A federal jury in Seattle ruled in favor of Amazon.com’s IMDb yesterday in a case brought by a 41-year-old actress whose birthdate was revealed against her wishes on the popular movie and television database site.
Texas actress Huong “Junie” Hoang originally filed her suit as a “Jane Doe,” in October 2011. She alleged that IMDb was able to figure out her birthdate when she signed up for a paid IMDb account, and then display that information on her public profile. Hoang said she had been benefiting from looking younger than her age, and the disclosure made it “nearly impossible” for her to land work in an industry where “youth is king,”
Although the case was fundamentally about privacy, the remaining issue at trial was a breach of contract claim, and the jury ruled that Hoang didn’t prove her case, according to court records.
Lawyers for IMDb wrote in a filing after the trial, “Hoang did not present any testimony, documents, or other evidence supporting her damages allegations of lost income and profits. Neither Hoang nor her agent Joe Kolkowitz—her only two witnesses on damages—offered any testimony about future damages, and neither offered competent testimony on which a reasonable jury could base an award of damages for acting jobs allegedly lost to date.”
Hoang told the Associated Press, “My hope was that it would make a change in the database. I knew it was a problem not just for me but for anyone else who had their age on their profile.”
She alleged that IMDb cross-referenced public records using her credit card information to figure out the birthdate that was then displayed on the site. IMDb said it was exercising its First Amendment rights in publishing Hoang’s birthdate.
Hoang’s credits include the comedy/horror flick “Gingerdead Man 3: Saturday Night Cleaver,” and the TV series “I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant,” according to her IMDb profile — which continues to display her birthdate.