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Censorship The Courts Idle

Actress Sues IMDb For Revealing Her Age 465

Posted by samzenpus
from the getting-long-in-the-tooth dept.
Alain Williams writes "An actress has sued Amazon.com for more than $1m (£639,000) after her age was posted on its Internet Movie Database. She says revealing her age on the site will lose her acting opportunities. From the article: 'The lawsuit states: "If one is perceived to be 'over-the-hill,' i.e., approaching 40, it is nearly impossible for an up-and-coming actress, such as the plaintiff, to get work as she is thought to have less of an 'upside,' therefore, casting directors, producers, directors, agents-manager, etc. do not give her the same opportunities, regardless of her appearance or talent."' So is her career dependent on lies?"
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Actress Sues IMDb For Revealing Her Age

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  • Yeah... (Score:4, Funny)

    by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Wednesday October 19, 2011 @03:29PM (#37765820) Homepage Journal

    That's the same reason I was forced out of pr0n. They couldn't believe the stamina this 45 year old had. Kept breaking the women.
    • by Surt (22457)

      I think you may have mistaken who you were having sex with. It's the men who have a breakable part ....

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by grub (11606)

        Ah... that explains the lock-jaw and hemorrhoids.
      • by pspahn (1175617)
        You might want to keep an eye on that lady friend of yours. She might be seeking an upgrade.
        • You might want to keep an eye on that lady friend of yours. She might be seeking an upgrade.

          It's all about the math. My ex once told me "Just remember, 20 goes into 40 a lot more than 40 goes into 20!" ;)

          • Re:Yeah... (Score:4, Insightful)

            by TWX (665546) on Wednesday October 19, 2011 @04:41PM (#37766876)

            40 goes into 20 a lot more than 40 goes into 40 as well.

            It's been demonstrated that many men don't have ED problems when dealing with younger women compared to older women. The younger women manage to still allure.

            James Doohan (Scotty from Star Trek) fathered a child at 77. His own dad fathered one at 80.

      • by Genda (560240)

        Oh no! Its easy for a man to break a woman. All he has to do is take off his pants, show her what he's fondly named "Murphy the moisture seeking wonder weasel", only to expose a unit the looks identical to the one found on the Statue of David [wordpress.com], and she laughs till she's broken, Duh!

  • by whoever57 (658626) on Wednesday October 19, 2011 @03:29PM (#37765822) Journal

    Step 1. Someone figures out who the acress is.
    Step 2. A quick lesson in the "Streisand Effect".

    • Re:Prediction (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Surt (22457) on Wednesday October 19, 2011 @03:41PM (#37766006) Homepage Journal

      The streisand effect could only benefit an unknown who is having trouble breaking into the industry.

    • by gman003 (1693318)

      From TFA: "The actress - referred to in court documents by the placeholder name Jane Doe - lives in Texas, is of Asian descent and has an Americanised stage name."

      Checking Wikipedia's "List of Asian-Americans" for actresses who are under 40 but nearing it, I can put out a few decent guesses:
      Korinna Moon Bloodgood
      Tia Carrere
      Camille Chen
      Joan Chen
      Karin Anna Cheung
      Yunjin Kim
      Jennie Kwan
      Marie Matiko
      Grace Park
      Linda Park
      Lindsay Price
      Chuti Tiu
      Helen Wong

      Hope someone else can do some more in-depth checking.

      • Your next steps in narrowing it down are:

        1: Who on the list looks much younger than 40?
        2: Who lives in Texas?
        3: Who is only mildly successful (rules out Tia)?
        4: Who didn't have their age posted until recently?

        Number 4 might be deduced by checking for recent updates to their page in Wikipedia, which might not have had their age included until it was discovered on IMDB.
      • The article mentioned that she is an up-and-coming actress. Sounds to me like a waitress who is an actress wannabe looking to 1) get attention, and possibly 2) sustain herself financially while she devotes herself to her "art" (i.e. she hates being a waitress and is looking for a relatively easy payday). It's probably not someone we've ever heard of, almost certainly not someone who would meet the notability threshold of Wikipedia.

        That having been said, though, it does seem to be a pretty gross violation

        • by snowgirl (978879)

          That having been said, though, it does seem to be a pretty gross violation of privacy to me for IMDb to publish someone's birth date based only on information they submitted, a date that they didn't get from some other public source. It may not be a big deal to you or me, but that doesn't matter. It's private data, and it should have been held in confidence.

          So you sue them for breach of contract (what contract?), and fraud (so it's wrong?)?

