November 15, 2010

Lawsuit goes after Arianna Huffington for stealing the idea for a website.

Politico reports:
“Huffington has styled herself as a ‘new media’ maven and an expert on the effective deployment of news and celebrity on the Internet in the service of political ends,” says the complaint. “As will be shown at trial, Huffington’s and Lerer’s image with respect to the Huffington Post is founded on false impressions and inaccuracies: They presented the ‘new media’ ideas and plans of Peter Daou and James Boyce as their own in order to raise money for the website and enhance their image, and breached their promises to work with Peter and James to develop the site together."...

Democrats need “to develop a dominant position within the Internet,” Daou said during an early meeting about the site, according to the complaint. “It is a system [for] pushing the message, not just for fundraising,” he allegedly said.

Huffington called the charge of stolen ideas and broken deals “a completely absurd, ludicrous supposition” from men whom she’d turned down for jobs on the site.
This might be interesting  — a stark presentation of the Huffington Post's political agenda. But, really, I'm not too impressed with this notion of stealing "the idea" for a business. Was there a contract or a partnership or not? And it's not much of an idea anyway — a "dominant" website with a political slant. The trick is to do it well and get the traffic. Anyone could try to do it. Huffington did it. Possibly because she picked the right people to work with, and it wasn't Boyce and Daou.
The lawsuit touches on the same legal frontiers of intellectual property and deal-making as did a famous lawsuit Facebook settled in 2008. The success of the suit, which seeks unspecified damages, will hinge on whether Daou and Boyce can prove they had offered “something more specific than a generalized notion” and that Huffington had agreed to make them part of the deal, said Dan Kornstein, a prominent New York litigator.
What is the "more specific" thing? The complaint says the idea was for "a collective of blogs by notable personalities, non-partisan news aggregation, issue-specific web pages, scoops and exclusives derived from the founders’ personal relationships with Democratic Party and media insiders, and online community-building, with the purpose of driving Internet traffic and ‘page views’ for politically progressive messaging.” I'm not impressed.

66 comments:

Quaestor said...

If Arianna were on fire I'd first weigh my options before pissing on her. However, I'm in her corner on this one.

Quaestor said...

How much you wanna bet Daou and Boyce's attorneys aren't on contingency?

EDH said...

Next they'll say marrying a rich, gay, Republican congressman was their idea.

traditionalguy said...

Stealing the idea of going into a business using modern tools sounds too broad to create a claim unless there is a written something...a letter of intent...something. The Statute of Frauds was an early Parliamentary reaction to this kind of after the fact blackmail using a swearing contest with nothing written down.

edutcher said...

Who cares if it's valid. Drag her into court and make her blow millions on somebody trying to take something from her.

She loves it when it's done to Republicans, let's see how she likes it done to her.

Lem said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chase said...

The most fascinating question here:

How does Billionaire Conservative Provocateur Andrew Brietbart's involvement in starting the Huffington Post play into this?

1jpb said...

A while back on Real Time, Breitbart was indicating that he was important to the start of HuffPo.

Maybe he'll sue next.

1jpb said...

I see that Chase got there first.

MadisonMan said...

No Lawsuits I hope will fail tag?

Ann Althouse said...

@MM I considered it, but thought that I might not have enough info to say that. I was inclined to put that on.

Seven Machos said...

"a collective of blogs by notable personalities, non-partisan news aggregation, issue-specific web pages, scoops and exclusives derived from the founders’ personal relationships with Democratic Party and media insiders, and online community-building, with the purpose of driving Internet traffic and ‘page views’ for politically progressive messaging.”

Shouldn't these guys be suing the New York Times?

The Crack Emcee said...

Whether the lawsuit succeeds or not, I'm still waiting for an explanation of how pissing off cancer surgeons and other doctors and scientists - by promoting snake oil and quackery - is considered "politically progressive messaging."

Then I'd like to how she got all these supposedly conservative and libertarian pundits not to exploit this obvious political weakness in her armor.

It's just bizarre - like when every journalistic body in America collectively decided not to report on the John Edwards scandal all at once.

The Crack Emcee said...

edutcher,

Who cares if it's valid. Drag her into court and make her blow millions on somebody trying to take something from her.

Exactly. I wonder what kind of politics you people are engaged in:

Destroy her.

The Crack Emcee said...

Wait - it's Arianna Huffington and you hope it fails? Are you kidding me?

She tried to swindle her way in to power in California.

She has a website that spreads political lies.

She helped kill kids by promoting anti-vaccine quackery on her website.

And you're rooting for her - for anything?

You guys can take the cake sometimes. Where's the high-and-mighty sense of morality (even from those of you on the Left) that I'm used to here?

Penny said...

According to Politico, they had a handshake agreement.

Isn't that what they used to call a gentleman's agreement?

traditionalguy said...

