July 1, 2005
California pursuing paparazzi bill
By Jesse Hiestand
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - A bill has beenintroduced in the California Legislature that would makepaparazzi photographers liable when they engage in assaultivebehavior during the pursuit of celebrities.AB 381, from Assemblywoman Cindy Montanez, D-San Fernando,would subject a photographer to civil damages if an assault iscommitted during the pursuit of a photograph. In addition, thephotographer would have to forfeit any compensation for thepicture, some of which can be worth hundreds of thousands ofdollars.
"I fully support a free press, but putting people in harm'sway for a photograph cannot be tolerated," Montanez said. "Wewill not let paparazzi profit from their dangerous behavior."
In addition to losing the proceeds from the sale of aphotograph, AB 381 would entitle a victim to seek treblegeneral damages and punitive damages.
The bill is expected to be heard Tuesday in the SenateJudiciary Committee.
The bill was introduced just weeks after a photographerallegedly collided his car with one carrying Lindsay Lohan. Thephotographer, Galo Ramirez, was arrested on suspicion ofassault with a deadly weapon. Police and prosecutors areseparately looking into the possibility that teams of paparazzicould be prosecuted under felony conspiracy charges forendangering celebrities.