A freelance writer who successfully sued newspapers and magazines for copyright infringement filed a class-action lawsuit against the Huffington Post and AOL on Tuesday that seeks compensation for hundreds of unpaid contributors to the online publication, according to a posting by Paul Farhi at washingtonpost.com.
Since its founding by liberal activist and author Arianna Huffington in 2005, Huffington Post has grown into one of the most successful and heavily visited news and information sites on the Internet. But its practice of soliciting commentaries and other articles, some from celebrity authors such as Alec Baldwin, without paying for them has irritated some writers.
Tasini, in an interview, said HuffPost was engaging in breach of contract with its contributors because of an “implied promise” of compensation. “Some people were given some promises about future payments,” he said, declining to provide specifics.
He said his suit alleges that HuffPost’s owners, including Huffington herself, engaged in “unjust enrichment” by building a business on uncompensated labor and by accepting AOL’s buyout offer. “AOL would not have paid $315 million without the value [unpaid writers] created,” he said. “Arianna Huffington believes she and only she should pocket the money for the value created.”