Guy Who Sued Huffington Post For Not Paying Bloggers, Doesn't Pay Bloggers Who Contribute To His Site

from the not-getting-it dept

Incredible. Jonathan Tasini, the guy who filed that ridiculous lawsuit against the Huffington Post for not paying the bloggers who volunteered to write for free, apparently has a blog where he seeks out contributions from writers… and then, no, he doesn’t pay them. John Cook at Gawker called him up to ask about this, leading to the following, absolutely hilarious, exchange:

“It hasn’t had any ads in several years, but there were a couple unions that did buy some advertising,” he said. “They wanted to support the work I was doing.” So how much of that did he kick back to commenters and readers whose e-mails he ran? “There was never a thought that we would do that,” he said. “Oh, I see what you’re doing. Are you comparing my little blog to the Huffington Post? That’s absurd.”

Except, it’s not absurd. As far as I can tell, his argument is that the Huffington Post is different because it’s “successful,” whereas his blog is a failure, so it’s okay. Interesting legal theory, though I can’t see how it holds up in court.

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Comments on “Guy Who Sued Huffington Post For Not Paying Bloggers, Doesn't Pay Bloggers Who Contribute To His Site”

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30 Comments
Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Legally it might be absurd (depending on your lawyer’s talents), but Gawker wasn’t making a legal comparison. Both sites have unpaid contributors. Both sites (presumably) made it clear they would not be paying these contributors. And yet, Tasini feels HuffPo owes him money.

Anyone who contributed to his blog could make the same claim. He may have only made a small amount of money, but their claim to a share of it would be no more absurd (to use his word) than his claim to a share of the Huffington Post’s profits.

Anonymous Coward says:

“Oh, I see what you’re doing. Are you comparing my little blog to the Huffington Post? That’s absurd.”

Ah, the glimmerings of self-awareness. Being able to see what someone is doing is rare these days in businesspeople.
Now, if he can just look a little bit closer, think a little bit harder, and have just a tiny bit of empathy, then he’ll have the revelation that he and Arianna Huffington are the same: that her justification for not paying contributors is the same as his.

The eejit (profile) says:

Re: He's NOT a hypocrite!

no, they don’t. They REALLY don’t deserve to earn anything from HuffPo. What they deserve is nothing. What they earn, they have to earn themselves.

And if there was no money, then why would he say there is, and then deny those on his blog a share? That makes no sense, unless Tasini’s being a raging bloody douche.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: He's NOT a hypocrite!

I also think that requiring people to get paid for simply typing up a headline on some for-profit website is a ridiculous obstruction to free speech. Not all for-profit sites can afford to pay everyone that wants to post a headline, but if they have to, they will let fewer people post headlines or they may even let no one post anything. This will make it more difficult for those who are willing to post for free to get their opinions distributed. They may have to host their own website, websites cost money, and their isolated website may not benefit from the larger audience that a popular for-profit website could attract partly by allowing multiple people to post their opinion pieces on it. This will deter the distribution of their opinion which is an undue obstruction to free speech. While I generally tend to agree with having a minimum wage (though it really doesn’t make that big of a difference since most people get paid more than the minimum wage regardless), I think that in the case where a minimum wage can be a reasonable obstruction to free speech, free speech should prevail.

and many companies that sell tech and other items have discussion boards that allow people to ask for help and that allow anyone who signs up to answer. Those companies that sell tech items are for profit and they can benefit from these discussion boards too. Should an anonymous person who voluntarily answers a question for free about a product by posting a comment on a discussion board later be allowed to get paid minimum wage too?

I also think one significant difference is that people who post on Huffington post can post when they like from anywhere they like (as long as they have Internet access). Most hard labor jobs require you to be at place X every day (or whatever) from time x to time y (more or less) and they must work at least z hours a day/week or else they may lose their jobs. People who post to the Huffington post set the rules and they can post during their leisure time as part of their leisure, the Huffinton post is not telling them you must make at least x amount of posts per week or you must contribute y amount of your time per week, it’s more of a post as you like scenario.

(and if you don’t think that these governmental actions could curtail free speech, just look at how much the government has curtailed free speech outside the Internet. IP in this country is absolutely absurd yet any criticism about it would never make it over public airwaves or on cableco infrastructure thanks to the fact that the government grants monopoly power over public airwave and cableco infrastructure use. Yet the government started slowly eroding free speech over public airwaves with the claim that it will ensure there is enough media competition for free speech to continue, but today that’s far from true. They were wrong then and they don’t care enough to even make a single effort to fix the problem, why should I believe that they’re right now when it comes to Internet regulation? Why should I believe that their airwave and Internet regulations aren’t intended to hinder free speech? Their regulations hinder free speech and they don’t care because that’s what they want).

Billybird says:

Tasini suit

Maybe Mr. Tasini should sue the telephone companies too. The fact that people are paying to be able to receive his calls makes him an employee. How about medical and pension benefits? Count me in too.

I say that there should be a fee and a tax charged for every blog posting. Let’s say $10 + $10.

A tax on stupidity would provide an endless an infinite source of revenue.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: respect

Why? She (and her investors and web team, I guess) gave them a free platform, a growing audience, asked for nothing from them financially, took all the risks, made all the development happen, what the hell does she owe them?

How would she even begin to distribute cash disbursments? By the word? By the pageview? By one potato, two potato?

Maybe they should pay her back for the free service and exposure she provided.

Anonymou$ Coward? says:

Pay Me

As I am sure would be clear to anyone reading this comment, I, Anonymous Coward, have contributed at least HALF or more of the comments leading to increased debate and obvious interest at Techdirt for many years. In fact, sometimes my comments, pithy and succinct or otherwise, are far more in number than comments made by people with other names.

I feel this has made Techdirt very popular due directly to my own efforts and I think that Mike owes me a huge check for all the bushels of money he is bringing in by incorporating my talents to drive his readership up.

Ok Mike, I’m waiting *tapping foot*

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