It’s the End of Free, my friends. The notion that free labor is anything but a corrupt hustle is emerging – and this legal precedent will speed that emergence considerably.
A Federal District Court judge in Manhattan ruled on Tuesday that Fox Searchlight Pictures had violated federal and New York minimum wage laws by not paying production interns, a case that could upend the long-held practice of the film industry and other businesses that rely heavily on unpaid internships.
In the decision, Judge William H. Pauley III ruled that Fox Searchlight should have paid two interns on the movie “Black Swan,” because they were essentially regular employees
The judge noted that these internships did not foster an educational environment and that the studio received the benefits of the work. The case could have broad implications. Young people have flocked to internships, especially against the backdrop of a weak job market.
I think back on those I have seen attempt to defend this practice, and I believe that they will ultimately appear to have been obsequious at best and dishonest at worst.