Monthly Archive: April 2011

Johnathan Tasini Just Won’t Quit

Last week, labor activist and writer, John Tasini pledged a vendetta against Arianna Huffington, co-founder of The Huffington Post. Not only did he claim to personally make her life “a living hell”, but he also threatened to make her “a pariah in the progressive community” after comparing Huffington Post bloggers “modern day slaves”. Sounds completely sane, right? Tasini’s comments were made in light of a lawsuit he filed on the 12th of April against Arianna Huffington, The Huffington Post and its new parent company, AOL. Tasini is under the impression that unpaid site contributors, including himself, deserve a slice of the pie from the site’s $315 million buyout from AOL. How much does he want, exactly? No less than $105 million of course, after all he’s a reasonable guy. Weak Legal Theories So what is the basis of this lawsuit exactly? Well it brings up an interesting question: Should all content creators be paid by the media sites they provide for? If the law rules that they should, how will lack of free content affect the creative market? How will it be enforced? Although the questions are valid, the means of answering them are not, as a trial court relies more so on weak legal theories than moral decision making. The main legal theory that Tasini is riding on is unjust enrichment. The argument follows that The Huffington Post makes an enormous amount of revenue by allowing people to contribute to the site for free, in exchange for exposure. As the “entirety of the financial gain” goes to the site, while bloggers go unpaid, despite their content generating a portion of revenue, it can be argued that HuffPo has been unjustly enriched. The theory of unjust enrichment is targeted at cases in which there is no binding contract between any… Read more

Unpaid Bloggers Take Huffington Post to Court

One of Huffington Post’s many unpaid contributors has recently filed a $105 million law suit as of April 12, targeting the very site they’re writing for. The suit filed by Jonathon Tasini is against the Huffington Post, its co-founders Arianna Huffington and Kenneth Lerer and also its new owner: AOL. Jonathan’s official title is writer and union organizer, though a more accurate title would be to call him yet another Winklevoss twin, suing for the chance to earn some easy cash. For those who don’t know, the Winklevoss twins were cast in The Social Network, the movie about Facebook – but what’s more interesting is that these twins sued Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in 2004 for allegedly stealing their idea for Facebook. Four years later, the Winklevosses settled with Facebook for what is now worth $200 million, but later returned to court hoping to swindle even more out of the deal. Earlier in April, Judge Alex Kozinski denied the request. Kozinski did not have kind things to say about the ordeal, he wrote that the “Winklevosses are not the first parties bested by a competitor who then seek to gain through litigation what they were unable to achieve in the marketplace. … At some point, litigation must come to an end. That point has now been reached.” Which begs the question, if Kozinski was able to see through the Winklevosses swindle, why did the judge of the original settlement not reject the claim in the first place? If only we could advance the judicial system enough to throw gold diggers out in the street before they kick up such a fuss. Jesse Strauss, one of Tasini’s lawyers, conceded he was taking shots in the dark when he spoke to Jeff Bercovici of Forbes’. “The legal theory we’re going on is… Read more