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FRIDAY, APRIL 12, 2013

Jury rejects IMDb age disclosure suit

SEATTLE – A federal jury in Seattle on Thursday rejected a claim brought by a little-known actress who first lied about how old she was on the popular Internet Movie Database, then sued the company when it published her true age.

Huong Hoang goes by the stage name Junie Hoang and has appeared in such films as “Gingerdead Man 3: Saturday Night Cleaver” and “Hoodrats 2: Hoodrat Warriors.”

Her lawsuit generated a lot of media attention when she filed it – anonymously, at first – in 2011. She said she intended for her case to highlight online privacy as well as age discrimination in Hollywood, and she initially sought $1 million in damages.

“My hope was that it would make a change in the database,” Hoang told the Associated Press after the verdict. “I knew it was a problem not just for me but for anyone else who had their age on their profile.”

The 41-year-old claimed offers for roles dried up after the popular online movie database mined her account information to learn her true age, then posted it on her profile in 2008. She sued for breach of contract, and the case went to trial this week. The judge dismissed IMDb’s parent company, Amazon.com, as a defendant before the trial.

IMDb argued that it has a First Amendment right to publish accurate information. It also said Hoang couldn’t prove she lost any money or roles because of it, and even if she could, she couldn’t prove it was IMDb’s fault.

IMDb.com is a searchable database that includes more than 2 million pages for movies, television and entertainment programs as well as 4 million cast and crew members.

Hoang signed up for a subscription service with the website called IMDb Pro. The service is designed for entertainment industry professionals. It provides contact information and other details for the actors, actresses, directors and others listed.

She said she initially listed a false birth year – 1978, instead of 1971 – because she usually plays characters younger than she is.


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