Everyone who pays attention knows that Gizmodo broke the story of Apple’s new iPhone. Did they break the law to break the story? Ian Betteridge in Technovia:
The legal problem that the finder will face in this case is showing that, in selling it, he was acting in accordance of the duties of a depositary for hire. I don’t think, in fact, that he can: selling property you know you don’t own when you are the depositary is analogous to you leaving something with a storage company for safe keeping and them selling it (storage companies are, in fact, literally “depositaries for hire”).
Secondly, by selling it, he clearly violated his secondary duty (after attempting to contact the owner) of giving it in to the police, which is established under section 2080.1. So there’s a double-oops here.
Theft by the finder? Yes. Theft by Gizmodo? Yes.
UPDATE: As usual, John Gruber is more direct, but with the same conclusion.