EFF Goes To Bat For Free Speech, Asks Appeals Court To Uphold Injunction Against California's Stupid 'Anti-Ageism' Law

from the can't-fix-stupid.-but-you-can-enjoin-it. dept

Because the state is an idiot, the attorney general of California is appealing the federal court decision permanently preventing the state's government from enforcing its ultra-stupid "anti-ageism" law. The law -- which would do absolutely nothing to prevent movie studios from engaging in biased hiring -- targeted the Internet Movie Database (IMDb), preventing it from publishing facts about actors and actresses. This asinine, First Amendment-trampling law was prompted by failed litigation against IMDb by an actress who felt she was losing roles to younger actresses because the site had published her birthdate.

The federal court needed only six pages to tell the state how terrible its law was and what impact it would have on protected speech. This ridiculous argument -- supported by beneficiaries of the First Amendment (the Screen Actors Guild) -- was quickly dismantled by the presiding judge:

SAG-AFTRA contends that publication of facts about the ages of people in the entertainment industry can be banned because these facts "facilitate" age discrimination – an argument that, if successful, would enable states to forbid publication of virtually any fact. There is no support in controlling case law for the proposition that a state may ban publication of facts to impede a third party’s possible reliance on those facts to engage in discrimination.

The lawsuit persists, thanks to the state's infinite supply of time and other people's money. The obvious First Amendment violations are being pushed again on appeal. The EFF -- joined by The First Amendment Coalition, Wikimedia Foundation, Media Law Resource Center, and The Center for Democracy & Technology -- has filed a brief [PDF] in support of IMDb and Constitutional lawmaking in general.

The brief argues the First Amendment protects IMDb's publication of facts about people listed in its pages. That much should be painfully obvious, but the state can't seem see past its own do-somethingism. But, just as importantly, there's a First Amendment right to access factual information of public interest. And these facts definitely are of public interest -- something inadvertently argued by the law itself. If there's ageism in the movie industry, the more facts everyone has to work with, the more a case can be made the industry is engaging in discriminatory practices. Removing this info from circulation actually enables ageism by making movie studios the sole repository of this data.

The state should be embarrassed it's actually appealing the decision shutting down its obviously unconstitutional law. It's not going to get a win at the appellate level either, not when the best arguments it can offer have holes large enough to drive trucks full of First Amendment precedent through them. But I guess shame isn't part of the equation when all you're doing is flushing other people's money down the toilet.


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  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 6 Dec 2018 @ 9:53am

    Dear CA,
    Did you miss the part where your state is on fire?
    An actress who's career peaked with ghetto girl 3 claims ageism stopped her from getting work, and you take up that problem.
    IIRC her career didn't qualify as more than a hobby.
    Ageism is already illegal, it will not be helped by trying to pass a law to hide facts, and the damage none of you are willing to see is waiting in the wings. Lets hide the fact he was convicted of molesting actresses... you'll tell us this won't happen but you're wrong.

    How about you work on trying to keep the rest of the state from becoming a burning hellscape & let Actors and Actresses deal with the fact their ages are known. There are federal laws they can avail themselves of and gee, pretty sure the group screaming the loudest could arrange boycotts of productions that use age as a reason to not cast someone. Of course the films might look shitty if they have to hire Angela Lansbury to play a 12 yr old b/c age doesn't matter.

    And imagine the huge line of out of work radio actors & voiceover people who are to old to voice a role... b/c age is the only reason decisions are made, not skill or ability.

    This isn't a problem that needs a law, it is a stupid distraction trying to create more rights for 'special' people that won't apply to everyone. All men are created equal*.

    *- Unless you are a crappy actress who convinced yourself you aren't getting work because we know your real age not because you were naked on an episode of BullShit! & Ghetto Girl 3 was your best role to date.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 6 Dec 2018 @ 10:19am

      Re:

      Dear CA,

      Did you miss the part where your state is on fire?

      An actress who's career peaked with ghetto girl 3 claims ageism stopped her from getting work, and you take up that problem.

      It's a dumb law, but...you realize it didn't just get passed a couple of weeks ago, yeah?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        James Burkhardt (profile), 6 Dec 2018 @ 10:33am

        Re: Re:

        Moreover, does he think that the legislature would be fighting the fires themselves? They passed laws. PG&E not turning off power to a section of federal lands in response to residents demanding they not turn off power isn't exactly something CA lawyers or legislators can do anything about. Climate change isn't something they can do something about.

        How were they supposed to be spending their time?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Thad (profile), 6 Dec 2018 @ 10:37am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Climate change isn't something they can do something about.

          Well, it is, but the California legislature has been doing something about it.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          That Anonymous Coward (profile), 6 Dec 2018 @ 4:05pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Being airdropped on fires to suck up all of the available oxygen?

          Making sure there were more resources made available.


          Spending their time crafting and supporting a poorly written law that no one actually needs, seems like a waste of resources best spent elsewhere.

          @Thad - Yes I know how old the law is and the anonymous woman who wanted to remain anonymous in her lawsuit against Amazon for 22 kajillion dollars because her actual age kept her from her big break and not her break out role as ghetto girl 3 in a Leprechaun franchise movie....

