A Manhattan-based company running unofficial fan websites for artists like Justin Bieber and Rihanna has been hit with a lawsuit for requesting personal information from minors without parental consent.
The U.S. Justice Department says Artist Arena violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act by demanding information such as first and last names, email addresses, birthdates, and cellphone numbers from kids under age 13.
Information was gathered from more than 100,000 young people under age 13, without parental consent, the suit claims.
Registered fan club members could create online portfolios and interact publicly online by posting comments.
Artist Arena ran unofficial online fan clubs for the sites BieberFever.com and RihannaNow.com, as well as sites for celebrities Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez, Bieber’s girlfriend.
The lawsuit is seeking $16,000 US for each violation and an injunction against the operators of the site.
Artist Arena claims it has changed its registration criteria to urge young fans not to give personal information. It currently runs only BieberFever.com.