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Huffington Post dismisses lawsuit

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Huffington Post dismisses lawsuit

Arianna Huffington, co-founder of the open source site, The Huffington Post, has dismissed a lawsuit claiming compensation for unpaid bloggers as “utterly without merit”, writes AFP.

Huffington, who sold The Huffington Post to AOL two months ago for $315 million, said the vast majority of contributors to her news and opinion site are happy to do so for free because of the exposure it gives them.

Jonathan Tasini, a freelance journalist, sued The Huffington Post last Tuesday and is demanding at least $105 million for unpaid bloggers on the grounds that they should be compensated for the value they have created for the Web site.

The LA Times says one of the pundits she cited called it the “dumbest lawsuit ever,” and another said the suit was a sign that the US is becoming a “nation of Winklevosses,” in reference to twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, who, in lawsuits and court hearings, alleged that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg stole their idea for the social networking site.

Despite her belief that the suit should be dismissed, Huffington said it “touches on so many important issues about the current state of the media.”

Tasini's suit, which is seeking class-action status, was filed in a US District Court in New York and argues that writers who have worked for free for the Huffington Post are entitled to an estimated $105 million of the $315 million that AOL paid to buy the news and opinion site last month.

Huffington has accused Tasini and the bloggers of doing an about-turn after the sale of the site was complete, reports The UK Telegraph, quoting her as saying: “So, without a shadow of a doubt (legal or otherwise), Tasini understood and appreciated the value of having a post on HuffPost - and was only too happy to use our platform's ability to get his work seen by a wider audience and raise his profile when he was running for office.

“Until, years later, when he suddenly decided that he'd changed his mind... and that instead of providing a boost to his career and political aspirations, posting on our site was actually just like being a slave on a plantation (I wonder if slaves ever sent thank-you treats to their masters).”

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