          This is a stupid distraction to appeal to a bunch of people who are terrified we'll learn their real ages and suddenly no longer think they are hot enough to be stars.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Thad (profile), 6 Dec 2018 @ 4:08pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            This is a stupid distraction

            No, launching into a relative-privation ramble about wildfires in a conversation about freedom of speech is a stupid distraction.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 6 Dec 2018 @ 7:45pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Hey.. this is a HOT TOPIC!

              Was it Julia Roberts? Or maybe. .. well I better be nice! Sorry, Julia!

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              That Anonymous Coward (profile), 7 Dec 2018 @ 6:15am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Wildfires were a recent hot topic people could relate to. (Hey no where did I ever say I wasn't an asshole)

              They are wasting time to "protect" a few people at the expense of freedom of speech b/c someone might not get a job if we knew how old they were. There are laws on the books to deal with this, a massive 'union' that could impose penalties, but instead the state focuses their resources and effort into trying to appease a few people by pretending the 1st Amendment isn't a thing.

              Perhaps my use of wildfires was wrong, maybe I should have gone with the drought, Orange County & the magical snitches, people being beaten while cuffed, mentally ill people being executed, or a long fscking list of things that actually require their attention & focus before we decide that Junie Hoang deserves a law to hide her age b/c thats totally why she isn't getting work not the lack of talent and shit movies she signs on for.
              https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20150207/14372629948/actress-seeking-1-million-imdb-publishing -her-real-age-was-pulling-less-than-2000-year.shtml

              Rather than remind the industry there are laws they have to follow, lets make a new right for 'famous' people that will have chilling implications... its only fucked shit up every other time they did it, this till will be different.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Thad (profile), 7 Dec 2018 @ 7:27am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Perhaps my use of wildfires was wrong, maybe I should have gone with the drought, Orange County & the magical snitches, people being beaten while cuffed, mentally ill people being executed, or a long fscking list of things that actually require their attention & focus before we decide that Junie Hoang deserves a law to hide her age b/c thats totally why she isn't getting work not the lack of talent and shit movies she signs on for.

                Or maybe instead of the fallacy of relative privation you could have made a legitimate criticism of what's actually wrong with the law.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  That Anonymous Coward (profile), 7 Dec 2018 @ 9:11am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Pretty sure I covered its a stupid fscking law.
                  Pretty sure mentioning all of the things they are ignoring in favor of pursuing this shows a lack of intelligence.

                  Sorry if I am not meeting your requirements but in a state suffering from a host of issues... being able to hide how old you are is something they wasted time and money on.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • icon
                      That Anonymous Coward (profile), 7 Dec 2018 @ 4:45pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      "Fallacy of relative privation (also known as "appeal to worse problems" or "not as bad as") – dismissing an argument or complaint due to the existence of more important problems in the world, regardless of whether those problems bear relevance to the initial argument. First World problems are a subset of this fallacy"

                      Except there isn't an initial argument, they passed a stupid fucking law that will never pass muster, they are now defending stupid fucking law so they can appease the actors.
                      They aren't using the tools they already have & are creating a new set of magical rights for actors ignoring the failures every time they do it.

                      Silly me for pointing out their state has worse fucking problems than the world knowing how old an actress is & they should be slapped around by the citizens who aren't getting things they need.


                      vade et caca in pilleum et ipse traheatur super aures tuos

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 6 Dec 2018 @ 11:04am

        Re: Re:

        ...you realize that the fires started in July, yeah?

        And that the 2017 fires were the most destructive in California history, yeah? (at least until 2018...)

        And that the 2016 fires were the 18th largest on record (records since 1933), yeah?

        And that the 2015 fires were the most destructive in the previous 10 years, yeah?

        It's not like nobody realized that fires were a problem in 2016 when the law was passed, in 2017 when they defended it in court, in late 2017 when it was overturned in court, or in March when they appealed it... yeah?

        If they really needed to waste money on frivolous legal actions, they could easily waste it on frivolous legal actions against PG&E...and if they needed to waste time in the legislature passing blatantly illegal laws, they could pass blatantly illegal laws about federal land...yeah?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Thad (profile), 6 Dec 2018 @ 12:18pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          ...you realize that the fires started in July, yeah?

          I sure do. The law was passed in 2016.

          (The current year is 2018.)

          And that the 2016 fires were the 18th largest on record (records since 1933), yeah?

          The quoted sentence was "Did you miss the part where your state is on fire?" Do you, like former President Clinton, have trouble understanding the meaning of is? It's present tense. When somebody uses the word "is", it means they're referring to a thing that is happening right now, not a thing that happened in the past.

          It's not like nobody realized that fires were a problem in 2016 when the law was passed, in 2017 when they defended it in court,

          Wait, hang on. Are you suggesting that the California legislature is defending the law in court?

          in late 2017 when it was overturned in court, or in March when they appealed it... yeah?

