Valleywag's $100,000 Bounty For Apple Tablet Leaks May Face Legal Repercussions

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Tired of sifting through the mountains of rumors leading up to the (still unconfirmed) debut of the Apple Tablet on January 27? Valleywag, the Silicon Valley-focused Gawker blog, has just announced a bounty for anyone who turns over legitimate photos and/or video of the tablet in action. The rewards range from $10k to $100k depending on the type of media submitted: $10,000 for pictures, $20,000 for video, $50,000 for a photo or video with Steve Jobs holding a Tablet, and $100,000 to “let [Valleywag] play with one for an hour”.

It’s certainly a tempting offer (at least, more tempting than submitting leaked photos and getting zilch in return), but Valleywag may be on the wrong side of the law. We spoke to a lawyer about the legality of the bounty, who says that Apple could have a claim against Gawker/Valleywag for inducing breach of contract, since anyone who has their hands on the tablet is certainly under a nondisclosure agreement. This could result in tort damages, with potential for punitive damages.

Gawker is no stranger to such bounties — they previously offered a $1,000 reward for photos of Nikki Finke, but there’s a difference between scandalous tabloid photos and breaching an NDA. That said, it’s unlikely Gawker chief Nick Denton would launch the promotion without being aware of the risks.

Update: Apple has sent a takedown notice to Gawker over the contest. Gawker is continuing to run the contest anyway, warning users not to break the law to get their submissions:

Apple, of course, has plenty of good lawyers like Michael Spillner, so we reiterate our advice “to stay within the bounds of the law.” And also: use anonymous email addresses! We can’t tell Apple who you are if we don’t know who you are.

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