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IMDb Sues California To Overturn Law Forcing Them To Remove Actors' Ages (theguardian.com) 68

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) is suing California over a law forcing the website to remove the ages of actors on request, saying it is unconstitutional. California passed a law in September ruling that "a commercial online entertainment employment service provider" would be required to remove details of the age of any of its subscribers within five days, on the request of the subscriber. The law was intended to fight age discrimination in the film industry and had been campaigned for by actors' groups. The president of the union Sag-Aftra wrote in August that 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." However, IMDb's suit (pdf) claims that the law "does not advance, much less achieve" the goal of reducing age discrimination, and that it violates both the first amendments and commerce clause of the U.S. constitution. IMDb also claims it separately violates federal law "because it imposes liability on IMDb based on factual content that is lawfully posted by its users." The website criticizes the state of California for passing the law, saying it has "chosen to chill free speech and undermine public access to factual information." IMDb says it is being unfairly targeted and that the law does not deal with the main cause of age discrimination. The case claims the law is both too broad -- as it includes all film professionals, rather than just those who could expect to be the target of age discrimination such as actors -- and too narrow, as it fails to impose the same restrictions on the "myriad other sources of the same information," such as Wikipedia, Google or specialist websites that list the birthdays of famous people. IMDb also says that subscribers to its paid professional service, IMDb Pro, have been able to edit or remove biographical details about themselves on the site since 2010.
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IMDb Sues California To Overturn Law Forcing Them To Remove Actors' Ages

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  • by unixisc ( 2429386 ) on Friday November 11, 2016 @05:15PM (#53268153)
    Not only should they include their ages, they should also include their marital or dating status, so that we know who we could make a play for - at least those of us who are single }:-)
    /sarc
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Here's a free tip for you:

      Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez are currently single.
      They are planning to get married.
      Within two years of their wedding day, they will be single again.

    • We are talking about Hollywood here. A woman's marital status is typically not a barrier to entry :-)
      • by Gr8Apes ( 679165 )

        We are talking about Hollywood here. A woman's marital status is typically not a barrier to entry :-)

        Why are you limiting it just to women?

  • Check out the profile head shot for any aging actor. They've got a studio portrait left over from about 40 years ago. Actors are the most shallow, appearance-obsessed people you will ever meet.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The same applies to real estate agents, they tend to have decades-old "glamour shot" photos on their business cards and websites. Having worked in that industry for awhile it was laughable seeing many of these people in person each day vs. how they represented themselves in their advertising. Most of them were at least 10 years older and 20 pounds heavier, if you'd only seen their business card you wouldn't even recognize them in person.

    • by haruchai ( 17472 )

      Check out the profile head shot for any aging actor. They've got a studio portrait left over from about 40 years ago. Actors are the most shallow, appearance-obsessed people you will ever meet.

      Never met any models?

      • Had one as a roommate for a while. The agency he worked for had him on a contract with a certain well known men's clothing brand. He had to wear only certain brand clothes provided for him when in public, had personal fitness trainer, used only hair products provided by a professional that he saw every week, saw a dermatologist for skin care product although he didn't really need to, and attended charity benefits and other events on behalf of the client in addition to actual modeling.

        Best wing man ever he a

        • by haruchai ( 17472 )

          Had one as a roommate for a while. The agency he worked for had him on a contract with a certain well known men's clothing brand. He had to wear only certain brand clothes provided for him when in public, had personal fitness trainer, used only hair products provided by a professional that he saw every week, saw a dermatologist for skin care product although he didn't really need to, and attended charity benefits and other events on behalf of the client in addition to actual modeling.

          Best wing man ever he attracted women but wasn't interested.

          I'm guessing he was gay?

    • by Khashishi ( 775369 ) on Friday November 11, 2016 @05:49PM (#53268333) Journal

      You'd be appearance-obsessed if your job depended on it.

  • except when it's not? Too much about too little.
  • by taustin ( 171655 ) on Friday November 11, 2016 @05:20PM (#53268181) Homepage Journal

    As a resident of California, who lives a short drive from Hollyweird, this law is no surprise. The second stupidest legislature in the US sucks Hollywood's dick at all times, in all ways.