          There's that "they" again. Do you not understand that the legislative branch and the state AG are completely different branches of government? And that the state AG's job description has very little to do with fighting fires?

          The point -- since you seem not to have understood it -- is that the fires are a fucking non sequitur. It's the fallacy of relative privation. "Why are you focusing on x when y is happening?" is a fallacious argument.

          The anti-ageism law is a bad law because it violates the First Amendment. Wildfires have absolutely fucking nothing to do with it. We should criticize this law for being a bad law, not because it's a law that doesn't deal with wildfires. Lots of laws don't deal with wildfires. I didn't see you or TAC in here complaining about California's net neutrality law because it didn't involve wildfires.

          The important variable is not "relates to wildfires/does not relate to wildfires". The important variable is "is a good law/is a bad law."

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Dec 2018 @ 10:57am

    this is being done at the behest of the movie industries and the State Attorney is fully on board with it. to me though it goes further and is yet another step towards the Internet being completely taken over by the entertainment industries! that day is ever closer and every win these industries get just lays more of a foundation for the ultimate aim. that aim is so close now!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Dec 2018 @ 10:59am

    You know what promotes agism for stars more than birth dates?

    Photos!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Dec 2018 @ 7:54pm

      Re: You know what promotes agism for stars more than birth dates

      What promotes ageism is diabetes and alcoholism more than photos!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Dec 2018 @ 12:15pm

    "Because the state is an idiot, the attorney general of California is appealing"

    There is often logic behind such seeming madness. The case will be headed to the now-infamous Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which was packed by Obama with some notably radical far-left judges whose wacky decisions surprise many people. Perhaps this could turn out to be another one of them, before it heads to the Supreme Court.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 6 Dec 2018 @ 1:06pm

      Re:

      The Ninth Circuit court was left-leaning well before Obama -- it's kind of a natural consequence of being located in San Francisco.

      Incidentally, you're using "packed" incorrectly. Filling vacancies isn't court packing; court packing means creating new seats.

      You may disagree with the pace at which Obama and a Democratic Senate appointed federal judges (and others may do the same for Trump and the Republican Senate), but that's not packing. When Arizona expanded its state supreme court from 5 seats to 7 in 2016, that was packing.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 6 Dec 2018 @ 1:30pm

        Re: Re:

        Thanks for the correction.

        left-leaning -- it's kind of a natural consequence of being located in San Francisco.

        The owner of this site might push back against that blanket stereotype :)

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Thad (profile), 6 Dec 2018 @ 2:51pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I'm not making a blanket stereotype, I'm pointing out a demographic trend.

          "A representative cross-section of people in San Francisco will be left-leaning" is not equivalent to "100% of people in San Francisco are left-leaning."

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 6 Dec 2018 @ 3:57pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Yes, the "not all xxxxx" argument. On the larger front, pointing out many types of demographic facts can trigger a hostile response, and in many countries a prison sentence, no matter how much hard evidence backs it up. At the least, expect to be called a racist, sexist, anti-semite, etc., just for breaking that taboo and mentioning the unmentionable. It could be one reason why the über-progressive country of Sweden removed all traces of race/ethnicity components from the country's official **public** crime statistics after a wave of 3rd world immigration that preceded a huge increase in violent crime.

            And it was funny when John Roberts slapped down Trump by saying "We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges" -- when in fact the left-right divide is palpable, demonstrating that justice is not really blind.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 6 Dec 2018 @ 8:13pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            100% Left leaning is preposterous.. because San Francisco doesn't have enough lamp posts. Whachu say!

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    YES, 6 Dec 2018 @ 12:55pm

    we also need WORKISM laws

    we also need workism laws so you cant see fucking anyhting about this twits...that will help them ..hahahahaa

    YES YES i like where this goes and approve now i think of it...SOON IMDB goes poof the better no more adverting bullshit freely for hollyretards.....

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Dec 2018 @ 1:36pm

      Re: we also need WORKISM laws

      What grade are you in? Whatever it is, please refrain from posting on public forums for the time being. The adults are speaking.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 7 Dec 2018 @ 5:10am

        Re: Re: we also need WORKISM laws

        Wait... you understand this random arrangement of words well enough to respond?

        I can't even glean one iota of meaning from it. Google translate couldn't either.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 7 Dec 2018 @ 12:07pm

    'Look, we buried the problem, that means it doesn't exist!'

    Yeah, this was a stupid law from the start, an attempt to shift the blame to a third-party platform rather than the ones actually responsible thanks to the fact that annoying them could cause a dip in 'donations' and people finding themselves out of work(for purely unrelated reasons of course).

    Studios discriminating against people because of their age? Well obviously all the blame should be laid at the feet of those fiends who made the actor/actresses name known! Blame the studios for the discrimination they engage in? Why, perish the thought, once they knew how old the people they were hiring were they had no choice but to discriminate against them!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Toom1275 (profile), 8 Dec 2018 @ 3:22pm

      Re: 'Look, we buried the problem, that means it doesn't exist!'

      Of course, we all kow the true culprit here is entropy, changing these peoples' ages without their consent.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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