Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Unpaid Huffington Post Bloggers Remain Unpaid

Turns out you can’t give away your work, then demand to get paid after the fact.

What? You already knew this? Then you were ahead of the U.S. judicial system, which had to spend the last year on a silly class-action suit brought by a former Huffington Post contributor.

Jonathan Tasini, who compared himself and other unpaid HuffPo writers to “modern-day slaves,” was demanding a third of the $315 million Arianna Huffington and her backers got when they sold the company to AOL last year. The logic: He helped build the site up, and, well …

Not really any more logic than that, really. Tasini and other contributors agreed to write for free from the get-go.

U.S. District Judge John Koeltl has a 24-page decision dismissing Tasini’s complaint with prejudice, and I’ve embedded it at the bottom of this post. But I’m not suggesting you read it. Here’s the common-sense essence:

No one forced the plaintiffs to give their work to The Huffington Post for publication and the plantiffs candidly admit that they did not expect compensation … Quite simply, the plaintiffs offered a service and the defendants offered exposure in return, and the transaction occurred exactly as advertised.

Any questions? Right. So here’s the Red Hot Chili Peppers:

huffington post blogging case

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work