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Does paparazzi crackdown go too far? New legislation targets 'false imprisonment' of celebrities

Celebrities have complained for years about the aggressive tactics of the paparazzi.

The complaints reached a fever pitch a couple of years ago as swarms of photographer followed Britney Spears around L.A. It prompted crackdowns by local police and prosecutors.

The issue of aggressive photographers seems to have calmed a bit recently. But that has not stopped lawmakers of Sacramento from getting into the act.

Legislation approved by the Assembly targets people involved in invasion of privacy and "false imprisonment," including cases in which celebrities are prevented from exiting their vehicles by throngs of paparazzi, according to Anthony York's report on PolitiCal, The Times' political blog.

"The entertainment industry is a linchpin of California’s economy,” said Assemblywoman
TalkBackLAKaren Bass, author of AB 2479.

"People shouldn’t have to sacrifice their safety and family’s privacy just because they work in that industry."

Critics say the measure violates free press rights. What do you think? Share your views below.

Photo: Britney Spears and a throng of photographers. Credit: Associated Press

Comments () | Archives (20)

The paparazzi are out of control scum. Sounds like a good law.

No, I DON'T think the legisltion goes too far. I'm no celebrity, but I've been caught up in more th an one paparazzi scrum while simply minding my own business. Frankly, there are places in this town where it's impossible for a private individual to go because of the paparazzi stalking celebrities.

Paparazzi is a glamorous name for the slime these creatures really are. .Their methods would be considered assault if anyone else did the same. It's not only a matter of privacy for celebrities, it's a matter of public safety for innocents caught in the bedlam. This is really about greed on their part, not free speech. Where is the free speech for celebrities who resist or react to them? I fully support law enforcement on the crackdown. I also support celebrities who get fed up and fight back.

How does this infringe upon freedom of press? (In my opinion, most of these paps can barely be called press) From what I understand, it doesn't keep the paps from doing their job, but creating distance from their subjects. It's not much different than creating a press barrier.

In my opinion, if you're going to pitch the rights of the press against the rights of individuals who are simply trying to live their lives, I go with the individuals.

Media, paparazzi and the like should respect every citizens right to privacy whether celebrity or not

As a photographer and photojournalist, I strongly support this legislation.

A celebrity going out to eat, pick up dry cleaning or simply picking his or her nose in the car is not news - paparazzi are not photojournalists and they give those in that honorable profession a bad name, dumbing down public debate by contributing to the oversaturation of the news media with non-news "stories" while simultaneously endangering the public.

I think that it is suspicious that this law passed after the Governor's wife was photographed using her phone while driving a few times. I think there should be a provision in the law that prevents the paparazi from getting within a certain number of feet, thereby not infringing on personal space.

Hardly violates free speech rights. They can buy a telephoto lens and get the shot.

Mainstream media is out of control. The media has morphed from reporting facts to "entertaining" the masses.

As such, the media should not have the unlimited right to pester, invade and pursue with abandon public and private individuals for pursuit of the entertainment dollar. There should be limits.

Why should they receive protection under the concept of the "Freedom of the press" so that they can obtain the million dollar photo of some celebrity's baby?

How is that news?

The authors of our Bill of Rights never intended to provide protection for the crass, money making, and salicious behavior that is staple of our paparazzi.

Society needs protection from high speed car chases such as those that killed Princess Di, helicopter mobbing that is prevalent when Brittany Spears was attempting to enter court, and the unlawful mobbing of stars as they try to leave their vehicles.

I am happy to see our lawmakers finally taking steps to address this behavior. I say go for it!

i think there should be a buffer zone. create a boundary. prohibit paps from coming within 20 to 30 feet of a person. that will truly test there talent. there will be less "good" pictures, making the value of those pictures go up. maybe then they can be considered photographers.

Seeing someone on a screen does not mean they've thrown away their right to privacy. Privacy is someone's fundamental right, even animals value it, and no one should have that taken away from them without explicit permission. If there's any 1st amendment violation of a free press, then the right of privacy should trump that. If not, then we're effectively saying anyone is ripe and open to be hunted by the media.

And, there's definitely false imprisonment going on. In this country, no one should have the right, without due process, to stop someone's free movement. We've all seen the paparazzi corner and hold their victims; while they're free to say whatever they want and take pictures, they're certainly not free to restrict my, or anyone else's, movements.

I'm surprised this isn't law already.

No, I don't believe it goes far enough.

These people are leeches - they don't care who gets hurt in their never ending quest to sell yet another picture of a drunken/drugged/sober/dead/fill in the blank celebrity.

I wonder how they would feel if their private lives were dissected and displayed for the world to see.

It's all a matter of making someone who is no one who thinks their someone when it's everyone involveds fault. Some of us don't give a hoot about any of it and wish for all involved to SHUT UP!

Why don't you instead go after the drug dealing/providing porn agents who recruit high school drop-outs, drug addicts, and individuals with mental illnesses? That would seem like a more appropriate battle.

Why don't you instead go after the porn industry and its practices of hiring high school drop outs, drug addicts, and people with mental illnesses. That would seem like a better idea.

To answer your question - NO. I used to work on Robertson Blvd. and I can't even begin to tell you how many car wrecks I was / was almost witness too, fights and just plain ugly behavior. Those guys are a menace and the worst part is trying to reason with them. They are stalkers with cameras and there is no reason they should almost hit cars and run red lights to get a photo of a celebrity.

I have a degree in Photojournalism.
I think this is fine. But it is near the line of going to far, so we need to keep an eye on it and make sure it does not getting any stricter and impead on freedom of the press. And yes some Press Photog's have gone to far and I hope that someone at the publication or tv station has repremanded them in some way.
And a note to the Celebs, if you dont want attention 24/7 dont let your publicist etc. Leak out news about where you will be partying and such. Many celebs leak info out on purpose so the Paps can get a shot and get the celeb some publicity.

The law must change to protect the privacy rights of Celebes and their families.
the children are subjected to hearing the papp dogs insult and swear at the
Parent in order to get a reaction for the shot must stop.
How many wealthy tax paying movie actors are leaving California for safety?
I encourage California to enforce strict laws to protect a private tax payer to feel safe when they're not working. What does it take?

The papp dogs as I call them will run you down, push you aside and scream any
insulting language at the person to get a shot..who are these people? what
degree do they have? what license or card do they have that qualifies them to
show up at a PUBLIC event let alone stalking them outside their homes with
Radios and vans. I honestly encourage actors not to smile.. to use umbrellas and stop using them; you must be desperate if you do. Get to know the real
photograhers and use them, call and invite them to shoot the photos where you want.

I think if we start equating freelance photographers as 'press', than anyone with a cellphone camera is 'press'.

I somehow doubt the Founders had a pack of ravening fame leeches trying to get pictures of someone buying their coffee or the right angle to catch sight of their panties while they exit their car as the sort of press they were fighting to protect.

This has nothing to do with the sort of stories, though, but credentials and accountability. Since they don't publish nor are officially connected to organizations that do, they have NO accountability for their stories, or for how they get them.

When they block exits, they slow emergency vehicles, hound and harass trying to get people to assault them, the Paparazzi have gone past being a mere nuisance to a threat to public and personal safety.

Would they be allowed to do this to just ANY private citizen? If no, then why do celebrities get less rights than the rest of us? If so, then any person here is one youtube video from being treated just like that.

I think there has to be a LIMIT to what the press can do. Is it really any of my business how many times they go to the toilet??? Where they go shopping? No.

The public should also weigh in with their pocketbooks. Stop bying the most intrusive mags and let them know why.

The press has gone to far, how many more Princess Diana's do we need before we do something about it?


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