The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has filed a lawsuit against California after the state passed a law asking the entertainment database sites to remove the ages of actors on request. On September 24, California passed a law and ruled that leading movie and television information websites will have to remove the age of the actors within five days of the request.
The law, known as AB 1687, was passed to prevent age discrimination. According to the lawsuit, websites like IMDb.com will have to remove the age of celebrities if they request for the removal. Gabrielle Carteris, actress and the president of the SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild – AFTRA) in August wrote on the issue of age discrimination faced by celebrities as these websites reveal the dates of birth. "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 realising it," Carteris wrote.
However, IMDb, owned by Amazon.com Inc, in their lawsuit filed in federal court for the Northern District of California, on Thursday claimed that the law does not help much with achieving the goal of reducing age discrimination. The lawsuit also says that the law AB 1687 violates basic free speech rights under the US Constitution, Reuters reported.
"IMDb shares the worthy goal of preventing age discrimination. But AB 1687 is an unconstitutional law that does not advance, much less achieve, that goal. To the contrary, rather than passing laws designed to address the root problem of age discrimination, the State of California has chosen to chill free speech and undermine public access to factual information," attorney John C. Hueston stated in the lawsuit.
"IMDb routinely and gladly updates information on IMDb.com in order to correct verified inaccuracies. But it has always been IMDb's policy not to alter or delete any accurate, factual information on the public website. Being compelled to do so not only violates basic free speech principles, but undermines the accuracy and reliability of the IMDb.com database on which millions of users rely," he added.
IMDb in their lawsuit requested the court to block enforcement of the law. The lawsuit names California Attorney General Kamala Harris as a defendant.