    • Step 1. Someone figures out who the acress is. Step 2. A quick lesson in the "Streisand Effect".

      Perhaps she was warned about the "Streisand Effect", and thought to herself, "an actress who continued working successfully well after her 40s? Sounds good to me!"

  • by Dunbal (464142) * on Wednesday October 19, 2011 @03:30PM (#37765834)
    Well I wasn't going to hire her because she's getting old, but now that I have seen the ease with which she sues people, she's on the top of my list!
    • If she wins the million bucks she won't care.

      • by Dunbal (464142) *
        She won't get a million dollars because the lawyers will want to be paid. And assuming she manages to collect and survive a counter-suit, she's going to find out exactly how little a million dollars (or whatever is left in her pocket) actually is. Certainly not enough to retire on at age 40.
        • by Surt (22457)

          That makes a not-necessarily valid assumption that she can or will do nothing else but act. I'd love to have a half million in the bank at 40 and embark on a second career.

  • by aurb (674003)
    how old is she? No, wait, don't post here, or we'll get Slashdot sued!
  • Given that acting involves portraying emotions and actions that are by definition not real, I would say yes.

    Addressing the larger point, it's hard to argue against wanting to maintain control over one's personal information. Very hard.

    • Except when you put it out in a public webpage?

    • by Servaas (1050156)

      Addressing the larger point, it's hard to argue against wanting to maintain control over one's personal information. Very hard.

      Having your age revealed is the least you'll be giving up if you want to become famous. If your selling your face you shouldn't get upset when people want to know it like they own it. It's like saying it be wonderful to be a soldier except for when your in war. It sucks, but it comes with the job. I would love it if everyone could do what they wanted without repercussions but perhaps thankfully life isn't like that.

    • by MightyYar (622222)

      it's hard to argue against wanting to maintain control over one's personal information. Very hard

      How can you make a blanket statement like that? Different situations have different standards. If you choose to be in the public eye, you should have pretty much no expectation of privacy. Being an actress is like being a politician - if you can't handle people knowing something as trivial as your age, being a public figure might not be the occupation for you.

      • The principle that we each should be in charge of the release of our personal information is a protection for you and me as well as for aging actresses.

        As for determining which information about someone is "trivial," I suggest not outsourcing that either.

    • by l0ungeb0y (442022)

      FYI, it's against US Employment law to ask any applicant any age related question other than to verify they are 18 or over. Since an actor is essentially a Contractor and not an employee, they are hired on the merits of their qualifications -- once again age has nothing to do with it, only their appearance and ability to do the work.

      So please, feel free to elaborate how the act of not disclosing her age to the public at large is "lying"

      • by vlm (69642)

        FYI, it's against US Employment law to ask any applicant any age related question other than to verify they are 18 or over.

        LOL that's hilarious. One place I worked was crazy enough to demand a high school transcript (WTF?). Take a wild guess how old I am if its documented that I graduated HS in '92.

        "You can't ask" officially but how hard is it to look at their employment record?

        Also many/most places demand a credit record check chock full of age related info. Lets see, I've been paying a phone bill (even if in a dorm) since fall of '92... I got a checking account in 92 the week after it was legally possible for me to open o

      • Since an actor is essentially a Contractor and not an employee, they are hired on the merits of their qualifications

        So what exactly stops all the other employers out there from just classifying their employees as "contractors" and thereby ignore the entire labyrinthine system of employment law?

        • by honkycat (249849)

          There are specific rules and laws (which vary by state to some degree, I believe) that regulate whether a relationship is an employer/employee relationship or not. In general, the more tightly controlled a worker's schedule is and the less freedom to direct his/her own tasks, the harder it will be to call it a contractor relationship. It can be tricky in some cases, but by and large it'd be difficult to get away with that. If you're required to report to work at 9am and do what your boss tells you when a

        • by vlm (69642)

          The flippant answer is the IRS, who take an extremely dim view of that kind of activity.

          The practical answer is the corporations don't want it, and since the corporations own the government (not us, thats for sure) what they say, goes.

          The long answer for why all of the above is the case, is that everything that can be outsourced or contracted out, has been, including some stuff that probably shouldn't have been. Theoretically, any employee jobs left would involve conflicts of interest if you also contracte

  • I think she just guaranteed that a piece of data that nobody looked at is about to be scrutinized by many. Her 'Jane Doe' status can't last for long...

    • by Necroman (61604)

      While most of us would never look at it, per potential employers are much more likely to look at it. I'm sure if I was hiring and actor/actress, I would use IMDB to see what info I could find on them.

