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IMDb sues California to invalidate law that prohibits site from showing actors' ages

By midian182 · 26 replies
Nov 11, 2016
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  1. The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) is suing the state of California over a recently passed law that forces subscription entertainment database sites to remove an actor’s age within five days if requested by the person.

    The Californian law was passed back in September as a way of fighting age discrimination within the entertainment industry. Various actors’ groups had been campaigning for the move, including Sag-aftra, whose president, former Beverly Hills, 90210 star Gabrielle Carteris, wrote: “Age discrimination is a major problem in our industry, and it must be addressed.”

    “[actors] face blatant age discrimination every day as websites routinely used for casting talent force birth dates and ages on casting decision-makers without their even realizing it,” she added.

    Carteris doubts she would have been cast in the role as Andrea Zuckerman in the popular 90’s show if her age had been known at the time.

    IMDb disagrees with the actors. The Amazon-owned company said removing ages from its database won’t solve the age discrimination problem, and claims it is being unfairly targeted.

    “Prejudice and bias, not truthful information, are the root causes of discrimination,” the lawsuit says. “This law unfairly targets IMDb.com (which appears to be the only public site impacted by the law) and forces IMDb to suppress factual information from public view. Moreover, the factual information being suppressed from IMDb is available from many other sources.”

    IMDb says the law is unconstitutional - as do a number of lawyers and law professors who say it violates the first amendment. The company also points out that subscribers to its professional ‘IMDb Pro’ service have been able to edit their details and remove ages/birthdates since 2010.

    IMDb wants a permanent injunction banning the bill and asks the court to “declare that Assembly bill 1687 is unconstitutional and that IMDb cannot be liable for failing to censor factual public information.”

    Permalink to story.

  2. EClyde

    EClyde TS Evangelist Posts: 1,803   +664

    I never understood why it is improper to ax someone their age. I do it all the time, on purpose. I'm 64
  3. stewi0001

    stewi0001 TS Evangelist Posts: 2,161   +1,581

    What I find odd is that there is age discrimination on actors.
  4. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,286

    They say it's age discrimination but I call BS on that one. I think it has more to do about their plastic surgeon's and personal trainer's competence, not to mention that actors vanity and ego.
    EClyde likes this.
  5. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,858   +2,164

    I use to like Commiefonia, but now they have all these rediculous "feel good" laws that don't make any sense and they call it being "progressive". CA stopped being a good state sometime around 2008.

    Before they had a stance kind of like "who cares if you're gay?" now it's "I'm trans-octopus and if you don't accept me it's discrimination". CA has become a breeding ground for mental illness.
  6. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,914   +699

    Looks like the Film Actors Gild is at it again... Don't they realize there's more than just IMDb that has this information... Just google an actors name and Google itself gives you a little bio of the actor including Age along with where they were born, Height, Spouse and children. This is pulled from Wikipedia, so you would have to make the connection and realize they would also need to be sued for this to have any credibility what so ever.

    So what if your age is known? Are these actors saying they rather blatantly lie about their age? Or at least be given the opportunity to lie about their age? Seriously, a couple phone calls and I'm sure a casting agency could get to the truth.
    drjekelmrhyde likes this.
  7. drjekelmrhyde

    drjekelmrhyde TS Evangelist Posts: 321   +112

    Wikipedia also have their ages.
    /Still wishing for a Tina Turner, Helen Mirren, and me, sandwich.
    //Don't judge me
  8. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,263   +4,931

    I don't see a problem with that.
  9. 3volv3d

    3volv3d TS Addict Posts: 160   +60

    America is mental illness. It's where it originated from. And it's spreading world wide.
    We need a cure.
  10. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,858   +2,164

    I wish techspot had a dislike button
    NightAngel79, FPSChris and Paulos7 like this.
  11. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,263   +4,931

    Good luck with that, especially since Facebook users never received one. lol
  12. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,858   +2,164

    Facebook had one, but seeing as how they are in feel good Commiefornia they got rid of it. Apparently in CA it's criticism that melts snowflakes.
  13. 3volv3d

    3volv3d TS Addict Posts: 160   +60

    My comment stemmed from yours, and you want a dislike button? Sheesh.
    If the world had a dislike button, America's would get spammed constantly.

    But maybe I'm being too harsh maybe it is just the... Wait is that a government, you have... The thing headed by Homer Simpson, who clearly entered into this universe with his contrast too high and a wig disguise...

    And that Hollywood thing that just pumps out more toxicity, it seriously is a danger to the environment.

