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DEC
12
2 YEARS

HuffPo-Blogger Battle: Appeals Court Dismisses Attempt to Collect Unpaid Contributions

2nd Circuit says that writers understood that that they would receive compensation only in the form of exposure and promotion.

Arianna Huffington
Arianna Huffington.

The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals has denied an attempt by a group of bloggers to derive some benefit from AOL's $315 million acquisition of The Huffington Post.

In 2011, a class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of writers, led by freelance journalist Jonathan Tasini, who once prevailed against the The New York Times with respect to freelancers' digital rights. In the lawsuit, the writers alleged they were mistreated by HuffPo, that they agreed to write for the site in its infancy when it was an upstart that supported liberal causes. After the website was sold, though, they believed themselves entitled to some fair compensation.

On Wednesday, an appellate court affirmed a lower court's dismissal.

The 2nd Circuit ruled that a federal judge was right to dismiss causes of action including unjust enrichment and deceptive business practices.

According to the decision:

"Nowhere in the Amended Complaint do plaintiffs allege that The Huffington Post represented that their work was purely for public service or that The Huffington Post would not subsequently be sold to another company. To the contrary, plaintiffs were perfectly aware that The Huffington Post was a for-profit enterprise, which derived revenues from their submissions through advertising. Perhaps most importantly, at all times prior to the merger when they submitted their work to The Huffington Post, plaintiffs understood that they would receive compensation only in the form of exposure and promotion."

Here is the full ruling.

E-mail: eriq.gardner@thr.com; Twitter: @eriqgardner