The plaintiffs plan to appeal the decision. Their argument is that an unconscionable unwritten contract can't supersede Wage and Hour Laws. Slavery is still illegal, even if the slaves seem happy. Maybe this is the case that will finally make Justice Clarence Thomas open his mouth. But I doubt it.
Arianna, meanwhile, has just blogged from one of the many international greedwashing-disguised-as-do-gooder forums for the One Percent that she attends on a regular basis. Ironically, during the same week that her starving stable of former writers was getting thrown under the bus in court, she was at Oxford for something called the Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship. This is yet another pricey confab where the global elites can gather, preen and brag about how they have the power to make the lives of the lesser people (excluding unpaid writers) throughout the world so much better. Attendance was by invitation only -- but, gushed Arianna, "I wish everyone could be here!"
As usual, today's Arianna blog is all about Arianna and her crocodile tears, and not the details of the hopeless people the convention purportedly addressed. No mention of how this hypocritical author of Third World America is getting to keep that contested third of her AOL haul, thanks to the American judicial system:
It was exhilarating -- and deeply moving -- to hear example after example of social entrepreneurs making quantifiable improvements in lives all around the world. As Stephan Chambers, chairman of the Skoll Centre, put it: "I have cried every day this week. Remember as I tell you this, that I'm male. And British. And from Oxford." I actually cried every hour. But, remember, I'm female. And Greek. And from Cambridge. I also cried when Roy Sekoff, our founding editor, texted me that his father, Arthur, had passed away. Besides being a huge supporter of HuffPost (which he rightly felt contained some of his funny, feisty, passionate DNA), he was an eagle-eyed evaluator of my hair whenever I appeared on TV -- good or bad, he let me know about it.But enough about your coiffure, Arianna. Let's get back to that court case. The lead plaintiff was labor activist Jonathan Tasini, who wrote over 200 blogposts for the crying kleptocratista.
He framed the suit as a class action on behalf of an estimated 9,000 bloggers for the website. Now living in Sydney, where he is writing a book and blogging at www.workinglife.org, Tasini (said) that he planned to keep up the fight for compensation. "We're using the lawsuit to spark a movement and an organising effort among bloggers to set a standard for the future because this idea that all individual creators should work for free is like a cancer spreading through every media property on the globe."Tasini is the same journalist who once successfully sued The New York Times for copyright infringement. The 2001 Supreme Court ruling in his favor stated that the newspaper wrongfully re-licensed his and other freelancers' published work. The paper was found to have illegally profited by selling their work to such independent data bases as LexisNexis, and it was ordered to award the pool of plaintiffs $18 million.
(I have never submitted an op-ed to The Times, but as part of the caveat for posting comments, they absolve themselves from liability for your content at the same time they reserve their rights to same. The Gray Lady, like any royal, shall have her cake and eat it too -- she can use readers' work in the future, for whatever purpose she wishes. One change made about a year ago is that readers' comments are no longer searchable via Google or other engines. And of course, readers wishing to comment more than 10 times a month must now pay for the privilege, as per the paywall*. The Times also generates revenue via its Google-ized ads on the readers comment pages. That's the main reason I don't submit comments as much as I used to.)
When Tasini filed his lawsuit last year, Arianna was deeply affronted that some people are just not willing to be slaves. You should be grateful we don't pay you, she says, because working for free amounts to Freedom itself! Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose. From the Los Angeles Times:
But while our staff writers have deadlines and commitments, as well as specific assignments, our bloggers can post as frequently or infrequently as they like -- and write about whatever they like, whenever they like, or not at all," Huffington said. "On top of that, they can crosspost their work on their own sites or elsewhere -- they own the rights to their work and can repurpose it in any way they choose."
People blog on HuffPost for free for the same reason they go on cable TV shows every night for free: either because they are passionate about their ideas or because they have something to promote and want exposure to large and multiple audiences," Huffington said. "Our bloggers are repeatedly invited on TV to discuss their posts and have received everything from paid speech opportunities and book deals to a TV show."If you thought Arianna might have been so upset by the lawsuit that she took Tasini's posts off her site, you'd be wrong. They are there forever, generating ad revenue ad infinitum, enriching the Huffington heirs and investors for generations to come.
But do check out Tasini's blog, linked above. He calls New York Times reporters "dolts" in one recent entry. Made my day.
* In theory. The Times today reduced its number of freebies from 20 to 10. I guess it was their idea of playing an April Fools joke on the 99%.