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Justin Bieber paparazzo killed: Lessons from this tragedy?

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The amendments included fining photographers up to $5,000 – or a year in jail – for breaking traffic laws or impeding the operation of a celebrity's vehicle.

Despite the law and others protecting against stalking, the reckless pursuit of Hollywood’s glitterati continued. In July, after a similar incident involving Bieber and a photographer in a high-speed chase, Los Angeles City Councilman Dennis Zine told CNN the paparazzi pursuit of Bieber was, “…a tragedy waiting to happen.”

Authorities tried to use the new California "paparazzi law" in this hot-pursuit case, but Judge Thomas Rubinson of Los Angeles County Superior Court ruled on Nov. 13, that the law was overly broad. He said, "The law is problematic because it covers news-gathering activities protected by the First Amendment."

He said lawmakers should simply have increased the penalties for reckless driving rather than targeting celebrity photographers. "Hypothetically," Rubinson said, "wedding photographers or even photographers rushing to a portrait shoot with a celebrity could face additional penalties if charged under the new law," according to The San Francisco Chronicle.

Since the death of Princess Diana, paparazzi and their subjects have struggled with questions of privacy and restrictions. How much privacy can a celebrity reasonably expect? Should tabloid photographers be given the same freedom-of-press protections as news photographers? Should entertainers, who often actively court publicity, be allowed to circumscribe when such attention is inappropriate?

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