Those purchasing a "smartphone" for professional purposes know, presumably, they are striking a sort of Faustian bargain: the wonders of the Internet become available to them at any moment, but then, so do the e-mails and documents associated with their work. So some, including ABC, the Writers Guild, CNBC and The New York Times, asked whether jobs should pay for that overtime BlackBerrying accordingly. If a BlackBerry is buzzing long after the office day has finished because of a work-related email, and the recipient checks and replies, should he/she be compensated? Is there a scale of what is and should be considered most


That is, when it comes to pay, if there will be any over-time, should there be a difference between replying to a work email and performing a different sort of creative task for the job?

These are all questions ABC News and the Writers Guild, who recently had another spat because of BlackBerrys, grappled, and are grappling, with.

Several weeks back, ABC’s news division presented a waiver for three new writers to sign. It explained that the new employees were not to be paid for time spent on BlackBerrys after work was over.

The writers expressed concern, and ABC took back the BlackBerrys it had given them.

The disagreement was brief, but it tapped into a sort of zeitgeist, an issue that will become more and more prevalent as companies provide their employees with smartphones.

And perhaps the only thing bystanders and employees alike can take away from the altercations is that for now, you can’t have your free BlackBerry and enjoy it too.