Monthly Archive: May 2014

Arianna Huffington Opts for Settlement in Huffington Post Theft Lawsuit

The lawsuit against Arianna Huffington and Kenneth Lerer, co-founders of The Huffington Post has finally been settled. Democratic consultants Peter Daou and James Boyce accused the HuffPo founders of stealing their idea for the website back in 2004, which was proposed as a Democratic alternative to other prominent conservative news sites of the time. President and editor-in-chief of the AOL Huffington Post Media Group, Arianna Huffington. The plaintiffs claim that Huffington backstabbed Daou and Boyce after them agreeing to work on the project. Huffington allegedly underwent a joint proposal with potential investors secretly, and managed to raise $1 million without notifying Daou and Boyce, after which she dropped them from the project altogether. Although some accusations were shut down by the court, the judge allowed claims for idea misappropriation, fraud and unjust enrichment to advance. Huffington has denied all accusations of theft and attempted to win the case on a summary judgement motion last year. “The combination of pre-existing elements, what plaintiffs allege here, is not novel as a matter of law,” read the motion. “The record is clear, and plaintiffs concede, that each of the elements of their alleged idea existed in varying forms, on countless websites, prior to November 2004, when plaintiffs disclosed their idea to defendants.” Judge Charles Ramos allowed the case to continue to trial last February and engaged with Huffington’s attorney, Leslie Fagen, in an interesting debate about original content on the internet. He was quoted as saying: “Every idea that’s protected as novel is not really novel in that it’s based upon something that came before it…Every tool has elements that are not novel, but at some point that tool becomes novel. There’s something that’s added to the existing elements that makes it protectable. It seems a bit arbitrary and it’s very, very difficult… Read more