    If they want to make age discrimination in Hollywood illegal, they should pass a law making age discrimination in Hollywood illegal. And if that's what they wanted, that's what they'd do. This has nothing to do with actresses not getting roles when they're too old to pretend to be teenagers any more, and everything to do with pretending to care what the celebs want, while actually protecting the studios from public scorn for the age discrimination.

    As noted, dates of birth are readily available to anyone who wants to know anyway. And producers and directors already know how old an actress is before they even consider casting them (if they care), and a professional makeup artist can make a 90 year old grandmother look like a teenager anyway with their magic bucket of spackle and trowel.

    This law isn't intended to keep the industry from being able to discriminate based on age, it's intended to keep the public from realizing how widespread that discrimination is. This is to mask the age of actresses from the public, not the industry.

    • by chispito ( 1870390 ) on Friday November 11, 2016 @06:07PM (#53268399)
      The only way to quasi-enforce anti-age-discrimination laws is to force studios to green light scripts with older lead characters. It is not age discrimination to pass over a 28-year-old, in favor of a 21-year-old, for the part of a 17-year-old.
      • by taustin ( 171655 )

        The only way to quasi-enforce anti-age-discrimination laws is to force studios to green light scripts with older lead characters.

        Such scripts are being greenlighted more these days. Helen Mirren has no problem getting work.

        It is not age discrimination to pass over a 28-year-old, in favor of a 21-year-old, for the part of a 17-year-old.

        Outside of big budget studio productions, in general, movies with female leads that are not pretending to be teenagers or in their 20s do not do as well at the box office. Especially the popcorn movies for the younger crowds, who just want wank material to begin with. The only way to even reduce age discrimination in Hollywood is to convince audiences to see movies starring older actresses.

    • The concept embodied by this law might be creeping into society generally. I monitor fire department scanners and they no longer say the patient is "46 years old", instead they say "46 years OF AGE" as if the very word "old" itself is a Bad Thing. I've actually heard the dispatcher correct herself as she was about to say "age" as if she would get reprimanded by saying it.

      Is this really a thing?

    • "As a resident of California, who lives a short drive from Hollyweird, this law is no surprise. The second stupidest legislature in the US sucks Hollywood's dick at all times, in all ways."

      What's odious about this law is that it only applies to the entertainment industry. Shouldn't it apply to all employees?

    • SFW.

      Just go to Wikipedia and look it up there. It's not a commercial entertainment website.

  • by PeeAitchPee ( 712652 ) on Friday November 11, 2016 @05:27PM (#53268213)
    Those ages will still be available on the Wayback Machine page caches, in perpetuity. Pepperidge Farm remembers.
  • Of course casting agencies have knowledge of actors details, especially the famous ones. Actors only want to hide their age from the public.
  • fighting a California Law which is about Canadian/Spanish/Jupiterian actors.
  • Wow, a website that publishes my birthday and mother's maiden name, along with all my pets' names! Perhaps next year they will publish my social security and driver's license numbers. I mean, the public has the right to know, right???
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Unless you pay to remove it. No conflict of interest there!!

    • This is a privacy versus free speech issue, not a privacy versus public's right to know.

      It's not about right to know, but right to publish.

    • by djinn6 ( 1868030 )
      If you're worried about identity theft, then take it up to the banks and credit card agencies. They shouldn't allow people to open accounts without verifying your identity. If you want to force them to do that, just absolve individuals of any liability for those accounts. They have no proof you opened the account? Then you don't need to pay it back.
  • I am currently being afflicted more and more with age. Treat it like any other medical fact.
  • by supernova87a ( 532540 ) <(kepler1) (at) (hotmail.com)> on Friday November 11, 2016 @06:30PM (#53268491)
    In the name of all ugly people, I demand that they go further and ban discrimination based on looks. And weight. Or rank odor.
    • I demand that they go further and ban discrimination based on looks. And weight. Or rank odor.

      And talent! Dull clumsy oafs have rights too, you know

  • Gotta hide those underage stars...

  • Meanwhile somewhere between Valhalla and band-camp.. the rest of us must wrestle with the human condition. We cannot choose our age as we are defined by our family tree and its calendar-based definitions or our genome. If anonimizing our age was mainstream.. and defined by law then again by law... how would any company/country/entity decide to "green out" their top-end staff? I can see both sides of this argument.. but if Hollywood is trying to use law-based attributes for a person.. then how do the rest

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