The dangerous precedent of suing Arianna Huffington

Update below

Jeff Bercovici reports at Forbes that a group of Huffington Post bloggers are filing a lawsuit against the Huffington Post, claiming they deserved to be paid for their work. This lawsuit follows a proposed boycott from the Newspaper Guild, who urged HuffPo’s bloggers to stop writing for the AOL-owned site.

Bercovici shows absolutely no skepticism and fails to even mention the body of criticism that has been launched against such arguments. One could make a valid argument that writers shouldn’t write for free, but make no mistake: Huffington has always been completely transparent in her approach of not paying these writers. She provided a technology platform and audience — The Huffington Post — in exchange for these free blog posts. Whether you think this is a fair transaction is irrelevant to the law suit. If these writers were to succeed in their class-action lawsuit, then it would open the doors to further lawsuits to Facebook, Twitter, Livejournal, Daily Kos, and virtually every other technology platform for which people contribute content. Should Google start handing out checks to everyone who writes on its Blogspot accounts?

But Bercovici doesn’t appear to be interested in such arguments; he merely wishes to engage in stenography.

UPDATE: Perhaps I was too hasty in criticizing Bercovici’s lack of criticism of the HuffPo lawsuit.

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