Can requesters steal your work?

pauljohax

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Hello,

I have had problems with several requesters.
two of them did not pay at all. For very good work. And even with a mini-mistake in it, (which was not the case) it still would be absurd not to pay.

I wrote Mturk team about it.
And i got a response back they can never come in between workers and requesters.

I can understand they don`t want t do a million disputes a day.

Now what if a requester really steals your work?
For 0.05 cents, you say: okay whatever...

But In one case, a few days ago, it was a 10 dollar transcription hit, on which I worked for several hours.
I delivered perfect work.
Then at her request, I did some extra work and made all files in one easy document for her.

And then this woman (Hayley Coldiron) threatened by email not to pay me at all because I refused to de do even more extra work.

if i would not put all the transcription into seperate paragraphs.
15 videos! She would not pay me for the hit at all !
I was shocked.

The reason she wrote: it was time consuming work for her to do herself. But it was not in the task description at all.It would have been just an extra favour.

And I had worked for 4 hours for only 10 dollars. Doing a lot of work for very low pay.

What rights do Mturk workers have?
What can we do do to protect ourselfs?

I use turkopticon. Always.

But what can we do afterwards? Like in my example.
Note: I refused to do the extra free work. I wrote her back I would not do it.
Unless she would pay extra.
I can not be blackmailed.

Then I went to sleep and tried to live with the fact of all the lost work.

The next day the hit was paid, by the company she works for. And I never heard from her again.
It was a very nasty false bluff. Do not ever work for her: Hayley Coldiron
 

MerryLou

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Requesters have the right to reject your work for any reason or no reason what so ever. We workers have no rights to our 'earned' money, shown in an even worse scale when Amazon suspends accounts and freezes your funds in mturk. You agreed to this when you agreed to the Terms and Conditions of the site. It's just how it is, unfortunately.

The best thing you can do is, like you said, use turkopticon and leave your own reviews as well.

If you're going to work for requesters outside of the mturk realm, you need to look into freelancing contracts and that sort of thing.
 
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pauljohax

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Unbelievable. I am working on my own business. I am planning on running that soon. Until then ii wanted to use Mturk for money. I hope this will work out.

But I think we have to warn people. This is insane. Completely insane .We have no rights. We can be robbed without any punishment. And it happened to me now several times.

Did you talk with Mturk team about this?
Can anybody do something about this legally?
Can Amazon be forced by law to protect its workers?
 

MerryLou

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By the terms of the agreement, you aren't being robbed.

Honestly, you're overreacting a bit.

Did you talk with Mturk team about this?
Can anybody do something about this legally?
Can Amazon be forced by law to protect its workers?
The answer to all of your questions is no.

We all run the risk of having work rejected. Most requesters aren't out the get us to do free work. A few are, and we talk about it and warn others and move on. If you aren't willing to risk that then you should look for more dependable work than Mturk.

But really, 99% of the time you're going to get approval for the good work you do.
 
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jan

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Hello,

I have had problems with several requesters.
two of them did not pay at all. For very good work. And even with a mini-mistake in it, (which was not the case) it still would be absurd not to pay.

I wrote Mturk team about it.
And i got a response back they can never come in between workers and requesters.

I can understand they don`t want t do a million disputes a day.

Now what if a requester really steals your work?
For 0.05 cents, you say: okay whatever...

But In one case, a few days ago, it was a 10 dollar transcription hit, on which I worked for several hours.
I delivered perfect work.
Then at her request, I did some extra work and made all files in one easy document for her.

And then this woman (Hayley Coldiron) threatened by email not to pay me at all because I refused to de do even more extra work.

if i would not put all the transcription into seperate paragraphs.
15 videos! She would not pay me for the hit at all !
I was shocked.

The reason she wrote: it was time consuming work for her to do herself. But it was not in the task description at all.It would have been just an extra favour.

And I had worked for 4 hours for only 10 dollars. Doing a lot of work for very low pay.

What rights do Mturk workers have?
What can we do do to protect ourselfs?

I use turkopticon. Always.

But what can we do afterwards? Like in my example.
Note: I refused to do the extra free work. I wrote her back I would not do it.
Unless she would pay extra.
I can not be blackmailed.

Then I went to sleep and tried to live with the fact of all the lost work.

The next day the hit was paid, by the company she works for. And I never heard from her again.
It was a very nasty false bluff. Do not ever work for her: Hayley Coldiron
This is the hard part about mturk. We really don't have any formal redress. I'm sorry for your experience :(. The best thing you can do is never work for them again, and recommend that others don't - either.

