify the owner of the property, or the police, and wait a period of time before you can claim the property as yours.

Re:Here let me fix that for you. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37690314)

If you find a cell phone that doesn't belong to you in a bar and you turn it in to the bar owner, or you turn it into the police, or you turn it into a carrier store that the phone came from you are a finder.
If you find cell phone that doesn't belong to you and you sell it you are a thief.

What about if you find a country that doesn't belong to you and colonize it? Thief or no thief?

Re:Here let me fix that for you. (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#37690370)

Before anyone starts ranting about this case, here is what I remember about it.
  • He found the phone in a bar.
  • He got the name of the owner before the phone was remotely wiped.
  • He then realized it wasn't a 3G but an unknown design but with Apple logos.
  • He had a friend call Apple's general tech support hotline to inquire about it and if any rewards were available.
  • Tech support had no information about it (as they are there to help customers with tech problems).
  • He then shopped the prototype around.
  • His roommate warns him that what he was doing might be illegal.
  • Gizmodo agrees to buy the prototype. It is unclear that Gizmodo knew who originally had the phone but they know he is not the true owner.
  • Gizmodo buys the phone, takes apart the phone, and posts pictures of the dismantled phone.
  • Gizmodo contacts Apple and offers to return the phone if they publicly acknowledge they lost it. Apple does not agree but receive the phone eventually.
  • His roommate turns him in not wanting to be implicated.
  • With a search warrant, police seize the computers of the Gizmodo reporter to find him.
  • With police searching for him, he wipes the HDDs of two computers before the police find him.

That's my recollection of the events. To be clear except for the tech support call, at no time did he contact Apple. I suspect he only called to verify was a valuable prototype and not looking to return it. He knew the name of the engineer who lost it but there is no evidence he tried to contact him. He did not contact the bar. He did not turn the phone into the police.

Re:Here let me fix that for you. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37690514)

Almost got it right.

Gizmodo did not buy the phone, they paid the guy for the story about the phone and access to it.

Gizmodo tried to contact Apple to acknowledge the phone was a prototype because otherwise it was a Chinese knockoff and less of a story than a scoop about a new iPhone.

Apple denied the phone was theirs several times, until they admitted it.

Apple calls up their pocket police department and claims stolen property, intellectual secret misappropriation, doom, end of the world.

Police raid Gizmodo writers house instead of the much more reasonable call their lawyers and arrange return of their property, because it's Apple and F*** You and your journalism crashing Steve's surprises, that's why.

Sounds about right (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#37689966)

Yes the DA wants jailtime but I don't see that will do much good. I think at worst this was an E felony. Besides the CA jails are already overcrowded. Putting someone in jail for their first offense (as far as I know) when they are going to release them in 1/3 of their time anyways would not have served much purpose. I hope that the $250 didn't include forfeiture of $5000 that he got.

Re:Sounds about right (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#37690640)

Yes the DA wants jailtime but I don't see that will do much good. I think at worst this was an E felony. Besides the CA jails are already overcrowded. Putting someone in jail for their first offense (as far as I know) when they are going to release them in 1/3 of their time anyways would not have served much purpose. I hope that the $250 didn't include forfeiture of $5000 that he got.

Its useful to compare to typical shoplifting convictions.

Basically the courts decided on a penalty that locally is only a little harsher than shoplifting an average iphone, much less than he would typically get for stealing $5K.

I have not looked into the guys prior record, if any, which at this low level has a pretty big influence on the court's punishment.

Will anyone at Gizmodo be charged? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37689988)

For buying and destroying goods that were obviously not the property of the person selling them?

Re:Will anyone at Gizmodo be charged? (2)

retech (1228598) | more than 2 years ago | (#37690012)

And then trying to extort Apple. Brian Lam by his own account try to extort Jobs on this. Demanding something in return for the hot property... He should be charged and sentenced.

Re:Will anyone at Gizmodo be charged? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37690484)

To be fair, Lam didn't try to extort Jobs. He did nothing illegal; he simply stated that they couldn't return the phone unless Apple acknowledged the phone was theirs. This is 100% within the confines of the law; in fact, it's standard and expected practice. The real issue is that Lam knew the phone was Apple's and, in the interest of friendly relations, probably should have just returned it without making such a fuss. But it was well within his rights not to.