The idea of using a website in the news and opinion business is not much of a suggestion. That is like advising the use of pens and paper in an accounting business. OK, so what. Why not sue Drudge for using your special idea long before you shared it with Huffington?

Maguro said...

Shouldn't these guys be suing the New York Times?

LOL.

Penny said...

"Why not sue Drudge for using your special idea long before you shared it with Huffington?"

Actually, tg, it was Huffington's people who said they were looking for a mirror image of Drudge for the left. That is certainly not the Huffington Post's current format. They are pretty much an online newspaper for progressives, with regular topics that go well beyond politics.

Quaestor said...

Crack wrote: She tried to swindle her way in to power in California. She has a website that spreads political lies. She helped kill kids by promoting anti-vaccine quackery on her website. And you're rooting for her - for anything.

All true, and that's why I said an Arianna Huffington on fire is a matter of some indifference to me (or words to that effect) However, I don't think the definition of intellectual property needs to be loosened, which would follow if this suit is upheld in court. Huff-n-puff will eventually be hoist on her own petard, but we innocents should avoid getting splattered with her guts.

The Crack Emcee said...

They are pretty much an online newspaper for progressives, with regular topics that go well beyond politics.

Yea, like killing kids. Very progressive.

The Crack Emcee said...

Arianna Huffington on fire

That's the spirit!

I know, I know - we're not Iran. So how about this:

The legal equivalent of pointing a six-gun at her feet and screaming, "Dance!"?

Anybody? Beuller?

Penny said...

Whoever came up with the idea, came up with a winner, political preferences aside. As far as I know, the design was unique, and frankly, much more like a newspaper than anything out there that wasn't also a print newspaper.

They also deserve blame, or credit if you prefer, for fuzzing up that line between journalism and blogging.

The Crack Emcee said...

Penny,

Whoever came up with the idea, came up with a winner, political preferences aside.

Excuse me, but fucking shit up ain't "a winner" - it's a target.

You guys let relativism take you to some weird places.

former law student said...

Remember when Facebook was just Friendster for college students? I smell LAWSUIT.

Seven Machos said...

Crack -- Competition is good. I don't care if she's a quack or a hack or a swindler. So what? The most important things we can do as a country is promote free enterprise and free speech.

You remind of all the people who hate Fox News.

Chip Ahoy said...

This reminds me. I must download some torrents of Green Acres. That show cracks me up.

Quaestor said...

Chip wrote: This reminds me. I must download some torrents of Green Acres. That show cracks me up.

Why? Because Huffington's accent reminds you of Eva Gabor?

Seven Machos said...

The schtorres!

Huffington's pancakes are better.

Quaestor said...

But Eva's pancakes could be used as a header gasket in a pinch.

Seven Machos said...

That's true. Plus, the supporting cast of nerds and wonks at Huffington Post isn't nearly so interesting as the Ziffles and that painter girl.

Quaestor said...

But I think she called them "hotzacakes"

Vell, I zinks she did. Yes? No?

Quaestor said...

I think Mr. Hainey left Hooterville for a caninet post in the Obama administration

Quaestor said...

cabinet! damnit.

wv: chancon - sing it with a C

Quaestor said...

Oliver Wendell Douglas.

Olivah!

Quaestor said...

Never mind me. Just a little "Green acres" free association.

wv: saiopcom - Nothing funny going on here, Move along. No kidding, move along! Alright look if you must. Y'see? It's crap. What'd I tell ya?

Titus said...

I am going deer hunting this weekend with my dad at our Dear Lodge which is in Bruce, Wisconsin. 200 acres of nothing. The water is pumped, the generator turned on and the heat comes from a stove that you burn wood in. The property is on the Mighty Chipper. We will be hunting along the property as well as going up into the Blue Hills. I am excited yet a little concerned that I won't do well. There is bears up there, grrrllll. Pinching Loafs will be taken outside in the outdoor toilet.

My dad purchased this property 50 years ago for $10 an acre and now it is worth 2000 an acre-that will be my money all mine.

I thought you could be cute to build a tiny eco green cottage there about the size of 800 sq feet and live with one with the land. In the winter the road closes so you have to snowmobile back to the site.

The cabin does have memories for me though. When I las like 8 or 9 one his 50 something friends touched my hog and had be touch his hog until "soap came out. I never told my dad though. That friend died of a heart attack up there 22 years ago-I blamed it on him touching my 8 year old hog.

Wish me luck does and bucks, natch.

Titus said...

I will be in all orange this weekend. Orange is generally not my color. Also, I will be put up a tree to sit in for hours in hopes that a deer walks by and I blast it's head off. On my IPOD I will likely me listening to Bartok.

thankyou.

Titus said...

