If you surf Craigslist as a creative for hire it not uncommon to come across ads asking for film crews, sound man, photographers and interns in exchange for learning experience.
While sometime this is a fair deal (I know several photographers, I’d be willing to “intern” for) sometimes the interns are nothing more than coffee fetching gimps only gaining experience at drivers. Looks like things are about to change with a new ruling on the Black Swan Internship Lawsuit.
Alexander Footman and Eric Glatt were interns on the Oscar winning Black Swan. Their internship pretty much sucked as they learned very little and mostly moved things from one location to another.
So, the duo did not fret and took 20th Century Fox to court.
New ruling made by U.S. federal judge William Pauley on the case of Black Swan internship makes it clear that interns cannot be hired for zero pay.
If an intern is taken on there is a clear criteria of what constitutes a no pay internship:
- The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment;
- The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;
- The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;
- The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded;
- The intern isnot necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and
- The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.
At the end of the day, the judge not only ruled that the duo were misclassified as ‘unpaid interns’ while they were actually ’employees’ and “worked as paid employees work, providing an immediate advantage to their employer“, but also allowed a class action suit to allow exploration of internships throughout the entirety of Fox Entertainment Group.
That is one major blow to the let’s call them interns and not pay them movement. On the other hand many, many great collaborations are done on a non pay basis, I Would love to hear your thoughts.
[via the Atlantic wire]
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