From Tasini To The Winklevi: Greed, Retroactively Breaking Deals And Feeling Entitled To What's Not Yours
from the sad dept
What's Winklevossian about Tasini's suit is his timing. Just as the twins were happy with their settlement until they realized that the money pot had grown, Tasini helped himself to the HuffPo platform, no questions asked, until he saw a Brinks truck arrive with the AOL cash.Elsewhere, Shafer notes that "we're becoming a nation of Winklevosses who file legal motion after legal motion every time a pot of money is spotted." Becoming? I'd argue that's been happening for quite some time. Over the years we've covered how nearly every super successful book or movie has someone jump out of the woodwork to claim that the idea was "copied."
Unpacking this deeper, I'd argue there are two key issues here. First, is that many people significantly overvalue an idea or a bit of content, assuming that it's worth much more than the structure or process around it. And, second, we've built a legal system in which all too often it pays for losers to litigate against those who succeed. There's a sense of entitlement that people feel towards anyone who succeeds, and people simply fail to recognize that they would never react the same way in the other direction. As I've pointed out before, if the writers, like Tasini, who are complaining or suing had received (for example) a job assignment due to their work on the Huffington Post, would they have given Arianna a cut of their earnings?
Unfortunately, our legal system often makes this kind of situation rewarding for the people who sue. It's often cheaper to settle such cases rather than let them go on, and that can be quite damaging to those who succeed. The basis of free market competition and innovation is that you reward the successes, not the failures. But all too often, our legal system is allowing the latter to happen.