Butterscoth candies are the chose of what to suck on when you are in the woods hunting Deer. Always have been, always will be.

As I recall there is quite a bit of farting as well.

Quaestor said...

Bartok? As theme music for a deer hunt? Parish the thought, dear Titus.
"Forest Murmurs" from Sigfried is the music to slay Bambi by.

wv: patioloc - how Plain secures the concrete slab

Titus said...

I had a rich gay man who was in love me. He was British a Tory. We was a VP of International Book Publishing for Time Warner, where i worked at the time. He took me to Frankfort for the Big Book Show, Wimbledon, Paris, Ebiza, NYC, I met his family which were wonderful people. I just didn't like him. He also gave me money. He told me were just friends. One year alone he gave e over 100k-at that point I could deal with the obligation of always having to see them. He had a beautiful home on Beacon Hill where I would have wild parties when he wasn't in town.

He then called me to tell me he had cancer and was going to die and needed the money back. I told him I didn't have it but rather spent it on a cottage in Ptown. I didn't believe he was really going to die because was a big BS'er. I stopped seeing him or taking his calls. Then I read in a PUblishing Trade paper that he did really die from cancer...weird. He's gone but I am still renting out the cottage from the money he gave me.

Life works in strange ways.

Titus said...

I also would like to clarify that I never ever had sex with him.

Thank you

Titus said...

ohn Lyon, v-p and managing director of Time Warner Trade Publishing's international division, died in a Boston hospital May 29 after a long struggle with leukemia. He was 51. Born in England, Lyon spent nearly three decades developing international sales for a variety of publishers before joining Little, Brown in 1995. He began at Michael Joseph in 1974, became director of international sales there in 1982, and in 1985, when it was acquired by Penguin, he fulfilled that role for Hamish Hamilton and Viking as well. He moved to a new start-up, Sinclair-Stevenson, in 1990, and in 1992 joined Transworld for three years before moving to Boston to join Little, Brown.

Good Bye John, the cottage has done well.

Methadras said...

Penny said...

According to Politico, they had a handshake agreement.

Isn't that what they used to call a gentleman's agreement?


Yes, but she's a lady, you see.

dave in boca said...

Looking back on Arianna's career, she's the ultimate golddigger and whatever the rights and wrongs in this particular instance, she's been leeching and mooching from just about everyone on the right and then left since she stained our shores with her bad Zsa Zsa imitation.

At least Tina Brown had brains and some knowledge of the publishing industry, but Zsa Zsa piggybacked her way leftward after she found she wasn't invited to Hollyweird cocktail parties if she was a Repub.

She's bled her "spouse" Huffington dry and now has a little patch of what she could call her own, if she can beat off the other predators over there on the portside.

rhhardin said...

Also, beyond the intellectual property law, everything you learned about intellectual property is wrong.

It's primarily for monopoly rent-seeking, and doesn't enhance creativity. If anything, it suppresses creativity.

Ideas are non-rivalrous. If I use an idea, it doesn't keep you from using the idea. I don't take anything from you and vice versa, except those monopoly rents, a favorite idea of lobbyists.

The correct competition is in variation to make the idea wider spread or more useful or cheaper.

A whole podcast on this startling realization here with Michele Boldrin.

Repeal the whole stinking mess.

Let IP lawyers go back to flipping burgers.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Shouldn't these guys be suing the New York Times?

But Daou and Boyce's idea included non-partisan news aggregation, so I think the NYT is safe.

edutcher said...

The Crack Emcee said...
edutcher,

Who cares if it's valid. Drag her into court and make her blow millions on somebody trying to take something from her.

Exactly. I wonder what kind of politics you people are engaged in:

Destroy her.


Lighten up. It's called schaudenfreude

Pogo said...

I'll bet they also wrote George Harrison's My Sweet Lord.

Pogo said...

Which in fact was my composition, done when I was just 6 years old.

Goddamned Beatles stole everything.

Pogo said...

I also invented Post-Its.

They are really lucrative.

The Crack Emcee said...

7M,

Crack -- Competition is good. I don't care if she's a quack or a hack or a swindler. So what? The most important things we can do as a country is promote free enterprise and free speech.

You remind of all the people who hate Fox News.


Not you, too?

Somehow talking this way about an online rag which is run by a *confirmed* cultist, liar, and idiotic exploitation artist/golddigger, that's insisted on promoting quackery and snake oil - which has pissed off medical professionals and resulted in the deaths of children (something I'm stumped you'd overlook) - and has employed people so unhinged they've murdered others by stabbing them 200 times, is reduced to a mere conversation about "competition"?

For what? Bomb-making manuals?

Really?

And as far as the rest: Has FOX been proven to have gotten anybody killed? The Puffington Host has - doctors have been saying so regularly. So how unhinged am I? Or is it you, who's now reminding me of these NewAgers who's lost their bearings to the point where they don't know the difference between rat poison and the fat content of a Big Mac? (Oh, that's just food "competition" right?)

