Thursday, October 15, 2009

'Govenator' Expands California Anti-Paparazzi Law

Cropped image of Arnold Schwarzenegger.Image via Wikipedia
Calif. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a target of celebrity photographers during his Hollywood days, signed a bill this week expanding his state's 11-year-old anti-paparazzi law that extends liability to the media outlets that pay for and publish the candid pictures.

The dogged freelance photogs who sell unauthorized snapshots of celebrities engaged in familial or personal activities could be criminally liable and subject to a maximum $50,000 fine under the new law. Media outlets (listen up, TMZ and National Enquirer) that initially publish paparazzi photos aware that the photos in question were improperly obtained are also liable under the amended anti-paparazzi statute.

Pursuant to Calif. Civ. Code Sec. 1708-1725, it is illegal for photographers to trespass, physically and constructively, to capture on film celebrities engaged in familial or personal activities in a "manner that is offensive to a reasonable person."

The amendment to the statute, which takes effect in January 2010, media advocates argue, could encourage timidity and hinder legitimate journalism outlets in the newsgathering process.
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  1. "Manner that is offensive to a reasonable person" is too subjective and would be open to wide interpretation. If paparazzi and their clients were more reasonable, such a bill wouldn't be necessary. More definitive restrictions would better protect both sides of this important issue.

  2. I agree with Donna and would add that being 'reasonable' puts a lot of pressure on judges and juries, too - especially in California.