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A group of bloggers intend to file a class action suit against Arianna Huffington and Aol later today, reports Jeff Bercovici.This is the same group of bloggers who began to complain loudly about writing for free for Huffington shortly after she sold her site to Aol for $315 million in early February.
Details about the case are thus far scant, but the focus seems to be on whether bloggers who wrote for free deserve to be paid now that Arianna has made so much money on their content.
This is a different complaint than one that may come from the many freelancers who were laid off in the last few weeks who may have some legal recourse of their own under New York State employment laws should it be determined the hours they were working were the the equivalent of full time (in which case Aol would owe them some sort of compensation).
Update: HuffPo spokesperson Mario Ruiz released the following statement to us:
The lawsuit is without merit. As we’ve said before, our bloggers use our platform – as well as other unpaid group blogs across the web — to connect and help their work be seen by as many people as possible. It’s the same reason hundreds of people go on TV shows to promote their views and ideas. HuffPost bloggers can cross-post their work on other sites, including their own. Aside from our group blog, to which thousands of people from around the world contribute, we operate a journalistic enterprise with hundreds of staff editors, writers, and reporters, all of whom have commensurate responsibilities — and all of whom are paid.
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