Actress sues Amazon for revealing age on film database

LOS ANGELES - A US actress has lodged a $1 million (S$1.2 million) lawsuit against Amazon accusing the Internet giant of revealing her age on the film industry website IMDB by using personal details from her credit card.

The actress, who asked for her identity to be masked and is referred to only as "Jane Doe," has launched the suit for damages and interests with the Western District Court of Washington state, in northwestern Seattle.

She is alleging fraud, breach of contract and violation of her private life, as well as her consumer rights.

According to the suit, the actress, who is of Asian descent, changed her name to make it more American and has never wanted to reveal her age in order to maximize her chances of obtaining film roles.

Since 2003 her profile has been available on the Internet Movie Database (IMDB), which is owned by Amazon, when she joined the site as an unknown actress.

In 2008 to increase her exposure, she subscribed to IMDbPro which offers "insider information" to paying clients. To join the service, the actress had to hand over her credit card details.

"Shortly after subscribing to IMDbPro, plaintiff noticed that her legal date of birth had been added to her public acting profile in the Internet Movie Database, revealing to the public that plaintiff is many years older than she looks," the lawsuit states.

"In the entertainment industry, youth is king. If one is perceived to be 'over-the-hill,' i.e., approaching 40, it is nearly impossible for an up-and-coming actress, such as the plaintiff, to get work," it added.

The actress, who lives in Texas, believes details of her age were uncovered by doing record searches using her credit card information, and has asked the site to remove her age from her profile, but it has refused.

Contacted by AFP, Amazon spokeswoman Mary Osako, declined to comment on the case, saying: "We have a long-standing practice of not commenting on active litigation."

The lawsuit alleges that Amazon's "actions have had a double-whammy effect on plaintiff's livelihood."

"First, because lesser-known forty-year-old actresses are not in demand in the entertainment business, plaintiff has suffered a substantial decrease in acting credits, employment opportunities and earnings.

"Second, because plaintiff looks so much younger than her actual age indicates, plaintiff has experienced rejection in the industry for each 'forty-year-old' role for which she has interviewed."