Re:Will anyone at Gizmodo be charged? (-1, Troll)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37690038)

Hopefully not, this kind of bullshit could easily curtail the ability of news organizations to conduct their business. Really the whole business was Apple's fault for being a damned cult. If they didn't want the phones lost, then perhaps they shouldn't have bothered testing them in the real world, it's not like they were doing real testing anyways with that camouflage case covering it anyways.

Re:Will anyone at Gizmodo be charged? (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 2 years ago | (#37690574)

The DA's already decided that they're not pursuing criminal charges against Gizmodo, but that doesn't preclude a civil action.

Re:Will anyone at Gizmodo be charged? (3, Informative)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#37690580)

The DA has said no. Their contention is that Gizmodo crossed a line but they were in a very grey area in terms of journalistic rights because they did technically report on it. I think the DA would have won but the battle wasn't worth it.

And how was society harmed? (-1)

yog (19073) | more than 2 years ago | (#37690022)

What crime was committed? He found some prototype in a bar and sold it to some news website. What crime was committed, exactly? The guy didn't sign an NDA or anything.

It would be like finding a $100 bill on the sidewalk and being convicted of theft because you didn't turn it in to the police. Who knows? Maybe that is a misdemeanor.

Sure, it wasn't the most ethical thing to do. An ethical person presumably would have turned the device in to its presumed owner, if there were any ownership markings on it.

The whole thing is kind of sleazy and it leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth about Apple. Come on, you're already a rich corporation; how much could this guy have possibly hurt you? Did it stop even one person from buying one of your products?

Re:And how was society harmed? (0)

firex726 (1188453) | more than 2 years ago | (#37690126)

His crime was not having enough money to "donate" to the right people to get off.

But seriously I agree with you, worst case I could see is being fined for the money he earned as a result of the sale.
As I recall the phone was disguised to looks like a 3GS so he did not even know at first that it was a prototype.

Re:And how was society harmed? (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#37690614)

Once he remove the outside case he realized it was not a 3GS. But he shopped it around as a prototype. Even if it was a 3GS, he had no right to sell it. By law, he had to make an effort to return it.

Re:And how was society harmed? (2)

mlingojones (919531) | more than 2 years ago | (#37690200)

What crime was committed? He found some prototype in a bar and sold it to some news website. What crime was committed, exactly? The guy didn't sign an NDA or anything.

Theft? Selling stolen property? If you lost your phone and the person who found it decided to sell it instead of return it to you, would it be a crime then? Or does it only become okay when it happens to a company you dislike?

Re:And how was society harmed? (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 2 years ago | (#37690464)

What crime was committed? He found some prototype in a bar and sold it to some news website. What crime was committed, exactly? The guy didn't sign an NDA or anything.

It would be like finding a $100 bill on the sidewalk and being convicted of theft because you didn't turn it in to the police. Who knows? Maybe that is a misdemeanor.

Sure, it wasn't the most ethical thing to do. An ethical person presumably would have turned the device in to its presumed owner, if there were any ownership markings on it.

The whole thing is kind of sleazy and it leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth about Apple. Come on, you're already a rich corporation; how much could this guy have possibly hurt you? Did it stop even one person from buying one of your products?

Correction, it would be like finding a $5000 bill (or its equivalent of 100's) and keeping it instead of notifying the local police, which in the US is *not at all different with stealing $5000 (or an iphone) out of someones wallet/purse and having no intent of giving it back*. You can understand that stealing $5000 from someone would meet with severe consequences, can't you?

Re:And how was society harmed? (2)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 2 years ago | (#37690622)

He sold a phone that was not his. Even if he "found" it in the bar instead of actively stealing it from its owner (say, by pick pocketing or grabbing it from the table while the guy was looking the other way), the law in CA is very specific on what you can do with that item once you have it - if you found it you must inform the police, and then a period of time then passes after which you can claim it as your own if the rightful owner does not come forward. This supposes that you do not know who the owner is, but given that they clearly did (all his personal details *were on the phone*), as well as realising enough that it was an Apple prototype (hence selling it for $5000 to gizmodo)...

Yeah, pretty cut and dried case for the PD there.

