A group of Yelp users filed a lawsuit against the company in October, claiming that reviewing businesses for the company made them employees.
Yelp on Nov. 27 filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought against it in October that argued that users who posted reviews to the website should be considered employees. Yelp said considering users employees could "upend… innovative services" like Amazon, Facebook, and Twitter.
"Plaintiffs here threaten to upend these innovative services with the outrageous claims that anyone who posts something on the Internet becomes an employee of the online forum on which it is posted… if legitimized by this Court [the allegations] endanger the pubic's access to free online forums." Angeli Aragon, Yelp's attorney
A group of Yelp reviewers sued the company on Oct. 20 over claims that they are, in effect, unpaid employees and should be paid for writing their reviews. The next hearing in the lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, is scheduled to take place Jan. 27, 2014.
"[Yelp's] business model is predicated entirely on the exploitation of Plaintiffs' work product… Its success is [dependent] upon the efforts of hordes of non-wage-paid reviewers and its ability to use those reviews as ready-made advertising-content to advertise businesses on their websites." Randy Rosenblatt, attorney for the Yelp reviewers
A website has been created through which the litigants are asking for people to volunteer to be a part of the class-action lawsuit. The website asks questions pertaining to the number of reviews a user has written and if they've ever received special recognition on Yelp, such as being named an "elite" user.
"Nothing about the relationship of a Yelp reviewer to the company is anything like an employment situation (or even an intern situation). They aren't "hired." They don't have responsibilities or jobs that they have to do. They volunteer to share some reviews because they want to do so." Mike Masnick, TechDirt
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