    All them fake plastic people, all the recycling wasted, you can't re use all the old films and music, and yet then pump them out on plastic CDs and DVDs ffs. It screams pointlessness and futility. Sigh
  14. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 3,364   +1,815

    This can be heavily abused by actors. If the screen actors guild (I think they are SAG-AFTRA now after the merger) makes a request to delete the age of its members then IMDb has to do it even if we are talking about hundreds of thousands of actors.
  15. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,263   +4,931

    It says requested by the person (as in singular), not thousands represented by one.
  16. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 3,364   +1,815

    it doesn't matter since it's the same thing. if the org says "remove the age because that's what our members are requesting" they are forced by the law to remove it. it's pretty much why labor unions exist.
  17. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,263   +4,931

    And legally they don't have to unless they know it is an order from the individual. Which could quite possibly require a notary to make it happen.
  18. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 3,364   +1,815

    Labor unions can legally represent the people who are part of it (at least in the US). At most they would require the individual to give a written agreement or sign something. It's not hard to get thousands of signatures in a short amount of time.
  19. Macgyver56

    Macgyver56 TS Enthusiast Posts: 25   +6

    How about a little empathy? There is age discrimination in Hollywood, and that is not going to change any time soon. Publishing an actor's age can bring their career to a screeching halt. The actions of a single stranger can destroy someone's life.

    The next time you're in a room with someone you love, imagine that person having a productive, active career, and then having that career destroyed by a single entry on the internet. Suddenly no job opportunities, no promotions, no pay. The offers come to a stop. They're unemployed and have to change careers ... in their early 30's (which is when female actors begin facing some of the most ferocious age discrimination).

    Before you tell me that if they can't take it, they should get out of the business, do what I said. Look across the table at a person you cherish, and imagine that happening to them against their will. Everything they've worked for destroyed because a stranger insists on posting their age on the internet. Imagine if one of your parents lost their entire career because a neighbor insisted it was their right to put one piece of personal information on the internet. Would you say your parent should suck it up and it's freedom of speech, or would you walk over to the neighbor's house, punch them in the nose, and tell them to stay out of your family's personal business?

    This issue is about asking for a little bit of human decency and not screwing up someone's life when they have asked that people do not destroy their careers.
    CorvusCorax likes this.
  20. CorvusCorax

    CorvusCorax TS Member Posts: 24

    I totally agree. I think when a lot of people think of actors, they think of the big names, so pin this on pure vanity. They don't think of the person that's been doing small roles their entire career, and is really just getting by.

    It's a shame that it needs a law, instead of sites like IMDB just doing the decent thing and removing the information at the person's request.
  21. How about, it's a shame that the entertainment industry doesn't do the decent thing....not a huge fan of ever increasing numbers of laws, but if it has to be then do it to them, not IMDB
  22. just to make sure, are we talking about a pedophilia conviction here or simply one's age on the internet?
    Puiu likes this.
  23. Then you're old enough to know when terms like "ableist" would have been met with confusion and subsequent ridicule.

    We live in (the end of) the Age of the Snowflake. Asking someone's age might as well be asking for their SSN.
    EClyde likes this.
  24. I'ma break this down, for you. 'Cause it needs breakin'.

    1. Hollywood deserves no sympathy. They openly support just the type of discrimination and ruthless prosecution of mean things that they are so distraught over. Ask Brendan Eich. Or, better yet, post "Build the wall" to an identifiable social media account. Watch how fast corporate sends you booking to the cheers and jeers of Hollywood and the left.

    2. Actors have two assets: (1) looks, (2) acting ability. (1) is always more important than (2). Unlike men, who tend to peak in attractiveness in their 30s-40s, women hit the wall around 25. When a woman hits the wall, her desirability for camera time diminishes continually from there on out. I have a cousin who is a model. She is in her early 20s. My advice to her is very simple: when you hit the wall, your modeling leads are going to drop off a cliff. Find an alternative career and start building it now.

    Off the top of my head, Kelly Brook and Jennifer Lopez are both good examples of this formula.

    3. We've all said the preceding to my cousin. Her father has said it to her as well. When your career is based explicitly on your age, you have a finite window to work with and must plan accordingly. People who refuse to face reality will be forced to conform to it irrespective of their preparedness.

    4. Basic human decency is to allow people to freely communicate and not censor them to shield people from the obvious nature of their profession.

    TL;DR version:

    Emotional plea rejected.
  25. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,777   +3,906

    As a model only, that probably holds more true than that of a performer.

    Actresses are subject to that, "biological clock ticking", the same as are women on the street. I'm guessing vanity plays a role in many of them not being willing to "walk away at the top of their game", the same as pro athletes. However, to an extended career in acting, you can always "retire from the spotlight" temporarily, and go have your children. You would be welcomed back afterwards, with a few stipulations. Principally, you had to have actual acting talent to begin with, not simply a head full of air, and a great a**. :D Next, you have to overcome your vanity, and realize you're going to be cast as the teenage girl's mom, not the teenage girl. (Regrettably, the pay scale might be a bit lower though).

    There are some exceptions. Grace Park, ("Battlestar Galactica" (Reboot")), is still scorching hot and doing fine on TV's, "Hawaii Five-0", (Ironically, another reboot), and she's in her early forties. With that said, I think skinny, flat chested Asian women, wear far better than the average Double D, Caucasian "wet dream princess" .

    Ms. Park can still pull off a bikini with aplomb, but not so for Tina Fey, who's working with about 4 or five layers of "shape wear" nowadays. Yet they're both still working, well past their late 20's
    davislane1 likes this.

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