Mturk can be a difficult place to work. We all take risks. Check everyone's TO before you start a HIT and then make your best judgment. Most requesters are fair. Some (a few) aren't.
 
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TSolo315

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Out of 300000 HITs I've done, I've had 25 HITs rejected.

About $4-5 worth of work.

Just submit quality work and don't worry about it. Avoid working for obviously sketchy requesters, of course.
 

pauljohax

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It is not about the pennies you lose on rejections. Its about reality> and many of you seem to live in an illusion. With NO RIGHTS at all, this should be an emergency job. Just for a bit to survive or to pay some emergency bill or whatever.

This is the most ridiculous , illegal working contract I have ever seen.
This is completely illegal in any country. And Amazon gets away with it for now,. Because of internet.

One of you workers in the USA should process Amazon over it!
Or a group of Mturkers, but led by an American Worker.

King merry lou never talked with Mturk team about it, but still tells me there is nothing i can do about it. This means you live with all kind of limited ideas in your mind.

It is very bad the whole situation. And it makes me very sad. After today I have lost all my faith in Mturk.
It i sa very bad place. It is like fast food: they have nice commercials a nice appearance but it is bullshit crap, unhealthy and super expensive fro the crap that you buy.
 
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jan

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P @pauljohax
very few of us live in an illusion about mturk. We realize what it is and that it has limitations. It's far from perfect. And I think in some respects, it's blatantly wrong.

I share your frustration.

However, we (those of us who have kicked around mturk for awhile) know that there are few ways to deal with the platform. One useful way is to use turkopticon. Another is to participate with the Dynamo Group (working for fair wages from academic requesters).
Finally, there is a group in CA that is working on another platform (with a fair-to-us-as-workers model :). It's from Stanford U. Perhaps they will be up and running in the next few months -
we would all look forward to that.

In the meantime, we all make use of mturk as we do. Like TSolo315 @TSolo315 , I have a lot of HITS accepted (well, not quite so many) and a very small handful of rejections. That's because I choose my tasks thoughtfully, read TO first, work as best as I can on the task - and then have gotten lucky, too, I guess.

If you want advice on how to choose tasks and avoid some of the possible pitfalls - we can help. If you want to find alternatives to mturk, we have a thread for that (probably a lot of stuff you've heard about before). Beyond that, though, we all make our way through - or not - in ways that suit us :).
 
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pauljohax

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Mturk has super low wages. i dont do most o f the tasks because of the ridiculous low payments. Like p9r which may pay 1or two dollars per hour. But ok, that still is a choice one has even though any normal country has a minimum wage!

But the fact that workers have no protection on any earnings and for NOreason at all can be refused to pay is absurd and is illegal. I am very sure that this is not legal. I understand you try to take your personal advantage of the money to be earned and so do I. Also you and I dont want to waste too much time and effort on a legal procedure vs Amazon.

But something has to be done about this.
I have been on Mturk for a few months now. I have 15000 hits and about 50 rejections. So yes I know that it works. But more than 12000 of these hits are from 1 requester. and the rest are also mostly centred on a few requesters I trusted.

Bu this is not the point. the point is that this criminal from Amazon and that something has to be done about it.
They should be forced to block or punish requesters who steal from the Mturk workers.
 

Yuk

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But the fact that workers have no protection on any earnings and for NOreason at all can be refused to pay is absurd and is illegal. I am very sure that this is not legal.
Not even slightly illegal. The conditions of use (https://www.mturk.com/mturk/conditionsofuse) you agreed to when you registered covers this topic as follows:
As a Provider, the Requester for whom you provide Services is your client, and as such, you agree that the work product of any Services you perform is deemed a "work made for hire" for the benefit of the Requester, and all ownership rights, including worldwide intellectual property rights, will vest with the Requester immediately upon your performance of the Service. To the extent any such rights do not vest in Requester under applicable law, you hereby assign or exclusively grant (without the right to any compensation) all right, title and interest, including all intellectual property rights, to such work product to Requester. As a Provider you are performing Services for a Requester in your personal capacity as an independent contractor and not as an employee of the Requester.
I underlined and bolded the relevant parts

I have been on Mturk for a few months now. I have 15000 hits and about 50 rejections. So yes I know that it works. But more than 12000 of these hits are from 1 requester. and the rest are also mostly centred on a few requesters I trusted.

