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Committee approves celebrity privacy bill after stars testify

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 03:31 p.m. HST, Feb 08, 2013

Rock legends Steven Tyler and Mick Fleetwood helped convince a Hawaii Senate committee to approve a bill to protect celebrities or anyone else from intrusive paparazzi.

The state Senate Judiciary Committee approved the so-called Steven Tyler Act after the stars testified at a hearing, saying they want to fiercely protect the little privacy they have as public figures.

The bill would give people power to sue others who take photos or video of their private lives in an offensive way, such as using telephoto lenses or other advanced equipment to record them on their private properties.

Tyler said he asked Sen. Kalani English to introduce the measure after paparazzi took a photo of Tyler and his girlfriend in his home, and it was published by a national magazine as part of a report saying the two were getting married.

"It caused a ripple in my family," Tyler told The Associated Press after the hearing. "I hadn't told anybody."

The Aerosmith frontman and former "American Idol" judge says his kids don't want to go out with him in Hawaii because of the threat of photographers who sometimes get on boats to take photos of him from the ocean.

"That's what they do, they are just constantly taking from us," Tyler said.

Fleetwood, the drummer from Fleetwood Mac, says he's gotten used to the constant attention but realizes that it's a "grim reality."

"The islands shouldn't represent this to people coming here," Fleetwood said.

Tyler addressed Hawaii senators briefly during a general session following the hearing and received applause from lawmakers.

During the hearing, Senate judiciary committee chair Clayton Hee scrapped the bill's original contents — which were largely drafted by Tyler's lawyer — and replaced them with language from a related California statute.

The California law was originally passed in 1998 in response to the death of Princess Diana, then amended in 2009 to permit lawsuits against media outlets that pay for and make first use of material they knew was improperly obtained. In addition to provisions against advanced equipment, the California measure has penalties for reckless behavior while attempting to get photos or video of a celebrity.

Senators also added an amendment to exempt law enforcement authorities, who use telephoto lenses and other such equipment during investigations.

Hee said he wants to move the bill straight to the Senate floor and to the House "in deference and in agreement with" Tyler.

Tyler said he was largely satisfied with the amendments. His lawyer, Dina LaPolt, agreed immediately after the hearing but said she planned to go over the changes more fully.

English says the bill is necessary to protect privacy in the digital age.

He says that while the constitution protects news publishing, it doesn't protect news gathering.

Stirling Morita, president of the Hawaii chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, said he disagrees.

He says even with the bill's amendments, it's still too vague.

"You have to be pretty definite to limit First Amendment rights," Morita said.

The bill was also opposed by the National Press Photographers Association, which submitted testimony on behalf of the Society of Professional Journalists, the Associated Press Media Editors and the American Society of News Editors, among other media groups.

More than two-thirds of the state Senate co-sponsored the measure. Britney Spears and Avril Lavigne were among more than a dozen celebrities who submitted testimony supporting the bill along with the rockers.

The stars say paparazzi have made simple activities like cooking with family and sunbathing elusive luxuries and the bill would give them peace of mind.

Tyler said stars today are pestered much worse than previous generations given modern technology and lucrative paydays for paparazzi.

The unusual hearing packed a conference room in the Hawaii Capitol, and generated buzz from state staffers who captured cellphone pictures of Tyler and Fleetwood, then compared snapshots in the hallways after the hearing.

Cameras clicked excitedly when the musicians walked into a room packed with lawmakers, staffers, media and other onlookers.

Sam Slom, the sole Republican in Hawaii's 25-member Senate, ribbed Tyler about tabloid magazine photos that showed the singer in a revealing bathing suit.

"Mr. Tyler, it's a pleasure to see you in clothes today," Slom said.

