Consultants sue HuffPo, say site was their idea

Nov 18, 2010 By JENNIFER PELTZ , Associated Press

(AP) -- Two Democratic political consultants say The Huffington Post's founders stole their blueprint for the popular news-and-views website, and they're suing to get what they say is their rightful credit - and money.

Peter Daou and James Boyce say they came up with the site's signature blend of blogs by prominent people, news aggregation, original reporting and online community-building, originally envisioned as a liberal counterpoint to such conservative-tilting sites as the Drudge Report.

In a statement, co-founders Arianna Huffington and Kenneth Lerer called the claims "pure fantasy."

The site has become an online colossus, built on the idea of shared effort. It has made the top 10 current events and global news sites, launched city-specific pages and developed a roster of sections such as food and books. The work of its 70-person paid staff is augmented by content from news outlets and 6,000 bloggers who write for free.

Daou and Boyce say they repeatedly discussed their plan in detail with Huffington and Lerer in 2004 and responded to a request from them for specifics, believed they were all partners, communicated with at least one potential investor and suggested some of the celebrity contributors who ended up writing for the site.

Huffington and Lerer used their ideas to raise millions of dollars and develop the site but cut the consultants out before it was launched in May 2005, according to the lawsuit, filed Monday in a Manhattan state court.

"The reality of Peter's and James' role in the conception and creation of the site has been erased from history, and Peter and James have never been compensated for their participation in the joint venture," says the lawsuit.

It seeks unspecified damages. Daou, who was then-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's Web director during her 2008 presidential run, and Boyce, who runs a new-media consulting firm, said in a statement they would donate proceeds from the lawsuit to progressive causes and online writers.

"How noble," Huffington and Lerer retorted in their statement.

Boyce and Daou "had absolutely nothing to do with creating, running, financing, or building the Huffington Post," the two said, calling the consultants' claims "ludicrous."

Huffington and Lerer said they talked with Boyce and Daou and got a memo from them that "incorporated some of our thinking about the site and proposed that they come work for us" as employees, not partners.

"We declined and moved ahead with our plans," Huffington and Lerer wrote.

Politico first reported the lawsuit.

Explore further: Putin signs law seen as crimping social media

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Hackers mimic Huffington Post's Twitter feed

Jan 03, 2010

(AP) -- A Huffington Post spokesman says the left-leaning news and opinion Web site was not hacked when a Twitter social network feed emerged in its name and began issuing insults with a conservative bent.

Pulitzer Board elects Politico co-founder

Dec 07, 2009

(AP) -- The Pulitzer Prize Board has elected its first member representing a primarily online news organization, keeping in step with the board's recent decision to allow entries from more online sites.

Recommended for you

Google made failed bid for Spotify

8 hours ago

Internet titan Google tried last year to buy streaming music service Spotify but backed off for reasons including a whopping price tag, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

Thieves got into 1,000 StubHub accounts

9 hours ago

(AP)—Cyber thieves got into more than 1,000 StubHub customers' accounts and fraudulently bought tickets for events through the online ticket reseller, a law enforcement official and the company said.

Putin signs law seen as crimping social media

20 hours ago

President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday signed a law requiring Internet companies to store all personal data of Russian users at data centres in Russia, a move which could chill criticism on foreign social networking ...

User comments : 0