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32 Berkeley J. Emp. & Lab. L. 143 (2011)
Working the Crowd: Employment and Labor Law in the Crowdsourcing Industry

handle is hein.journals/berkjemp32 and id is 145 raw text is: Working the Crowd:
Employment and Labor Law in the
Crowdsourcing Industry
Alek Felstinert
This Article confronts the thorny questions that arise in attempting to
apply traditional employment and labor law to crowdsourcing,  an
emerging online labor model unlike any that has existed to this point.
Crowdsourcing refers to the process of taking tasks that would normally be
delegated to an employee and distributing them to a large pool of online
workers, the crowd,  in the form of an open call.
The Article describes how crowdsourcing works, its advantages and
risks, and why workers in particular subsections of the paid crowdsourcing
industry may be denied the protection of employment laws without much
recourse to vindicate their rights. Taking Amazon's Mechanical Turk
platform as a case study, the Article explores the nature of this employment
relationship in order to determine the legal status of the crowd. The
Article also details the complications that might arise in applying existing
work laws to crowd labor.
Finally, the Article presents a series of brief recommendations. It
encourages legislatures to clarify and expand legal protections for
crowdsourced employees, and suggests ways for courts and administrative
agencies to pursue the same objective within our existing legal framework.
It also offers voluntary best practices  for firms and venues involved in
crowdsourcing, along with examples of how crowd workers might begin to
effectively organize and advocate on their own behalf
I. INTRODUCTION       ....................................... 144
II. CROWDSOURCING AND COGNITIVE PIECEWORK ......        ........ 146
A. The Crowdsourcing Industry....      .................... 149
B. Why Crowdsourcing? And Why Not?.........     ................ 151
1. What Firms Get Out of Crowdsourcing ........ ........ 151
tJ.D. 2011, (UC Berkeley). Acknowledgements to Professors David Rosenfeld, Gillian Lester, Miriam
Cherry and Jennifer Urban.

143

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