Divorce News: Peter Daou and James Boyce sue Huffington Post for stealing their ideas: but does huffpo divorce rip off Divorce Saloon too?
Filed in Divorce News:Huffpost divorce Huffington Post owner Ariana Huffington was in a scathing Vanity Fair story that left the media mogul on the defensive. It seems two – “nobodies” – Peter Daou and James Boyce, are suing Ariana Huffington and her partners for “stealing their ideas without compensating and acknowledging” their contributions to the fundamental formation of Huffington Post and the Huffpo news blog.
The men claim to have been present in Arianna’s mansion in 2004 where she and they and others participated in a group meeting at which the idea for Huffington Post (but not HuffPost Divorce which came late 2010) was hashed out. The site was to be a “Democratic” Counter to the Drudge Report. Daou and Boyce claim in a lawsuit filed by their Manhattan attorney Partha Chattoraj (Harvard, Yale Law), that they provided “ideas” for to Arianna and that she took their ideas and ran with them and failed to give them any credit or acknowledge where she got her ideas from, for Huffington Post.
So the men (“nobodies” depending on who you talk to) are suing for “misappropriation” and “unjust enrichment” and they are seeking unspecified financial damages.
WOW. This is intriguing because I’ve been feeling a bit exploited lately with the recent formation of Huffpost Divorce. I know it sounds “crazy” and “deluded” because, like Daou and Boyce, I am a “nobody.” But I have begun to feel that the editors at Huffpost have been helping themselves to the ideas and concepts espoused on Divorce Sal0on, without acknowledging that they even ever come to this divorce blog. No, seriously. I am very, very, serious. They get credit from the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, the international press, really, for being clever but if you look at the time stamps you will see that a huge number of their posts were written after we wrote similar ones over here. Yes, I’m saying it: HUFFPOST IS COPYING DIVORCE SALOON. And we are not just talking about the news type posts. One of their more blatant rip offs was one we did on “comfort foods.” The timing on that one was unbelievably bare-faced, even I couldn’t believe it. Look at the timestamps for more recent posts such as Divorce rates in India, Divorce in Malta, January busiest month for divorce, etc. There are so many. It is gross. It’s pretty gross.
I’ve kind of lost respect for Huffpost Divorce. And it’s too bad because I basically admire Ariana Huffington and I had such high hopes for the blog when it first came out. At first I thought it was something that would improve my blog and offer new insightful information, but I’ve only felt used and exploited by bigger, more powerful people when I saw most of my ideas turning up on their blog. They come to this site (they would never admit it) and they help themselves to our ideas and then they get credit in the press for their “clever divorce section.” One article even included our byline we’ve been using for years to describe our blog “all things divorce” in a description of HuffPost. I’m sorry but a lot of HuffPost simply rips off Divorce Saloon’s current and past blog posts. It is not clever. It simply takes our ideas without acknowledging us. And it sucks. It really does.
Actually, I’ve had a Huffpost Divorce blogger – and attorney in NY – who stated in a comment on this site that she sees a lot of “copying” byHuffpost editors from Divorce Saloon. But I’ve tried to brush it off as nonsense and flattery. Still, I cannot deny that there are way too many posts on Huffpost Divorce that mirror the posts on Divorce Saloon. And it is not just the celebrity stuff. Sure, we were pretty much a celeb divorce tabloid for a while there, but we’ve all but yielded that to Huffpost and have been highlighting other parts of our blog to try to distinguish ourselves from Huffpost divorce but they keep helping themselves to all our ideas, and it is obviously enriching them while impoverishing us.
Daou and Boyce’s lawsuit was almost bizarre in it’s timing and content. It is easy to dismiss them as delusional, but I would like to hear more of the evidence, knowing how our ideas were so avariciously stolen as well. Well, then again, is this “idea stealing?” Or is it “fair competition?” Guess some would say it’s “fair competition. At first, I tried to see it as fair competition, but nah. This is idea-stealing. In my opinion, Huffpost has blatantly tried to take over our concept for our website and make it theirs. And they are getting away with it. No one would believe that something like Huffington Post would even look at a site like Divorce Saloon , eh? But they are. Trust me, they are. A shrewd (or maybe not so shrewd person) can see the resemblance and do the math and see who is copying whom. Huffpost Divorce has literally hijacked the concept of a lesser known blog and made it as if it is their original idea. And if you bring it up, they will swear up and down that they have never even heard of this blog. And that we are “mental.” So all my hard work over the years (I started this divorce blog in 2006 but went full time in 2008) are being eclipsed by the sheer force that is Huffington Post.
Hat tip to Daou and Boyce for being brave enough to bring this lawsuit. Even if they lose, I feel lucky they came out when they did. Because I have been quietly observing this situation, but I knew I had no voice or platform to say or do anything about it. Still, the fact that they had the guts to bring the suit is commendable. There is definitely something poetic about this lawsuit and the timing of it, and the substance of it. Says Daou in his Vanity Fair interview:
We’re basically saying, something happened back then and it was wrong. We came [up] with the idea….At a fundamental level, it is wrong to take someone’s ideas, take someone’s efforts, takes someone’s work,takes someone’s vision, and then completely claim it as your own.”
I, for one, will be watching to see how it plays out.