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Tasini_et_al._v._Huffington_et_al._Filed_Complaint_April_12_2011

Tasini_et_al._v._Huffington_et_al._Filed_Complaint_April_12_2011

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Published by Sam Gustin

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Published by: Sam Gustin on Apr 12, 2011
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04/12/2011

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JonathanTasini,individuallyandonbehalfofallotherssimilarlysituated,Plaintiffs,
v.
AOLInc.,TheHuffintonPost.Com,Inc.,AriannaHuffingtonandKennethLererDefendants.
ECFCASE
CIVILACTION:JURYTRIALDEMANDED
CLASSACTIONCOMPLAINT
PlaintiffandputativeClassRepresentativeJonathanTasini("Tasini"or"Plaintiff"),bringsthisactionbothindividuallyandonbehalfofdamagesandinjunctivereliefclasses(collectively,"theClasses,"asfurtherdefinedherein),allegingasfortheirClassActionComplaintagainstDefendantsAOLInc.("AOL"),TheHuffingtonPost.com,Inc.("TheHuffingtonPost.com"),AriannaHuffingtonandKennethLerer,uponpersonalknowledgeastohimselfandastoallothermattersuponinformationandbelief,basedon,
interalia,
theinvestigationmadebyhisattorneyssignedbelow,asfollows:
PRELIMINARYSTATEMENT
1.Thisactionseekstovindicatethefundamentalprinciplethatthecreatorsofvaluedeservetobecompensatedand,inparticular,addressestheimportantissuesof(a)whetherinthedigitalage,profitabledigitalmediasitesshouldberequiredtocompensatethecreatorsofvaluablecontentfromwhichsuchsitesderivesubstantialrevenuesand(b)ifso,howthecreatorsofcontentshouldbecompensated.
 
2.TheHuffingtonPost.comhasbeenunjustlyenrichedbyengaginginandcontinuingtoengageinthepracticeofgeneratingenormousprofitsbyluringcarefully-vettedcontributors,withtheprospectof"exposure"(whichTheHuffingtonPost.comdeceptivelyfailstoverify),toprovidevaluablecontentatnocosttoTheHuffingtonPost.com,whilereapingtheentiretyofthefinancialgainderivedfromsuchcontent.3.DuetothevaluableanduncompensatedeffortsofPlaintiffandtheClasses,thecostofhighqualitycontentattheTheHuffingtonPost.comwas,andcontinuestobe,extremelylow,makingTheHuffingtonPost.comanextremelyvaluableinternetproperty.Assetforthbelow,whenTheHuffingtonPost.comwasrecentlyacquiredbyAOLfor$315million,thevalueaddedbythecontentprovidedbyPlaintiffandtheClassestoTheHuffingtonPost.com'spricewasatleast$105million,noneofwhichwassharedwithPlaintiffandtheClasses.4.TheinjusticeexperiencedbyPlaintiffandtheClassesiscompoundedbythefactthatPlaintiffandtheClasseswereselected,andinsomecasessought,byDefendantsbecauseoftheirabilitytoproducehighquality,engaging,contentfortheTheHuffingtonPost.com.ThecontentprovidedbythePlaintiffandtheClassesdrove,andcontinuestodrive,internettraffictoTheHuffingtonPost.com,creatingrevenueforthatenterprise,noneofwhichissharedwithPlaintiffandtheClasses.5.Moreover,PlaintiffandtheClasseswere,andcontinuetobe,askedtodriveinternettraffictoTheHuffingtonPost.combyusingsocialnetworkingmediaandtoadviseinternetusersofthevaluablecontenttheyprovidedtoTheHuffingtonPost.com,andbysodoingincreaseinternettraffictoTheHuffingtonPost.com.6.Finally,andperhapsmostimportantly,TheHuffingtonPost.com'scontinuedassertionthatit,alone,shouldbeenrichedbythevaluablecontentprovidedbyPlaintiffandthe
2
 
ClasseshasthebroaddetrimentaleffectofsettinganartificiallylowpriceforthevaluabledigitalcontentcreatedbyPlaintiffandtheClasses,depressingthemarketforsuchcontentand,overthelongterm,havingaseriousdepressingeffectonthevalueofintellectualcontentbeingcreatedbyPlaintiffandtheClassesandontheabilityofPlaintiffandtheClassestosupportthemselvesascreatorsofhighquality,engaging,digitalcontent.AccordingtoArticle1,Section8oftheUnitedStatesConstitution,thepurposeofcopyrightis"topromotetheProgressofScienceandusefulArts"byallowingcreatorstobeappropriatelycompensatedfortheircontributions.Yet,despiteourfounders'intent,TheHuffingtonPost.comcontinuestoassertthatit,alone,shouldbeenrichedbythevaluablecontentprovidedbyPlaintiffandtheClasses.7.Assetforthwithin,thisactionisinstitutedinaccordancewithandtoremedyDefendants'inequitable,unfair,unlawfulandunjustgainattheexpenseofthePlaintiffandtheClasses.PlaintiffandtheClassesbringthisactionbothindividuallyandasaclassactiontorecoverdamagesandtoenjoinDefendants'unlawfulconductasitaffectstheClasses.8.Defendants'mistreatmentofPlaintiffandtheClasseswasinfactindiscriminate,occurrmgintheregularcourseofDefendants'businessthroughouttheUnitedStatesandCanada,wherebyPlaintiffandtheClassesweretreatedinthesamegeneralmannerbyDefendants.9.PlaintiffandtheClassesthereforeseektorecoveractual,statutory,treble,andotherdamagesaswellasdeclaratory,injunctiveandequitablerelief(assetforthbelow,declaratoryandinjunctivereliefisonlyrequestedbythe"DeclaratoryandInjunctiveReliefClass"),togetherwithreasonableattorneys'feesandcosts.
PARTIESPLAINTIFFANDTHE
CLASSES
3

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