Writers sue Huffington Post for back pay
Arianna Huffington, the 'robber baron'
Now that it's got a genuine corporate behemoth as its owner, the Huffington Post is fielding a lawsuit from its unpaid army of bloggers.
Blogger Jonathan Tasini has filed a class action on behalf of more than 9,000 bloggers, claiming US$105m for content which the HuffPo used for its financial benefit while not paying the authors.
Tasini said the US$315m purchase of the aggregator by AOL prompted the lawsuit. His complaint, filed in the Southern District of New York, names Arianna Huffington and Kenneth Lerer as defendants.
The complaint claims that the HuffPo lured contributors with the promise of exposure, but unjustly gained from them by keeping the income accrued for itself. (This is, of course, an old trick in the publishing game: any hopeful journalist will have been, at some time or other, offered the chance to "get exposure" if they would let publishers use their articles for free, usually on a "trial basis". This means "as soon as you ask us to pay you, we'll stop running your articles".)
In a missive to warm the hearts of those who thought that America's hard left had died with Joe Bageant, Tasini discusses the lawsuit on his blog. Ms Huffington, he writes, behaves like "every Robber Baron CEO", believing that "they and only they" should pocket the riches while "peons struggle to survive".
Tasini has form in suing media companies: in Tasini v the New York Times, he challenged the "unauthorized use" of freelance contributors' work, leading to a mass settlement for authors in 2005.
He has created a site to document the lawsuit, here.
I've never been paid for my El Reg comments.
Anyone want to join my class action?
The Huffington Post are Lefties?
Yep. Huffington Post is meant to be "left" - or what passes for "left" in the US these days. In practice, they were aligned to the US Democratic Party, which isn't quite the same thing. I think they call themselves "progressives" - standing up for minorities and workers, that sort of thing. But really, the Dems play the same game as the Repubs - suck up to corporate lobbyists for campaign money, and maybe a sinecure after Congress and the Senate. But at least the Dems have a deficit in teatards.
Jean-Luc: you are exactly right. Letting the Huff Post be bought out for 300 million without even a *thought* of recompensing their writers? That's eighth-circle sixth-borgia out of Dante's Inferno level of hypocrisy. "Lefties" - pah. "Digital sharecroppers" is closer to the truth.
The whole outfit ain't worth one squirt of Joe Bageant's beer-and-peyote enhanced pee. Now he was the real thing - a genuine working-class socialist out of the foothills of Appalachia. Damned both parties for their corruption and sleaze.
Rest in peace, Joe. You earned it.
Get over it...
As a journalist for 30 yrs, in the beginning I wrote for free to get exposure. My stuff was good enough to attract new business, so I prospered. Many bloggers I read these days should not be paid, their crap is so puerile.
Litigation is the last weapon of the talentless, lazy hack.