      • by vlm (69642)

        While most of us would never look at it, per potential employers are much more likely to look at it. I'm sure if I was hiring and actor/actress, I would use IMDB to see what info I could find on them.

        That's the mysterious part. If I was hiring an actress or a booth babe or model, they're just objects, so the numbers I'm interested in are almost certainly NOT date of birth. I'm probably not trying to hire on wisdom or lack there of. The writers, yeah maybe.

  • From the article she won't provide a name but she is from Texas, of Asian descent, has an Americanized name, and is approaching 40. Any ideas?
  • Despite attempting to remain anonymous, this is the best way to ensure information about this person's age gets widespread [wikipedia.org] media attention.

  • Acting is a profession that is very public.

    Even if IMDB didn't list her age, that wouldn't stop Wikipedia, or a fan, or former schoolmate from posting that information on the Internet and having it forever shared with the collective knowledge-base of the world.
  • IMDB has become so hideously ugly and poorly designed that no one will notice anyway.

    Like usual, it looks like this is a little more complicated than it looks at first. It seems they only got her real DOB when she entered it while signing up for an account; I would guess that they might not have made clear that any information entered in the account creation process became public. So, maybe a leg to stand on in that respect - but very hard to believe she will get far claiming that her DOB should not be prin

  • "If one is perceived to be 'over-the-hill,' i.e., approaching 40, it is nearly impossible for an up-and-coming actress, such as the plaintiff, to get work as she is thought to have less of an 'upside,' therefore, casting directors, producers, directors, agents-manager, etc. do not give her the same opportunities, regardless of her appearance or talent."

    I'm pretty sure this statement only applies to the porn industry, which will narrow down the guesswork by a lot.
    • by Fned (43219)

      I'm pretty sure this statement only applies to the porn industry, which will narrow down the guesswork by a lot.

      Nope. All Hollywood is like this.

      • by Snotman (767894)

        Is this for a part on Glee where 40 year olds portray 18 year olds?

        I do not believe the anecdotal assertion. Prove that there is age bias. Do you hire for instance and you use age as a determining factor in hiring? That would be good testimony, but not scientific to the point we can generalize the phenomenon across the industry.

        In any case, going back to my first statement, how many actors are way older than the parts they play? I think it has more to do with how young or old you look than whether you can f

    • by drobety (2429764)
      Tom Cruise is a porn actor?
  • Should she not be suing the studios for age discrimination instead? That (if anyone) is who is truly hurting her career.
    • by Surt (22457)

      Age discrimination requires that she actually BE over 40. So she can't make such a suit.

    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      Either that or a labor action by the Screen Actor's Guild. That's the kind of thing your union is for, right? And she is in SAG, right?

  • You'd think that listing a shitty role, in a shitty B movie would degrade your ability to land a future job more so then your age. Sorry, you're old as fuck .. not for this Earth, just for this role VS Sorry, you just plain suck.
  • another case of Job Security through Obscurity.

  • by ShaunC (203807) on Wednesday October 19, 2011 @03:39PM (#37765984)

    Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore, Demi Moore, Susan Sarandon, all still working and I could easily go on. Hell, even Cloris Leachman still gets roles. Being over the hill has absolutely nothing to do with casting.

    Unless this unnamed actress is involved in the "adult film industry," I don't think she has a point.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'm gonna sue IMDB for not posting any of my info, making it impossible for me to get any jobs!

  • In short, yes. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Fishbulb (32296) on Wednesday October 19, 2011 @03:43PM (#37766038)

    All careers in Hollywood are based on lies. Having myself attempted to break into commercial voice acting, it was often a question as to whether you (as a voice actor) should include your mugshot. The specialty of the woman who taught my classes was the "teenage girl" part. Why not use an actual teenage girl? Because she was a much better actor in her 40's and 50's, yet can still sound like a teenager. Is it a lie for her to audition for teenager parts? Would she have gotten the audition (just the chance to tryout for the part) if she included a picture of herself as a 40-year-old?
    Keep in mind that Bart Simpson wouldn't have the voice he does if Nancy Cartwright hadn't come in to audition for Lisa's part. Does that make Bart's voice a lie?

    From a certain point of view... ;)

  • The question is: Who is she?

    The over/under betting is: How long before we find out? (There are a lot of clues to narrow this down.)

    But also: Is her contention correct that this is how her BD found its way onto IMDB? She acts like there is no other possible way, but that's hardly a certainty. I'm guessing that this is like that Skanks of New York website where the lawsuit is intended to discover who actually posted it by forcing IMDB to defend itself by revealing the IP address and account information of
  • I do not think she has a leg to stand on. If the information is public and IMDb tracks actors, then I imagine it is within their rights to post what is in the public domain.

