On February 20, 2018, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California granted plaintiff IMDb.com, Inc.’s motion for summary judgment and permanently enjoined the State of California from enforcing AB 1687 on the grounds that it violates the First Amendment.  IMDb.com, Inc. v. Becerra, No. 16-cv-06535-VC, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27898 *10.

AB 1687, codified at California Civil Code § 1798.83.5, states in pertinent part as follows:

A commercial online entertainment employment service provider that enters into a contractual agreement to provide employment services to an individual for a

subscription payment shall not, upon request by the subscriber, do either of the following:

(1) Publish or make public the subscriber’s date of birth or age information in an online profile of the subscriber.

(2)  Share the subscriber’s date of birth or age information with any Internet Web sites for the purpose of publication.

Cal. Civ. Code § 1798.83.5(b).

Defendant State of California and defendant-intervenor SAG-AFTRA argued that AB 1687 should be considered a regulation of voluntary commercial contracts rather than a speech restriction.  The court disagreed, finding that it is in fact a direct restriction on speech since the law “prohibits certain speakers from publishing certain truthful information…because of concerns that a third party might use that information to engage in [age discrimination].”  IMDb.com, supra, at *3. 

Applying strict scrutiny, the defendants were required to prove that AB 1687 “furthers a compelling interest and is narrowly tailored to achieve that interest.”  Id. at *5-6.  The court held that the law failed to withstand strict scrutiny since there was no evidence that California explored less-speech-restrictive alternatives (id. at *7) and since the law was both over and under-inclusive (Id. at *8). 

A link to the opinion may be found here.

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On February 20, 2018, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California granted plaintiff IMDb.com, Inc.’s motion for summary judgment and permanently enjoined the State of California from enforcing AB 1687 on the grounds that it violates the First Amendment.  IMDb.com, Inc. v. Becerra, No. 16-cv-06535-VC, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27898 *10.  AB 1687, codified at California Civil Code § 1798.83.5, states in pertinent part as follows: “A commercial online entertainment employment service provider that enters into a contractual agreement to provide employment services to an individual for a subscription payment shall not, upon request by the subscriber, do either of the following: (1) Publish or make public the subscriber’s date of birth or age information in an online profile of the subscriber. (2) Share the subscriber’s date of birth or age information with any Internet Web sites for the purpose of publication.”  Cal. Civ. Code § 1798.83.5(b).  Defendant State of California and defendant-intervenor SAG-AFTRA argued that AB 1687 should be considered a regulation of voluntary commercial contracts rather than a speech restriction.  The court disagreed, finding that it is in fact a direct restriction on speech since the law “prohibits certain speakers from publishing certain truthful information…because of concerns that a third party might use that information to engage in [age discrimination].”  IMDb.com, supra, at *3.  Applying strict scrutiny, the defendants were required to prove that AB 1687 “furthers a compelling interest and is narrowly tailored to achieve that interest.”  Id. at *5-6.  The court held that the law failed to withstand strict scrutiny since there was no evidence that California explored less-speech-restrictive alternatives (id. at *7) and since the law was both over and under-inclusive (Id. at *8).  A link to the opinion may be found here.

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Statute restricting publication of age-related information by online entertainment employment service providers found unconstitutional.

Kavon Adli is the founder and managing attorney with The Internet Law Group (TILG) with offices in Beverly Hills and the San Francisco Bay Area. TILG represents and advises businesses in a broad range of internet-related litigation, transaction, legal compliance and intellectual property matters.