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April 13, 2011

Bloggers sue Huffington Post, AOL for $105m

Claim they have contributed to high valuation of website

By CBR Staff Writer

Former Huffington Post blogger Jonathon Tasini has filed a $105m class-action lawsuit against AOL and the Huffington Post for mistreatment of authors.

Tasini, on behalf of more than 9,000 bloggers, has accused the Huffington Post, which was recently acquired by AOL, for benefiting financially from content while not paying the authors.

Tasini blogged for the Huffington Post from late 2005 to February this year, just a few days after AOL announced it acquisition. Tasini has called fellow unpaid bloggers as "modern-day slaves on Arianna Huffington’s plantation."

The purchase had given rise to discussions among authors about whether some of that cash should reach the authors as compensation. Jonathon Tasini filed the suit in a New York federal court, saying the $315m acquisition prompted the move.

"If it were not for the labor of Plaintiff and the thousands of unpaid Class members on and for TheHuffingtonPost.com would not have been an attractive merger target and would have sold for at least $105 million less than the merger price of $315 million," says the complaint.

The Huffington Post has termed the class action "completely baseless." It said that the authors used the website to promote their views and ideas as people go on TV shows to do so.

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