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Unpaid Hollywood Internships: Just Paying Your Dues Or Exploitation?

The unpaid internship is a Hollywood staple, but after a federal judge ruled in favor of two interns who sued for back wages, will the unpaid intern system cease to exist and is this a good thing?

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On June 11, 2013, a federal judge in New York ruled in favor of two former Black Swan interns in their lawsuit against Fox Searchlight. The interns filed their case in September of 2011, and they sought back wages for work that they believed should have been paid for.

Judge William Pauley III stated in his judgment that under the definitions of the Fair Labor Standards Act and New York Labor Law the two were treated as Fox employees during their internship. He also certified a class action that will look into whether or not Fox's internship programs actually provide any educational experience for its interns, not just free labor for the studio.

This decision may prove to be a big game changer in the entertainment industry. After all, free labor using interns had become a Hollywood staple, and many saw unpaid internships as something everyone must endure to "pay their dues."

When entertainment news website, Deadline , posted the story, the comments section lit up with those who vilified the plaintiffs and those who supported them. Here's arguments from both sides.

So what do you think about the lawsuit and unpaid internships in general? Let us know in the comments.

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