September 27, 2016—Professor Eugene Volokh spoke to the Hollywood Reporter about California’s new law requiring the popular film and TV database, IMDb, to remove an actor’s age and birth date from their profile in hopes of preventing age discrimination and bias among casting directors. Many experts have agreed that the law is unconstitutional for depriving the public from truthful facts.
Professor Volokh says IMDb Pro is commercial speech, “i.e., speech that is distributed in order to propose a commercial transaction.” However, the information displayed on the free site is not. “That information is functionally fully protected speech, not the less-protected commercial advertising of services,” said Volokh.
“I don’t think that the law can require IMDb to remove the age information even from the publicly available [site], for which the great majority of readers aren’t employers but just curious members of the public.”