A row between a group of bloggers and the founders of the Huffington Post has led to Arianna Huffington being described as a slave driver.
Huffington, who, along with Kenneth Lerer, sold the Huffington Post website to AOL in Febraury, is being sued by a group of bloggers who contributed to the site for free. The bloggers, led by Jonathan Tasini, claim they are entitled to a share of the $315 million AOL paid for the site saying they contributed to the site’s revenues reaching $31 million last year. In the lawsuit, filed in New York federal court this week, Tasini said: “Huffington bloggers have essentially been turned into modern day slaves on Arianna Huffington’s plantation.” He said he was suing because “people who create content…have to be compensated” for their work.
The Huffington Post, which is launching a UK version this summer, has around 9,000 bloggers who write for free for the site on a huge range of topics. Huffington has used the site itself to issue a lengthy reply to the bloggers' lawsuit and claims that the lawsuit is “painfully unoriginal” as it mirrors an earlier comparison of the Huffington Post to a slave ship by LA Times journalist Tim Rutten. Describing the comparison as “deeply offensive” Huffington went on to say why she believes the website helps their writers: “Our bloggers utilise our platform to connect and ensure that their ideas and views are seen by as many people as possible.”
Huffington also lists a number of articles from journalists and bloggers written in response to the lawsuit, which dismiss the lawsuit as pointless and baseless. However Tasini has previous in this type of situation having successfully sued the New York Times a decade ago. He argued on behalf of freelance journalists that papers need to get their permission to publish content online as well as in print. We’ll be watching this unfold with interest.
Source: Huffington Post