Is “activation locked” iPhone forever a paperweight?

I’m not an iPhone user. Recently found an iPhone 5 with damaged screen -bottom left, and almost dead battery. Charged it and powered up – immediately showed ONLY first screen for phone activation process, and "no sim" announcement.
When went through activation sequence on public wifi site, result was the Username and Password request.

IMEI search shows that the FindMyPhone option is active. There is no indication of how to find owner. Also I can find no local notices of a possible owner.

iPhone info. sources say "phone like this is now just a paperweight. Is this really true? I’m not trying to steal someone’s phone or get someone’s info. It just seems a waste of still useful tech.

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