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Daily Connect: An Ethical Dilemma - Should I Write for Huffington Post Again?
Submitted by Ethan Nichtern on Fri, 4/15/2011, 11:21am
As you may know, the Huffington Post was recently sold by Arianna Huffington and other owners for $315 million to AOL. Huffington herself, a minority partner, is apparently making somewhere between $14 and $30 million off the deal.
This has stirred up something of a controversy, since bloggers who provide the content for the site are not paid for their work. Huffington is now being sued by 9000 of those unpaid bloggers, led by Jonathan Tasini.
Huffington wrote a counterpoint as to the lack of merits of the lawsuit.
I have written four or five articles for Huffington Post, all of which have gotten a fair amount of attention, and the last two (Radical Buddhism and Mindful Social Networking) have gotten a lot of views. It's a great way to be part of a larger conversation in this globalized world.
Huffington argues very compellingly that there's no legal merits to the lawsuit, since no contract with a blogger has ever been violated. She writes:
"The key point that the lawsuit completely ignores (or perhaps fails to understand) is how new media, new technologies, and the linked economy have changed the game, enabling millions of people to shift their focus from passive observation to active participation -- from couch potato to self- expression."
I think she's absolutely write, legally.
But then there's that little thing that we seem to want to pretend doesn't exist - ethics. If an interdependent entity such as Huffington Post has arisen due to the work of thousands of people and the shared experience of millions, then how right is it for a tiny group to profit that much from a widely shared experience?
Do I want to write my next article for AOL, or do I want to help support and create platforms of interdependent ownership where both experience and benefits are more widely shared? I am unsure what to do.
This sounds like a question for What Would Sid Do (who also blogs for Huffpo). :~)
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