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


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  1. identicon
    cosmicrat, 25 Oct 2012 @ 6:53pm

    Done that as long as I can remember

    The movie / indie film / whatever has always used volunteer labor. Since long before the 15 years I've been in it. The smaller budget projects have to just to get done, and the big players do it because hey can. On union shows the roles interns can play are tightly controlled but on non-union it's anything goes. People are willing to work without pay because so many people want to get into the film business.

    Theoretical question: how is someone working for free on a big studio show different from someone working for free/spec (same thing in my experience) on a low budg indie/kickstarter/whatever project?

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Show Now: Takedown
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.