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Unpaid HuffPo Bloggers File Class-Action Lawsuit

The Huffington Post’s unpaid bloggers now want a chunk of the site’s $315 million sale to AOL, and today they’re angling for it in the form of a class-action lawsuit.

Led by blogger and union organizer Jonathan Tasini (pictured), the bloggers announced the suit today, Forbes reports. Tasini’s name might sound familiar — as in “New York Times Co. vs. Tasini,” a lawsuit which sought compensation for freelancers whose Times articles had been included in electronic databases. That case was successful.

Tasini’s suit asks for $105 million for the bloggers. Peter Kafka of All Things Digital makes a good point about this effort: How can bloggers who willingly gave HuffPo their work for free now backtrack by claiming that they deserve to be paid?

As someone who makes digital content myself (I’ll let you guys judge its quality and engagement levels) I’m sympathetic to this kind of thinking. But only in a tears-in-beers kind of way, not a file-a-suit-in-federal-court kind of way.

Because I don’t understand where any of this is illegal. Just (arguably) unpleasant.

HuffPo argued that it was compensating its contributors with exposure. That’s always been the deal, and the contributors have already reaped whatever rewards that brings. Beyond that, it’s unclear what they can legitimately claim a stake in. Looks like we’ll find out soon enough.

Photo via Wikipedia: Thomas Good / NLN

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