Thousands of unpaid bloggers attempting to claim millions of dollars from Huffington Post have had their case dismissed by a court in New York.
The bloggers had claimed that their contributions to the website meant they should be given a share of the profits following its $315m sale to AOL last April.
But US district court judge John Koeltl ruled the bloggers were fully aware they would not be paid for their work when they signed up.
'No one forced the plaintiffs to give their work to The Huffington Post for publication and the plaintiffs candidly admit that they did not expect compensation,'he said.
He added: 'Quite simply, the plaintiffs offered a service and the defendants offered exposure in return, and the transaction occurred exactly as advertised. The defendants followed through on their end of the agreed-upon bargain.
"That the defendants ultimately profited more than the plaintiffs might have expected does not give the plaintiffs a right to change retroactively their clear, up-front agreement. That is an effort to change the rules of the game after the game has been played, and equity and good conscience require no such result."
The lawsuit was launched by labour activist and writer Jonathan Tasini, who wrote more than 200 unpaid columns for the website before the AOL, and the class action was taken on behalf of around 9,000 bloggers.
A Huffington Post spokesperson said: 'This judgment removes any question about the merits of this case and we look forward to continuing the mutually beneficial relationship we share with our growing roster of interesting, dedicated and engaging bloggers."
Tasini, however, vowed to continue his fight, telling the Australian newspaper: 'We're using the lawsuit to spark a movement and an organising effort among bloggers to set a standard for the future because this idea that all individual creators should work for free is like a cancer spreading through every media property on the globe."
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