Wednesday, May 22, 2019
 

The (Lingering) Problem With Unpaid Internships


Artist is Charles Sprague Pearce (1851–1914). Photographed 2007 by Carol Highsmith (1946–), who explicitly placed the photograph in the public domain.

Artist is Charles Sprague Pearce (1851–1914). Photographed 2007 by Carol Highsmith (1946–), who explicitly placed the photograph in the public domain.

We’ve heard about the onslaught of lawsuits by interns against for-profit entities, particularly those in the entertainment industries (film, fashion). But what about the so-called art world? Are for-profit galleries and artist studios also at risk of running afoul of employment and labor laws, particularly the Fair Labor Standards Act?

The answer is, it depends. New York-based businesses may fare a bit better, but like copyright law it’s still a toss up. The Second Circuit’s “new” test for unpaid internship cases under the FLSA is whether the intern or employer is the primary beneficiary of the relationship. This “primary beneficiary” test includes seven factors, all of which still put a significant strain on the employer. Keep in mind that this new test applies only to those jurisdictions falling under the Second Circuit (the states of Connecticut, New York, and Vermont).

Great article on unpaid internships via The National Law Review.

 

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Comments: 1

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  • Veronique Wiesin..

    The lingering problem of photography and copyfraud… The illustration’s caption reads ” photographed by Carol Highsmith (1946- ) who explicitly placed it in the public domain”. What do you mean exactly? This painting is the work (as stated) of an artist who died in 1914! His work IS in the public domain and no photo reproduction (especially the technical photo of a painting) could reinstate any copyright on it thank God – and Ms Highsmith’s birthdate luckily is irrelevant!… imagine she decided not to place it in the public domain??? Scarry

     
     
     
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