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Schwarzenegger signs bill to crack down on paparazzi

The law will toughen existing regulations on paparazzi, but it could be challenged in court on First Amendment grounds.

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The Terminator wants to terminate paparazzi. Mr. Freeze wants to put invasive photographers on ice. Choose your Hollywood film reference, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a new law Sunday that will fine paparazzi for taking photos that invade a celebrity’s right to privacy.

The new law is intended to stop the kind of regular altercations that make it onto the TV entertainment magazine tabloid shows all the time: Britney Spears taking an umbrella to a photographer’s SUV, Alec Baldwin threatening fisticuffs with a cameraman, and the most famous of all – the death of Britain’s Princess Diana who was fleeing aggressive photographers on the streets of Paris.

The new law is in fact an amendment to a 1998 law passed in response to Princess Diana’s death. The new amendment raises the penalties when a person commits a trespass “in order to physically invade the privacy" of a celebrity in order to film or record them.

Under the new law, paparazzi will face fines up to $50,000 if they click celebrities in a personal or familial activity. And the law targets media outlets who purchase the illegal photos.

The new law also adds assault into the equation. If the photo shooter assaults someone while attempting to photograph, then the victim can obtain three times the damages from the assault.

The new law comes as Los Angeles officials try to halt the activity of aggressive photographers following altercations involving stars Reese Witherspoon, Lindsay Lohan, and Scarlett Johansson, and others. Ms. Lohan and Ms. Johansson both were involved in high profile car accidents they claim were caused by the pursuit of aggressive photographers.

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