Jason Chen Case To Determine If Bloggers Are Journalists According To The Law

Posted Apr 27, 2010

Here’s a breakdown of what happened at Gizmodo within the last month.
1. Apple engineer Gray Powell left iPhone prototype at the bar on his 27th birthday night.
2. Drunk guy tells another anonymous guy that he left his iPhone behind and gave it to him.
3. Anonymous guy takes the phone home and turns on the device, notices errors with the camera. When anonymous guy tried to turn on the iPhone the next day, it was bricked through MobileMe–someone killed the iPhone remotely.
4. Anonymous guy opens the iPhone 3GS and inside he finds an iPhone that is supposed to be released in the future.
5. Anonymous guy attempted to call Apple HQ and return the device, but kept getting blown off.
6. Gizmodo gets their hands on the device at the cost of $5,000.
7. Gizmodo writes a few posts about the new device (resulting in millions of extra website hits), then sends the device back to Apple.
8. Police raid the home of Gizmodo editor Jason Chen. The police took his computers, two servers, an iPad, an iPhone, hard drives, and several other devices.

Was the device confiscation legal? That question can be answered if “bloggers” can be considered “journalists” according to the law

Gawker Media, parent company of Gizmodo stated that the search warrant on Chen’s home is invalid due to section 1524(g) of the California Penal Code which states “No warrant shall issue for any item or items described in Section 1070 of the Evidence Code.” Section 1070 of the Evidence Code states that there is limitations on the seizure of property that belong to journalists if the property is related to news gathering activities.

“Are bloggers journalists? I guess we’ll find out,” said Gawker founder Nick Denton.