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Unpaid bloggers to take Ariana Huffington to court

Former Huffington Post contributors have filed a $105m lawsuit over the sale of the website to inter

Huffington Boss founder, Arianna Huffington, and the website owner, AOL, are being sued by a group of former unpaid bloggers. The latter are angry that the website was sold - in $315m deal - without them receiving any retribution.

These bloggers are led by Jonathan Tasini, writer, trade unionist and author of 250 blog posts in the Huffingtion Post. He accused the website of turning "bloggers into modern day slaves on Arianna Huffington's plantation", insisting that those who "create content" should "be compensated".

Tasini has already participated in a lawsuit against a major media outlet. In 2001, he won a Supreme Court case against the New York Times. Judges concluded that freelance journalists should be consulted by their newspapers before they publish their contents online or on print.

The former blogger's lawyers have calculated that some 9000 people contributed to the Huffington Post website, helping to generate roughly a third of its value - thus the $105m sum, which corresponds to a third of the price paid by AOL to purchase the site.

Since it was founded in 2005, the Huffington Post has always relied on unpaid contributions. In a statement, the website defended its model, labelling the lawsuit as "baseless". "Our bloggers utilise our platform to connect and ensure that their ideas and views are seen by as many people as possible", the statement read.

Arianna Huffington had herself defended her corporate model in a recent visit to London aimed at launching a British version of her platform. She argued that most media outlets rely, to some extent, on unpaid workers, adding that "if people go on Newsnight, they don't get paid".