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Hawaii lawmakers propose shielding celeb privacy

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 1, 2013 at 5:03 pm •  Published: February 1, 2013
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HONOLULU (AP) — More than two-thirds of Hawaii's state senators have signed onto a bill to protect celebrities from paparazzi, giving them power to sue over unwanted beach photos and other snapshots on the islands.

The bill's author says he's pushing the law at the request of Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler, the former "American Idol" judge who recently bought a new home in Maui.

A representative for Aerosmith declined comment late Thursday, saying Tyler was not immediately available.

Sen. Kalani English, a Democrat from Maui, told The Associated Press the so-called "Steven Tyler Act" will help Hawaii's tourism and film industries, encouraging famous people to come here without fear of being stalked by paparazzi.

"These are my constituents as well," English said. "Public figures have a right to reasonable privacy. There's a balance that we need to create."

The bill would open people up to civil lawsuits if they invade the privacy of public figures by taking or selling photos or videos. It defines invasion of privacy as capturing or trying to capture images or sound of people "in a manner that is offensive to a reasonable person" during personal or family moments. It does not specify places where pictures would be OK or whether public places would be exempt. The bill says it would apply to people who take photos from boats or anywhere else within ocean waters.

"Although their celebrity status may justify a lower expectation of privacy, the Legislature finds that sometimes the paparazzi go too far to disturb the peace and tranquility afforded celebrities who escape to Hawaii for a quiet life," English wrote in the bill.

Longtime Hawaii media lawyer Jeff Portnoy said the legislation is vague and panders to celebrities.

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