Last week, we blogged about The Yooge Matter of Changing Libel Laws. This week, we share another First Amendment matter: IMDb.com’s case that the new California law requiring it to conceal actors’ birth dates violates its First Amendment rights.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the popular movie and TV database recently filed a federal lawsuit in San Francisco to block enforcement of the law, known as AB 1687, that will take effect in January 2017. The new law has the support of the film industry’s largest labor union, which claimed that not disclosing actors’ birthdays would help to curb age-based discrimination. IMDb disagreed, stating in its lawsuit:
“AB 1687 does not merely violate the First Amendment rights of IMDb and its hundreds of millions of users and contributors. The statute also violates the Commerce Clause because California is attempting to police the internet far beyond the state’s own borders.”
The suit also points out that the statute doesn’t apply to Wikipedia or other entertainment-related sites — only IMDb.com.
The Internet Association, which includes Google and Facebook, has also joined IMDb in criticizing the new law. Per The Wall Street Journal, the president of the trade group believes such a law could lead to censorship.
On a related note, Thanksgiving is an occasion when some family members boldly exercise their First Amendment rights at the dinner table. We hope you enjoy a peaceful holiday!