  • we don't expect ageism (although we find it in our tech field); but in the visual entertainment field, OF COURSE you are going to be judged on looks. age is part of that.

    people who enter this field usually have a clue that they have a short window while they're 'golden'. hey, YOU picked your career and probably made good coin 'in your day'. did you make the best of it while you could? how long did you think you could milk that cow, anyway?

    I just have no sympathy for movie or music 'stars'. none at all,

  • I'd bet that "up and coming" really means "She's never had even a decent supporting role in any film that more than 1000 people have paid to watch, but we're sure she's about to break through to the big time any day now". I'm sure she'll eventually be identified and I also bet that when we find out who she is, everyone is going to say "Never heard of her".
  • FUCK HER. If her birthdate was not public then it would never have been posted on her profile in IMDB.

    Not to mention, all it would take is a couple of phone calls by a director to find out her age.

    • by Beorytis (1014777)
      No. TFA says she provided the DOB when she signed up for an IMDB Pro account, believing it would be kept confidential.
  • Why hide her age? Maybe she was hoping to appear on Glee along with all of the other 20-somethings there.
  • actors lie (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    "Is her career dependent on lies?"

    You do understand the nature of acting right?

  • I don't think that working in the public eye should necessarily cost you all your privacy, even on straightforward things like this.

    Also, with acting, there may not be enough roles _for_ older actresses. That's likely also an issue, but a different one.

  • by Dhalka226 (559740) on Wednesday October 19, 2011 @04:02PM (#37766358)

    I wanted to be angry about this. I even had a post written up about how the judge had better eviscerate this woman and her lawyer for such a stupid lawsuit. Then I went against all Slashdot policies and read the article. It is not quite what we think.

    She is definitely mad about her age being disclosed, and that is probably the basis for the damage amount -- but her actual claims are about how they got her age. She is claiming that they got her birthdate from a subscription to IMDBPro and is claiming breach of contract and invasion of privacy.

    I am not commenting on the merits of that claim, by the way, but it is certainly different than "somebody disclosed a fact about me, sue them!" Much as it pains me, perhaps the calls for evisceration have to be put temporarily on hold. Meh. I guess I have to find a patent story and call for evisceration there instead.

  • She'll get a much better payday (but perhaps much poorer acting opportunities) if she files a suit against the entire casting industry for widespread age discrimination.
  • Bad article (Score:5, Informative)

    by chazzf (188092) <cfulton&deepthought,org> on Wednesday October 19, 2011 @04:11PM (#37766476) Homepage Journal
    The BBC article is light on the details to the point of distorting the issue. There's a better write-up at Paid Content [paidcontent.org], which also has a link to the complaint [scribd.com]. It's not just about ageism; the Jane Doe alleges that IMDb pulled her birthdate from her credit-card information and then published it, ignoring takedown requests.
  • by slasho81 (455509) on Wednesday October 19, 2011 @04:14PM (#37766512)
    It's Nicole Bilderback [imdb.com], born June 10, 1975

    Obvious publicity stunt.
  • The whole story... (Score:5, Informative)

    by pwileyii (106242) on Wednesday October 19, 2011 @04:18PM (#37766566)

    I read this article yesterday and if I understand correctly, the problem isn't that her age was revealed, but that the personal information she used when signing up for the site was used to get that information. If true, this seems to be a complete misuse of her personal information. I think ultimately, Amazon will have to provide evidence that they obtained this information from another source or convince the judge that it was within their rights according to the site's user agreement to use the information in this manner.

  • by bickle (101226) on Wednesday October 19, 2011 @04:21PM (#37766614)

    "So is her career dependent on lies?"

    Wow, trolling in the summary?

    /sigh

  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Wednesday October 19, 2011 @04:46PM (#37766956)

    The article barely touches on the real problem here - she paid for an "IMDb Pro" account and Amazon used that info to pull an "above the line" credit report on her. These "above the line" reports contain: name, mother's maiden name, date of birth, sex, address, prior addresses, telephone number, and the Social Security Number and have no legal protection. That's where they got her age from.

    So she basically paid Amazon and they used the billing information for purposes other than which she intended. That's the kind of shit that makes me never want to pay for anything on the net - and only use cash in real life too.

The 11 is for people with the pride of a 10 and the pocketbook of an 8. -- R.B. Greenberg [referring to PDPs?]

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