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NPPA Says New California Anti-Paparazzi Bill ‘Threatens First Amendment Rights’

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Last Thursday, we told you about the newest anti-paparazzi bill to hit the California State Assembly. Focused on expanding the definition of harassment, SB 606 was drafted for the specific purpose of protecting the children of celebrities — some hollywood actresses have already spoken out in support of the bill.

As with many a legal mater, however, not everyone is in favor of the bill. While most would agree that protecting children from being harassed by paparazzi is a worthy goal, the NPPA is now officially speaking out against SB 606, warning the public that this bill’s vague wording “threatens first amendment rights.”

The main issue the NPPA and its general counsel Mickey Osterreicher have with the bill is how vague some of the crucial wording is. If the law went into effect, anybody taking photos of children without their parents consent would be liable if their actions in any way “alarm, annoy, torment, or terrorize the child” and/or cause “substantial emotional distress.”

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“We are extremely concerned that the bill as it pertains to photography and recording is overly broad and vague,” says Osterreicher, explaining that without further clarification it “infringes upon otherwise protected forms of speech and expression.”

By expanding the definition of harassment in this way, he NPPA and Osterreicher believe the bill will “blur the line between actual harassment and valuable First Amendment activities.” Ultimately, they believe this creates undue liability for visual journalists and even the general public.

Since we last wrote about it, the bill has passed the State Assembly and is on its way to the appropriations committee. And as it moves ever close to becoming law, the NPPA would like to make sure that legislators remember “there’s a difference between punishing photographers who harass someone and defining photography as harassment in and of itself.”

(via NPPA)


Image credit: Paris Hilton and the paparazzi by jonrawlinson and California State Assembly by David Monniaux.


 
 
  • Ryan

    “Threatens constitutional rights.”

    What else did you expect from Comifornia?

  • DamianM

    Comifornia?
    So the Constitution of the United states is communist?

    please refrain from using words or make up word for things you don’t understand

  • Ken Jones

    After reading the bill, I think I can get behind it if it were modified a little. It is very limited in scope. Basically, the only time you would even be subject to the bill is when shooting children because of what the parent does for a living. They should drop “annoy” as no one is protected against being annoyed. They should also make the definition of “harasses” succinct. I’m not the sharpest stick in the bunch so it took me a good four or five reads to get a clear understanding what is being said.

    What’s weird is it would be okay to “alarm, annoy, torment, or terrorize the child or ward” with the written consent of the parent or guardian. Legalized child abuse? I’m sure that’s not what they meant, but is certainly one of those unintended consequence things that sometime pops up.

  • Rob Elliott

    This just isn’t accurate, did they even read the bill?

    The Bill specifies for it to be harassing

    One must knowingly and wilfully direct conduct at a specific child.

    That conduct must seriously alarm, annoy, torment, or terrorize the child

    It must serve no legitimate purpose.

    The conduct must be such as would cause a reasonable child to suffer substantial emotional distress.

    More so the reason to go after the child must be because of their or their parent or Guardians profession/employment.

    So if you are covering a parade, and you take a picture of a Child and the child starts crying, you have not committed a crime.

    If you lay in wait outside the house of a crime boss and harass his daughter on her way to school, asking questions like, what do you think of your father knowing he order the brutal rapes of 8 girls your age…. that is harassment.

    (2) “Harasses” means knowing and willful conduct directed at a specific child or ward that seriously alarms, annoys, torments, or terrorizes the child or ward, and that serves no legitimate purpose, including, but not limited to, that conduct occurring during the course of any actual or attempted recording of the child’s or ward’s image or voice, or both, without the written consent of the parent or legal guardian of the child or ward, by following the child’s or ward’s activities or by lying in wait. The conduct must be such as would cause a reasonable child to suffer substantial emotional distress, and actually cause the victim to suffer substantial emotional distress.

  • gin

    People will look back at pictures of this generation and wonder where all the children were.

  • Ryan

    oh geez that went WAY over your head.

    Where did I say the constitution was communist? I’m 100% PRO-CONSTITUTION dimwit. The fact that this is even coming out of Comifornia shows just how messed up and infested this state is. To bad this state is so beautiful; it’s becoming a waste of space and so are its citizens.

  • Genkakuzai

    It’s a bit amusing how the go-to insult in ‘Murica always is Communism, I’d be a hell of a lot more worried about Fascism, considering how far right the country overall is leaning.

  • Heie

    Do you even know what Communism is? Obviously not.

  • Ryan

    You must live in Comifornia.

  • Genkakuzai

    No actually I live in the rest of the world, where we actually understand what the word Communism, not to mention Socialism, means.

  • http://lensfler.wordpress.com/ Dejan Danailov

    Some people are celebrities, and they
    usually have a steady income and fine living on that. On the other
    hand, some other people have boring lives and like to read tabloids
    and big part of tabloid content are photos, usually made by some
    paparazzi. As long as there are tabloids, there will be paparazzi.
    Show business and celebrity stars hungry for fame and peoples
    attention made paparazzi the way they are. Now paparazzi are to blame
    because fame is contagious, and easily come from parents to kids.
    Well, my dear famous people, if you can’t stand that heat, get out of
    the oven, or don’t have kids.

  • Ryan

    You asked and answered your own question… You are brilliant!

  • Ryan

    Oh gawd get a grip on life and yourself.

  • Joseph Trevino

    I could see a law being produced to protect children from paparazzi, but I don’t think this bill is worded in a way that will keep it from being abused. Don’t restrict taking pictures but rather the publishing of images. The publishing of the image is what makes money. Possibly one stance would be to restrict them from publishing images taken at schools, inside homes & backyards, or places considered private by the average person. Go shopping, eat at a restaurant, enjoy some time in a public park and you will have to expect the paparazzi. Fame can gain you power and money but it comes at a cost. Parents must weigh their current situation before having children. If you are a celebrity that does not want your child to be a target for paparazzi then don’t have children or get out of the spotlight. Plenty of people make a similar choices. There are parents that do not take a better paying job as they will have to spend too much time away from the home.

  • Genkakuzai

    Says the dude who literally has no clue what Communism is.

  • MIchael Sullivan

    all you need is an overly protective parent to sue you for taking pictures of their children playing at the beach. Even if they lose (no guarantee of that btw) the photographer will have to defend himself/herself at tremendous cost and possibly ruined reputation. The law is way too broad and needs to be tightened up. Otherwise, it will be photographers who will end up being harrassed.

  • Ryan

    You’re clearly making that assumption on false pretenses. Stupid liberals.

  • Genkakuzai

    Another hilarious thing… using liberal as an insult.

    lib·er·al
    /ˈlib(ə)rəl/

    Adjective
    Open to new behavior or opinions and willing to discard traditional values

  • Ryan

    You go gurlfran. Good for you.