HuffPo vs Tasini

Andrew Sullivan —  Apr 14 2011 @ 12:24pm

It seems pretty obvious that the lawsuit pursued by Antony Tasini against the HuffPo is going nowhere. As Matt Welch notes, no one forced anyone to contribute blog posts to the site for free and the market for "reporting-free bloviation" is, to put it mildly, glutted.

And, as Arianna claims,

Free content — shared by people who want to connect, share their passions, and have their opinions heard — fuels much of what appears on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Yelp, Foursquare, TripAdvisor, Flickr, and YouTube. As John Hrvatska, a commenter on the New York Times, wrote of the Tasini suit, "So, does this mean when YouTube was sold to Google that all the people who posted videos on YouTube should have been compensated?" (And Mr. Hrvatska no doubt contributed that original and well-reasoned thought without any expectation he'd be paid for it. He just wanted to weigh in.)

But there's a reason, isn't there, that some HuffPo bloggers – the more high-profile and high-trafficked ones – felt aggrieved when Arianna made off with $300 million from AOL? I think they contributed more to the HuffPo than an occasional uploader does to YouTube. She had every right to do what she did, and her marketing skills that made the HuffPo what it became, but it understandably leaves a little sour taste in the mouth for those who helped give the site readership and cachet and an identity, for nothing. There is a smidgeon of unfairness here, no? Even if it has no legal standing. They were kind of had in their pursuit of a spotlight.