For All The Talk From Hollywood About Making Sure People Get Paid, Why Doesn't It Pay Interns?

from the because-it's-never-been-about-getting-anyone-paid-by-studio-bosses dept

We hear the refrain from the entertainment industry all the time, about how they are fighting against modern technology because without it, people don't get paid, and how unfair is that? The RIAA's Cary Sherman keeps talking about all those lost jobs (even though his math doesn't add up), and talking about all the people the movie industry "employs" (exaggerated by an order of magnitude) has become a key part of the MPAA boss Chris Dodd's stump speech.

So, isn't it interesting that the entertainment industry may be facing a potentially big class action problem... for not paying interns? Apparently, it's quite common for entertainment industry heavyweights to take on unpaid interns, usually eager kids hoping to "break into" the business. But, federal law (and the key state laws) are pretty explicit in noting that "free" internships are almost always illegal for for-profit companies.

Now, to be clear, I actually don't think free internships -- entered into willingly -- should be illegal (just as I don't think there's anything wrong with people volunteering to do stuff for free). But if Hollywood is running around whining about getting more people paid... it seems pretty hypocritical to then not pay people working for you.

Filed Under: class action lawsuit, hollywood, interns, movie industry, paying

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  1. icon
    Greevar (profile), 25 Oct 2012 @ 11:47am


    The laws are, that unpaid interns are there for one purpose: to learn their vocation. They are not there to do work for the company and help them earn a profit. If an unpaid intern is doing work that generates a profit for the company, they must be paid a comparable wage to what an entry level employee would receive. Otherwise, they are illegally exploiting people for profit. Furthermore, it would unfairly displace professionals that merit higher compensation, even paid interns cannot be allowed to displace them.

    What an unpaid intern is supposed to be doing is receiving mentoring from the experienced professionals of the company as to learn to be more proficient at their particular vocation. All their work is to be educational and is not for the company's benefit, except to be a potential future employee of equal merit after graduation. To use unpaid interns in for-profit work is to place them into servitude through deception or coercion.

    Interns are not free labor you can use or abuse at your whim you "fucking buffoon." It is a valuable step in the educational process.

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