You shame yourself, 7M. You're supposed to be one of the smart ones. I don't rail against everybody, or everything. (You've never heard me call, say, Joe Biden a NewAger, have you?) If you think about it, I'm very specific. If I say someone or something is tainted, it's because that's what someone wanted to show the world when they thought it was safe - when they thought no one, like me, was looking or cared. Few understand NewAge, like me and TraditionalGuy, and that's a fact. The rest of you have accepted evil (and that's what it is) as normal, and thus, as part of your outlook. Ann "expects" nudity and sex in fashion photo shoots taking place in a law library - I (and others) "expect" to see clothes - who's right?

This idea, that clear thinking is what's unhinged and must be chased from polite company, is the essence of NewAge's influence.

The Crack Emcee said...

You guys are going to have to start catching yourselves when you make statements like this:

I don't care if she's a quack or a hack or a swindler.

Because - as I've said countless times - when you "don't care" you give others the freedom not to either.

Somebody could get hurt.

The Crack Emcee said...

Here - an anniversary is coming up for all of you who "don't care" if someone's "a quack or a hack or a swindler".

Now go wash the blood off your hands before you touch the keyboard again.

The Crack Emcee said...

And let's not forget:

Harry Reid ran the best campaign of the 2010 election season. How?

"He saw what he had to do — grimly tear down his opponent — and he did it."

That's politics - and Arianna Huffington deserves our best.

Fen said...

edutcher: Who cares if it's valid. Drag her into court and make her blow millions on somebody trying to take something from her.

She loves it when it's done to Republicans, let's see how she likes it done to her


This.

Huffpo is a propaganda mill. Let the little eichmann bitch twist in the wind.

Ann Althouse said...

@Crack Your attitude toward the rule of law is much worse than New Age. People can decide, using their own brains, whether to deal in superstition and phony religion and medicine. Using the courts aggressively is another matter. Your approach to law is quite evil. Would you cheer if she were falsely accused of a crime and imprisoned -- because you don't like other things about her?

Pogo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Crack Emcee said...

People can decide, using their own brains, whether to deal in superstition and phony religion and medicine.

Ha! - if that were true there wouldn't be a NewAge, or quackery or snake oil. The whole point is to swindle people. That's fraud - a crime Boomers, especially, seem relunctant to confess to or accept:

"Sexy Sadie, what have you done? You made a fool of everyone."

Are you, Ann, going to admit you're part of a generation of fools?

That's the problem - not me being aware of who my generation had to follow - but your generation's unwillingness to cop to it.

Hell, you can't even admit to fucking up on Obama - resorting instead to criticizing him without taking blame - and still expecting those of us behind you not to notice.

It's bullshit, Ann. Our nation is going down the tubes - specifically because of you guys - and it's only because the rest of us are aggressively attacking everything you believe in (and fear of what's to come) that anything's getting done about it.

I'm sorry but you lie.

WV: "Subberia" - the place that's in worse shape than Siberia.

The Crack Emcee said...

Would you cheer if she were falsely accused of a crime and imprisoned -- because you don't like other things about her?

Let's see:

There are kids who are dead because of her, while she walks free and lives in the lap of luxury.

Yep, I'd go for that.

And I like how those dead kids are repeatedly being reduced to/excused as how I "don't like other things about her". I'm sure the parents of the dead kids "don't like other things about her", too. Would you say this stuff standing at their funerals? Really - who's being cruel and evil now?

I think forcing the rest of us - who have/had absolutely nothing to do with the sick Boomer culture but to watch it unfold - to live with the results of your mindless folly is what's evil, and I've got the dead bodies to prove it. What you got?

A generational self-righteous sense of smug - and nothing more.

The Crack Emcee said...

Sorry, Ann:

You ain't stardust and you ain't golden.

You're sitting in a pile of your own shit, calling it gold, just as the Maharishi taught you.

The Crack Emcee said...

I am a Bush Baby, and just as he was willing to abandon capitalism in order to save it, I'm willing to abandon the rule of law in order to finally establish it.

What's important is doing what's right - not what looks right.

Titus said...

I would do Peter Daou.

deborah said...

Two word, Crackster: nicotine patch.

The Crack Emcee said...

deb,

Two word, Crackster: nicotine patch.

You guys really are incredible:

Somebody squeezes your balls, or tits, at the airport and it's a big enough issue that Ann won't fly and the rest of you are all concerned.

But somebody causes kids to get killed and Ann will play ball and the rest of you "don't care".

"Real Time with Bill Maher" must be waaay more influential than I'd ever imagined.

BJM said...

It's not the first accusation that Huffington steals other people's work, now is it?