Bu this is not the point. the point is that this criminal from Amazon and that something has to be done about it.
They should be forced to block or punish requesters who steal from the Mturk workers.
Unfortunately, as a worker the most you can do is leave a TO review to inform other workers and move on with more experience than you had before. Amazon is not responsible at all for the actions of any requesters, as outlined in the same conditions of use I linked above:
  1. Amazon Mechanical Turk provides a venue for third-party Requesters and third-party Providers to enter into and complete transactions. Amazon Mechanical Turk and its Affiliates are not involved in the transactions between Requesters and Providers. As a result, we have no control over the quality, safety or legality of the Services, the ability of Providers to provide the Services to Requesters' satisfaction, or the ability of Requesters to pay for Services. We are not responsible for the actions of any Requester or Provider. We do not conduct any screening or other verification with respect to Requesters or Providers, nor do we provide any recommendations. As a Requester or a Provider, you use the Site at your own risk.
Again, I underlined and bolded the relevant part.

If you are not satisfied to these terms you agreed to, you are always free to send an email to Amazon or just stop using the platform altogether and move onto something else you are more comfortable with.
 
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pauljohax

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thank you for explaining your view.

But the fact that Amazon makes you sign their terms and services does not make it legal at all!!!

It is about what their terms and conditions really are.
And those conditions are for sure illegal.

If any judge will have a look at this and we have a good lawyer that explains the practical daily facts Amazon will have to change this or be in big strouble soon.

A judge just needs to know how the facts for workers in reality are.
That it is real work .That thousands of people like you are doing this full time and that giving workers no rights is certainly in ths USA ILLEGAL.
.
The fact that you , or in this case Amazon makes someone sign a self made up contract, in where you put in some crazy ILLEGAL terms, does not make that contract legal at all.

i will move on very soon, In fact I already am moving on since I can.
i am doing very good self made work.
Which i can advice you to do as well.
Replace Mturk with your own business.

I used Amazon as a stepping stone. But this deal is truely bad it must be stopped
Paying slave wages is one fact and still kind of a choice. but leaving workers, who work for mini micro wages, without ANY rights to be paid at all, is a crime.
Not just that, its a SCANDAL.
 

Yuk

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thank you for explaining your view.

But the fact that Amazon makes you sign their terms and services does not make it legal at all!!!

It is about what their terms and conditions really are.
And those conditions are for sure illegal.

If any judge will have a look at this and we have a good lawyer that explains the practical daily facts Amazon will have to change this or be in big strouble soon.

A judge just needs to know how the facts for workers in reality are.
That it is real work .That thousands of people like you are doing this full time and that giving workers no rights is certainly in ths USA ILLEGAL.
.
The fact that you , or in this case Amazon makes someone sign a self made up contract, in where you put in some crazy ILLEGAL terms, does not make that contract legal at all.

i will move on very soon, In fact I already am moving on since I can.
i am doing very good self made work.
Which i can advice you to do as well.
Replace Mturk with your own business.

I used Amazon as a stepping stone. But this deal is truely bad it must be stopped
Paying slave wages is one fact and still kind of a choice. but leaving workers, who work for mini micro wages, without ANY rights to be paid at all, is a crime.
Not just that, its a SCANDAL.
The problem here is that Amazon isn't making up these rules like you seem to think. The major difference here is that the workers you are envisioning as having rights are employees working for employers. The United States definitely has protections for them in place, but that's the key difference.

We are not employees for an employer, we are independent contractors. As such, there are no laws in place from the Department of Labor to protect us as independent contractors such as setting a minimum wage, maximum work hours per week before needing to paid overtime, etc.

It's part of the game, and if you don't like it and oppose this then your next step would not be to sue Amazon, because there is nothing to sue. If there are no laws to be broken, how is it illegal?

You would need to write to your representative to have them introduce laws to protect independent contractors. If the US govt were to introduce labor laws for independent contractors, there's a very high chance Amazon would shut down mturk because they can barely handle it as it is now.

There has been a case in the past where a requester on here crossed the line to the point of where workers were considered employees. You can read about it here if you'd like
This kind of outcome will never be at the Amazon-level of mturk, meaning encompassing the entire site. It will be on a requester-by-requester basis if a lawsuit like this ever occurs again.

Good luck to you in your endeavors
 
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I do surveys for other companies, and after almost a year, I've narrowed it down to a handful of honest companies who I felt treated me fairly. 2 weeks ago I did an hour survey for one, lots of detail, and at the end they told me I was disqualified. My work was stolen too. You don't even want to know what the sleazy companies do. And before that I worked for mystery shopping companies, and they did the same thing. "You went to that store 1 minute early, we can't pay you," etc.

That article is 3 1/2 years old. Here's the result:
http://turkernation.com/showthread.php?22943-Otey-v-CrowdFlower-settlement
 
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