March 30, 2012

#HuffPost bloggers get #DarwinAward, legal equivalent

A U.S. District judge has dismissed with prejudice (note that) a suit 9,000 bloggers filed against Huffington Post, rejecting their claim to be entitled to a $105 million cut of the pie from the Greek Goddess' merger with AOL.

This is why it's a Darwin Award, legal equivalent. From the story:
U.S. District Judge John Koeltl said "no one forced" the bloggers to repeatedly provide their work with no expectation of being paid, and said they got what they bargained for when their works were published.

"The principles of equity and good conscience do not justify giving the plaintiffs a piece of the purchase price when they never expected to be paid, repeatedly agreed to the same bargain, and went into the arrangement with eyes wide open," the judge wrote.

Koeltl also dismissed claims that AOL materially misled the bloggers about how often their works were being viewed, and how much revenue they were generating. 

To go into more detail.

First, the bloggers were blogging for free before a merger. To riff on Yeshua bar Yusuf's vineyard, you blog for no denarius earlier, you blog for no denarius later.

Second, Arianna had a history of things like plagiarism before the merger. You knew who you were dancing with all along.

Third, before her (fame and finance driven) self-reinvention, she was married to a rich conservative. More "history."

Fourth, from the story, more Drwin Award level stuff:

Jeff Kurzon, a lawyer for the bloggers, said, "We are reviewing the decision and considering our options."
Really? Are you, as a lawyer, too dumb to get the "with prejudice" part of the ruling? Or, are you gambling that a fair chunk of the 9K suing bloggers are that dumb? In that  case YOU are the one who should be sued, Mr. Kurzon.

Per friend Leo Lincourt, there may  be moral issues here, but they were evident before the merger. I think a fair chunk of the bloggers are probaby less idealistic than they claim, perhaps a bit like a fair chunk of OWS supporters who suddenly discovered how evil Wall Street was when it wouldn't hire them.

Fact is, these bloggers have a bit of recourse, at least, still today.

First, how many of you 9K are STILL blogging for HuffPost? STOP IT! You're now part of the problem, not the solution.

Second, take the next step. If you still read any paid blogger on HuffPost, STOP IT! Even if you can't read their particular thoughts anywhere else. 

Third, tell your favorite paid bloggers what you're doing, and why.

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