So, even if he found it abandoned (and let's face it, we're being generous on this point, but so be it - we don;t know for sure one way or the other), the published facts of what he (and gizmodo) did next once he was in possession of the phone by their own admission are contrary to the law in California.

Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37690026)

So if someone finds my lost phone and doesn't return it, I can send him to jail. Good to know.

Re:Interesting (0)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37690160)

It's funny to see the difference in response to a "priceless" Apple prototype being lost in a bar and some poor guy in the ghetto getting his cheapo Blackberry stolen as part of a mugging, considering that much more value is at stake to the victim and a more heinous crime was committed in the latter case.

Re:Interesting (2)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 2 years ago | (#37690334)

So if someone finds my lost phone and doesn't return it, I can send him to jail. Good to know.

Only if, behind your AC tag, you are a huge corporation. Otherwise you'll be lucky if they don't fine you for wasting their time.

not a felony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37690048)

it is not a crime if it was left there on purpose, to be discovered by some tech junky.

come on this has now happened twice, large company's have the money for advertising, they don't need to play stupid games with the media/police

Re:not a felony (3, Insightful)

Revotron (1115029) | more than 2 years ago | (#37690546)

This is legally false.

Leaving something in a location does not mean it's no longer your property. Even if he did trust it to the hands of a "tech junky", it's still Apple's property. By selling the device, the "finder" illegally converted the phone to HIS sole possession and control. Why? Because you can't sell something that's not yours, so obviously he took the phone to be his own property.

When you maintain control over something that is not your property and you make it your property with no intent to return it to the owner, that is a crime, and it's called "conversion". It's like embezzlement, but without money - you've been trusted with something and you misappropriated it. The fact that he then SOLD the goods that were unlawfully converted constitutes a second crime, the sale of stolen property.

Nice attempt at spinning it into a harmless "finders-keepers" bit, but you failed miserably. Don't believe me? Ask a lawyer.

Gizmodo: Handling stolen goods (5, Interesting)

bool2 (1782642) | more than 2 years ago | (#37690084)

The whole thing seems a bit one sided. Given that Gizmodo knowingly paid for stolen goods, where is their equivalent fine, community service and probation?

Lucky to get probation (2)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | more than 2 years ago | (#37690102)

Seems like *knowingly* selling stolen items could turn into a sh^Htstorm of legal charges very easily. Especially if you can prove intent; and it wouldn't be too hard to prove with a $5k pricetag.

apple shmapple (1)

Essequemodeia (1030028) | more than 2 years ago | (#37690108)

If you are a gigantic corporation that doesn't give two shits about anyone who doesn't invest in your corporation and you entrust a prototype of a forthcoming product to a nincompoop lackey who loses it in a fucking BAR, you bring the full force of your influence over the local police department right down on the head of the stupid sonofabitch who finds said prototype. High profile embarrassments demand ACTION! NOW! HARDER! GET HIM!

Reward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37690156)

He should have just returned the phone back to Apple, I'm sure a reward would have been in order.

A man walks into a bar (3, Insightful)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 2 years ago | (#37690278)

A man walks into a bar in Cupertino, has a drink, and gets up to leave.
On leaving the bartender notices that he has left his iPhone on the table.
Bartender: "Charlie, you left your iPhone again."
Customer: "sorry Phil, but it's cheaper than buying commercials."
Bartender: "Maybe, but my customers customers keep ending up in jail."

Prototype MacBook Pro 3G dude gets some gear back (4, Interesting)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | more than 2 years ago | (#37690564)

Quick summary timeline...

Dude sees an old MacBook Pro on Craigslist listed by Seller as broken.
Dude buys it thinking maybe he can fix it.
Dude does indeed fix it, requiring reflowing of parts, adding parts (ram, HDD, etc.), chronicles it at Anandech, noting that it seems to be no ordinary MBP.
http://forums.anandtech.com/showthread.php?t=2165252&highlight=macbook+antenna [anandtech.com] - Prototype Macbook Pro with 3G: In my shop now!

