NYT Editorial: Bills of the Rich and Famous (excerpts)
NYT 2-11-2013: The bill is named for Steven Tyler of Aerosmith and formerly of “American Idol.” Mick Fleetwood, Tommy Lee of Mötley Crüe, Margaret Cho, Britney Spears, Avril Lavigne and the Osbournes have lobbied for it. So has Neil Diamond. How bad could it be?
Pretty bad, actually.
The “Steven Tyler Act,” an earnest but boneheaded measure now being considered in Hawaii’s Legislature, gives celebrities the right to sue paparazzi and collect general, special and punitive damages for taking unwanted photographs. Its sponsor is J. Kalani English of Maui, the evidently star-struck state senator who let Mr. Tyler’s lawyer help write it….
This bill, partly cut-and-pasted from a California anti-paparazzi statute, prohibits taking photos or videos “in a manner that is offensive to a reasonable person,” whatever that means, of someone “engaging in a personal or familial activity,” whatever that is. A fan can be liable not just for taking a photo but intending to take one, and whether or not the photo appears anywhere.
The bill cleared the Judiciary Committee on Friday. The state attorney general, David Louie, deserves credit for opposing it. Sally Raisbeck, a resident of Maui, sensibly wrote to the Senate to complain: “It applies to any person, (including me), whether or not the intent is commercial,” and “is likely to have a chilling effect on legitimate reporters. And it would be very unlikely to pass a court test of the First Amendment. Please trash this trashy bill.”
read … Bills of the Rich and Famous