State News
Anti-Paparazzi Bill Signed Into Law
By Melissa Simon
Oct 1, 2013 - 5:08:46 PM

CALIFORNIA—Governor Jerry Brown signed an anti-paparazzi bill into law on Tuesday, September 24, that prohibits paparazzi photographing celebrities' children without parental consent.

 

“Kids shouldn’t be tabloid fodder nor the target of ongoing harassment,” said Senator Kevin De León (D- Los Angeles), author of the bill. “[It] will give children, no matter who their parent is, protection from harassers who go to extremes to turn a buck,” he added.

 

SB 606 protects the children of public figures from being harassed by celebrity photographers, or paparazzi. The bill gained media attention when actresses Halle Berry and Jennifer Garner spoke behalf of the bill.


“They’re beautiful and sweet and innocent, and I don’t want a gang of shouting, arguing, lawbreaking photographers who camp out everywhere we are all day, every day, to continue traumatizing my kids,” Garner told the California State Assembly Committee on Public Safety in August.

 

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Actresses Jennifer Garner and Halle Berry testify on behalf of SB 606 in August 2013. Photo courtesy: AP
Berry issued a statement praising the new law and thanking Garner and Adele for their support.


“On behalf of my children, it is my hope that this is the beginning of the end for those overly aggressive paparazzi whose outrageous conduct has caused so much trauma and emotional stress,” she said. “I am forever in awe of the support I got within my community from the enormously talented musician Adele to fellow actor Jennifer Garner who traveled with me to Sacramento to share her children’s stories, experience and her desire to give them a better life,” she added.

 

Previous legislation, under AB 3592, made the harassment of a child due to their parents’ employment a misdemeanor, whereas SB 606 clarifies harassment as “conduct in the course of the actual or attempted recording of children’s images and/or voices, without express parental consent, by following their activities and lying in wait” and increases the misdemeanor to a criminal charge, according to the bill’s text.

 

The California State Sheriff’s Department (CSSD) said they were pleased to support SB 606, a bill that protects the children.

 

“Unfortunately, children of law enforcement officers have been targeted for harassment and threats of violence due to the employment of their parents,” CSSD said in a statement.

 

The California Newspaper Publishers Association (CNPA) stated their opposition of SB 606 because “the increased penalties and liabilities improperly abridge the First Amendment protected newsgathering activity that occur in public spaces.”

 

“The bill as it pertains to photography and recording is overly broad, vague, and infringes upon legitimate and protected forms of speech expression,” the CNPA said in a statement. “[It] will do nothing more than sanction nuisance lawsuits by disgruntled subjects of news photographs,” they added.

 

Under AB 3592, any person that violated the law was “guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding 6 months, or by a fine not exceeding $1,000, or both,” according to the bill’s text. SB 606 adds that anyone violating the previous provisions would receive jail time for up to a year and a fine of up to $10,000, or both, with each subsequent conviction adding to the fine amount.  

 

The bill goes into effect beginning January 1, 2014.



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