I'm a copyeditor and proofreader, and I'm underemployed. I've been sending out my resume and samples. To gain experience, I've also been doing some pro bono work for a non-profit. I've been sending my resume to for-profit companies, and I've stated that I'd be happy to work as an independent contractor to get work. They haven't been responding. Three of the places I did contact, but who didn't respond, have placed ads on Craig's List for exactly the work I do, but they'll only hire unpaid interns.
My understanding from what I've read is that it can be a blurry line between legality and illegality for for-profit companies to get people to work for them for free by calling them "internships." Does anyone know anything about the legality of this? The other problem is that even if they are doing this illegally, if you report them for it, you're blacklisted and it kills your chances of getting any work.