01/03/2012 // Los Angeles, CA, USA // Keller Grover LLP // California consumer protection lawyer Eric Grover
Los Angeles, CA (CA Consumer Protection Lawyer News) — Age is everything when it comes to Hollywood, which is why an actress has sued the IMDb for $1 million, after her age was revealed on its online database. The lawsuit, which was filed last month under the name “Jane Doe,” has now ignited a debate about ageism and privacy in Hollywood, reports California consumer protection lawyer Eric Grover of Keller Grover LLP.
The “Internet Movie Database” (IMDb)—an online database of information regarding movies, television shows, actors, production crew personnel, etc.—is owned by Amazon, who was also named in the suit filed in the U.S. District Court in Seattle.
The lawsuit contends that IMDb used the plaintiff’s credit card and other personal information to determine and post her birth date—a violation of privacy and consumer rights. While the lawsuit does not reveal her identity, it does state she’s from Texas and of Asian ethnicity, CBS News reports.
“Jane Doe” asserts that because of her age exposure on IMDb, she could lose opportunities for certain TV roles, Reuters reported.
IMDb has since filed a motion to force the actress to identify herself in the lawsuit, which also called the actress “selfish” as well as accusing her of committing fraud by misleading studios and audiences. But the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) has joined forces with “Jane Doe,” and stated that by revealing her identity it could lead her to be “blacklisted” as a “complainer”—a death sentence in the entertainment world.
In fact, SAG and the Internet Movie Database Pro, or IMDbPro have been meeting over a two-year period to discuss dropping ages from the site. So far no deal has been reached.
The age exposure on IMDb is not a new issue, because over the last five to six years there have been a rash of complaints by SAG members who claim they have stopped getting certain movie roles as a result of the public display of their age, CBS News reveals.
In the cutthroat entertainment world it’s apparent that the older you get, the availability of work for females decreases. For example, CBS News reported that in 2010, actresses aged 41 to 50 working in SAG-covered film and TV projects earned a total of $58 million—compared to the $160 million paid to actors in that age group.
“It’s the sad truth, image is everything and if you don’t fit the bill you’re out. Even a seemingly innocuous thing like exposing someone’s age on IMDb could cost them their livelihood,” explains Los Angeles consumer protection attorney Eric Grover. “What is troubling is how IMDb is alleged to go about obtaining age information, such as in this case where it is claimed they used personal information and credit cards—as that is a clear violation of consumer rights laws.”
“An online database should not have the authority to access consumers sensitive personal information to determine their age. It should be an option—the consumer should be able to decide if they want to make public that type of information,” Grover, a California consumer protection lawyer continues.
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