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NY District Judge Dismisses Blogger Suit Against Huffington Post 94

The Chicago Tribute reports on a ruling announced Friday that the Huffington Post violated no law in profiting enormously from the unpaid contributions of bloggers who wrote much of the content that has spurred the site's success. Says the article: "John E. Koeltel, a district court judge in New York, dismissed a class action sought brought against the Huffington Post by unpaid bloggers seeking $105 million from AOL and Arianna Huffington's media empire. The bloggers argued that though they initially agreed to do the work for free, the Huffington Post was 'unjustly enriched as a result of this practice,' violating New York state law. Koeltel disagreed. 'There is no question that the plaintiffs submitted their materials to The Huffington Post with no expectation of monetary compensation and that they got what they paid for -- exposure in The Huffington Post,' Koeltel wrote."
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NY District Judge Dismisses Blogger Suit Against Huffington Post

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  • Good. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Haxagon ( 2454432 ) on Saturday March 31, 2012 @07:20PM (#39537325)
    They agreed to write for free, there's no unjust enrichment if you stated that there's no expectation of compensation at any turn. I hope some other cases go by this precedent, I don't want people taking me to court for cash from my small business.
  • Arianna (Score:5, Insightful)

    by clarkkent09 ( 1104833 ) on Saturday March 31, 2012 @07:33PM (#39537401)

    Am I the only one who thinks that Arianna Huffington is a self-serving money grubbing bitch who switched from being a hard core conservative to being "liberal" just because she saw a better market opportunity there?

    Incidentally, the ruling is spot on. There was no expectation of getting paid until after the sale of the site to AOL for big $$$ when they suddenly had an open-source coder like epiphany: Hey, others are making millions from my work and I'm getting nothing!!! Sorry dumbass, don't work for free next time.

  • by tverbeek ( 457094 ) on Saturday March 31, 2012 @07:36PM (#39537425) Homepage

    There's a very simple lesson here: If you think your work is worth something, don't give it away for free. Donating your time and the fruits of your labor to an open-source project or to a non-profit as charity work is one thing. But the harm that comes to a person from giving their work to a for-profit corporation is a self-inflicted injury. Furthermore, it doesn't just harm the people doing it, it also harms the professionals who are unable to do the same kind of work for a living, by undercutting them.

  • by Bieeanda ( 961632 ) on Saturday March 31, 2012 @07:50PM (#39537499)
    Sing this to the heavens. Inscribe it on the side of every mountain. Drill it into the mind of every student and budding artist, journalist or otherwise creative person out there.

    Once upon a time, 'Did X for Y' for free may have looked good on your resume. Now, it's barely more than a comma. Now, it's a comma that you paid for in sweat equity, because you were good enough to ask a favour of, but not good enough to pay.

    If you really want to put your stuff out there, and think you've got the chops to get attention (and good, because that's the attitude you need), do it yourself. Start a blog, or a specialist news site. Roll your own webcomic, there's plenty of frameworks out there. Throw your band's tracks up on its very own website. Just don't give it away for free to outfits that can afford to pay you for the privilege. They'll be all too happy to put their stamp on it and leave you with shit-all attribution.

  • by Mistlefoot ( 636417 ) on Saturday March 31, 2012 @08:01PM (#39537553)
    They didn't give it away for free. They were paid with exposure.

    Toyota (or any advertiser) pays dearly for that same exposure.

    Today the Final Four games are on TV. Each of these athletes works for free and for exposure and hopes that they benefit directly from that exposure. It might be the knowledge the scholarship provided them, or it might be an NBA draft day paycheck followed by a healthy career. Ask Michael Phelps how much he was paid to attend swim meets before he found a way to monetize his career.

    Nobody owes these people anything and this lawsuit was folly.
  • Re:Good. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ZipK ( 1051658 ) on Saturday March 31, 2012 @08:12PM (#39537609)

    But other than being vigilant about any city rezoning plans, and raising a stink if some developer decides to apply to have it rezoned so they can drop a condo on the lot there's not much one can really do.

    You could buy the surrounding land and personally control its fate.

  • Re:Arianna (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ArcherB ( 796902 ) on Saturday March 31, 2012 @08:12PM (#39537613) Journal

    Isn't that how capitalism is supposed to work? I thought conservatives were all for the free market.

    Though personally I still think that news are supposed to be neutral, and that the whole idea that a news outfit can have a political slant is a perversion, regardless of the direction.

    Conservatives have nothing to do with this. This is a bunch of liberal writers mad because the liberal woman who they agreed to write for pro bono made a whole lot of money off their work.

    You are correct about this being how the free market works. The funny part is that there are a bunch of "progressives" acting like conservatives who don't see the irony of their actions.

  • by gelfling ( 6534 ) on Saturday March 31, 2012 @08:18PM (#39537649) Homepage Journal

    Since the general slant of HuffPo is a self righteous rich white liberal rage against the Cul de Sac smash the capitalist machine but give me a free iPad give me a bailout because I can't afford the school loan for my $250,000 MFA in post modern lesbian Marxist fiction I just love it that they're mad they're not getting paid MONEY for their ravings.

    You can't make this stuff up.

  • Re:Arianna (Score:5, Insightful)

    by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Saturday March 31, 2012 @10:24PM (#39538261) Homepage Journal

    First of all, it's not over.

    Second: pretty much the vast majority of legal experts said that it seemed unlikely the bill was unconstitutional. That's was reflected in the bulk of media reporting.

    Third: Chris Matthews spent the entire Clinton Presidency slamming him, and voted for Bush in 2000 and 2004. While rightists may have convinced themselves he's liberal because of his vote for Obama in 2008 - who, remember, stood as a post partisan figure, and who indeed has a bi-partisan cabinet - doesn't make him representive of any "liberal agenda".

    Finally, Fox lies, almost constantly, and pushes the agenda that it alone is a speaker of truth with the rest of the media being against it and lying. That's why, for example, you saw it pushing the "Zimmerman really did kill Martin in self defense, because, uh, he says so! Yeah! And Martin was clearly suspicious what with him being black in a mixed race neighborhood and stuff!" crap last week. It wasn't that Fox is racist per-se, it's that as the rest of the media was reporting a particular story, it felt it had to posit a contrarian point of view, to advance the idea the rest of the media was always lying.

    Just because Fox might tell you what you want to hear doesn't mean you should trust it. You're being lied to.

  • Re:Arianna (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MaskedSlacker ( 911878 ) on Sunday April 01, 2012 @12:43AM (#39538749)

    Though personally I still think that news are supposed to be neutral, and that the whole idea that a news outfit can have a political slant is a perversion, regardless of the direction

    Historically speaking, you're completely wrong. Bias has been the norm since the invention of the printing press (and with it, newspapers). The idea that newspapers/stations/sites should be neutral is an aberration that was born, and died, in the 20th Century as a result of the sudden scarcity of preferred news media outlets (specifically television/radio licenses in the early decades following the invention of those technologies). Now that scarcity is once again no longer an issue (as it wasn't when print rags were the only option--and note that neutrality was never common in print rags except for the handful of 'national standard' papers), neutrality is no longer valued.

"Remember, extremism in the nondefense of moderation is not a virtue." -- Peter Neumann, about usenet