Dude then sells it on Craigslist himself as he has no use for it and doesn't yet realize its uniqueness.
Buyer takes it to an Apple Store for some service, Apple Store Genius bar says "This is not an Apple product." on account of weird things in there.
http://www.macrumors.com/2011/08/30/apple-genius-bar-didnt-recognize-macbook-pro-3g-prototype-apple-now-wants-it-back/ [macrumors.com] - Apple Genius Bar Didn't Recognize MacBook Pro 3G Prototype

Buyer sues Dude, wins (in part based on Apple Store findings), Dude is out moneys.
Dude thinks 'wtf', though, and takes a closer look at the MacBook Pro, asking around on forums.
Dude learns that the red motherboard implies it's a prototype.
Weeks pass and Dude does what anybody who isn't a fanboy would do - puts it up for sale on e-bay.
http://news.cnet.com/8301-27076_3-20092180-248/3g-equipped-macbook-prototype-pops-up-on-ebay/ [cnet.com] - 3G-equipped MacBook prototype pops up on eBay

e-bay bids go up to $70k, listing is pulled due to request from Apple.
Dude then hears nothing, sits around waiting for some manner of official explanation for days on end.
CNet, however, now wants to know what happened, so arrange an interview, in which they of course also call Apple.

Apple suddenly takes very keen notice.
http://m.cnet.com/Article.rbml?nid=20099494&cid=null&bcid=&bid=-248 [cnet.com] - Apple wants its 3G MacBook prototype back

Dude gets call - Apple wants their hardware back and they can have somebody stop by Dude's private residence that evening.
Dude says 'I think not, my lawyer will be in touch'.

Lawyer says Apple have no case.
Lawyer and Apple chit chat.
Lawyer says having no case matters shit all when you're Apple, so give up or incur huge costs.

Apple thus sends over a PI to pick up Prototype MBP.
Dude hands over the MBP.
Dude then sits around again wondering wtf just happened while waiting to see if he gets compensated in any way at all.
Apple does nothing.
Dude then petitions to Apple to get his shit back.
Apple says nothing, but does send an unmarked FedEx box with parts back.
http://news.cnet.com/8301-27076_3-20117512-248/prototype-3g-macbook-buyer-gets-parts-back [cnet.com] - Prototype 3G MacBook buyer gets parts back

Dude now left with little option but either go "oh well", or sue the original Seller for incurred costs. Seller however says he received the MBP in earnest.

It would have been nice of Apple if they had arranged an exchange for a shiny new MBP and cover Dude's costs, as there's no reason to believe that this prototype was stolen and - as of the latest reports - Apple never filed it as such either.

The 'best' part? Being on IRC, watching a guy go from not being a fanboy but certainly an admirer of Apple, to being completely disenchanted.

What was the crime? (-1, Troll)

PortHaven (242123) | more than 2 years ago | (#37690576)

He didn't steal it. He found lost property. Oh my.

It just goes to show that if you're a big company, you can get anything turned into a crime.

A man just robbed & shot a Social Security worker in Baltimore last week. He had just been released from a 10 year sentence for armed robbery after a mere 9 months time served.

Seriously, we have issues when downloading a music track can get you a stiffer sentence and fine than mugging and shooting someone.

Tell me our justice system isn't bought....

Sale vs. "finders fee" vs. "bounty" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37690634)

Lets say I find a laptop. The laptop has standard laptop security and I have no way of identifying ownership. Even going to the OEM and asking them "who purchased this laptop?" would be inconclusive. I personally have purchased several hundred systems for resale to my customers. I post on CraigsList that I found a laptop. "Call me to claim this laptop I found. I expect a $5000 reward." You really want your data so you contact me immediately and agree to the reward/finders fee. You show up and can't really produce anything that says this is your laptop but you are really happy someone found it and you don't mind paying the finders fee to get it back. I have no way to prove otherwise and it really must be yours if you are willing to pay $5000 for it.I get paid, you take home your laptop. We are both happy.

Now replace the word "laptop" with "mysterious prototype cell phone". There is no way to prove the cell is or is not yours. What would I get charged with? If the guy we are discussing would have called someone from Gizmodo and said "hey did one of your guys lose a prototype iphone 4 at such and such a bar? If so, Id like to return it for a $5000 finders fee" we wouldnt be having this discussion. We would only be talking about Gizmodo fraudulently receiving stolen goods.

and what happened to finders keepers? (1)

cod3r_ (2031620) | more than 2 years ago | (#37690638)

When playground rules are no longer followed.. .well it's pure anarchy
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