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dlum003 wrote:
As quirky and sometimes bufoonish as Steven Tyler may be perceived by the public, he is a highly intelligent and thoughtful man. As big fan as I am of his, George Harrison (RIP), Kelsey Grammer, Todd Rundgren, or any other celebrity that lives in the islands, I would never dream of invading their privacy. These empty soul parasites that follow them around need to get an honest occupation, and have some personal DECENCY and RESPECT for themselves and others who actually made something of their lives. Imua Steven, kick their okoles, you have the public's support all the way!!!
on February 7,2013 | 04:57PM
Naloboy wrote:
No he doesn't have he public's support all the way. Can you read?
on February 8,2013 | 03:21PM
Tony96822 wrote:
Funny, when Rundgren's kids went to Mid-Pac, nobody even cared who he was or what he did. they just wanted to see the kids hit the ball.
on February 7,2013 | 05:41PM
SomebodyElse wrote:
It's all good, they should have their privacy. I just hope the production crews respect the public when they're working in private our neighborhoods during our private time.
on February 7,2013 | 07:16PM
allie wrote:
sort of a nothing bill for a do-nothing legislature
on February 8,2013 | 10:18AM
Allie, you have finally made a statement that rings true. Thank you!
on February 8,2013 | 02:28PM
honopic wrote:
Oh, man! Don't encourage her! It will only give her an excuse to keep commenting just to see her name in print.
on February 8,2013 | 07:25PM
AmbienDaze wrote:
agree, hon.
on February 8,2013 | 09:04PM
GorillaSmith wrote:
This story sounds about as believable as the Manti T'eo girlfriend saga. There's no way even our pathetic legislature could really be wasting time on this nonsense. I think the S-A is playing a little practical joke on us. All right; you've had your fun. Let's get back to work.
on February 7,2013 | 09:44PM
Wonderful_World wrote:
I agree. If it's not about assessing fees or raising taxes it's about nonsense & they get PAID for this!
on February 8,2013 | 07:07AM
allie wrote:
on February 8,2013 | 10:18AM
honopic wrote:
DIS-agree. Just 4 u, allie.
on February 8,2013 | 07:25PM
AmbienDaze wrote:
honopic, agree with you... but you forgot the "hon" for emphasis.
on February 8,2013 | 09:06PM
st1d wrote:
well, at least photographers can still rent helicopters and planes for fly-over surveillance and photography. sick to think someone can put your home under telephoto surveillance to photograph your private moments and family life. you don't have to be a celeb to want to protect your privacy.
on February 7,2013 | 10:28PM
ellinaskyrt wrote:
It sounds like if I were at the beach and taking a picture of my little cousins playing on the sand and Grace Park happened to walk into the shot, she could have me prosecuted under this proposed law. This "Steven Tyler" law is just pandering to the rich and famous. If they want to be treated like normal people and be able to live normal lives without being bothered by paparazzi, they should depend on the normal laws that normal people rely on as protection from stalking.
on February 8,2013 | 06:55AM
onevoice82 wrote:
Do you realize how unlikely your statement is? Come on ellin you have to have deeper thoughts than that!
on February 8,2013 | 09:08AM
ellinaskyrt wrote:
It doesn't take deep thoughts to understand this simple, fair and correct concept: Resources should be allotted to enforce and strengthen already existing stalking laws that are applicable to even the most humble, ordinary person in Hawaii. We shouldn't be wasting time, taxpayer money and manpower to draft, pass and enforce a special law for the rich and famous.
on February 8,2013 | 10:42AM
Muzzy996 wrote:
The way it sounds while undeniably it helps celebs it's written generally enough that it could apply to the most humble, ordinary person. Say for example some perv sits on a beach somewhere waiting with a zoom lens for a woman to be in an unflattering position in her bikini and then shoots that shot. This would be in stark contrast to someone taking general landscape shots in the same area at the same moment, the distinction being that one was targeting a specific person vs someone mistakenly catching said unflattering momement in a photograph for which the intent was to capture something else. The point is, this protection can apply to everyone, not just celebs.
on February 8,2013 | 11:20AM
ellinaskyrt wrote:
Muzzy996: I'd actually support a bill that protects women in the situation you described. However, the Steven Tyler bill doesn't cover that situation. Text of the bill is here: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2013/bills/SB465_.pdf
on February 8,2013 | 12:29PM
Why dont you take it 1 step futher: Women, between the ages of 18-25, blonde hair, blue eyes, live in Hawaii Kai, and not currently involved in a relationship with a goat. Ellin, please-dont exclude people based on their gender, or are we going back in time?
on February 8,2013 | 02:31PM
Eradication wrote:
Does this law also apply to private investigators hired to gather photos for a disgruntled husband/ wife/GF or BF or business partner/employer, etc.? If so, I'm all for it. If it does apply then no, it is not a law just for the rich folks.
on February 8,2013 | 06:13PM
onevoice82 wrote:
I was referring to your accidental photo scenario! Stalking laws require repeat offenses by the same person within a specific time frame. It doesn't fit within this so called Journalism paparazzi nonsense.
on February 8,2013 | 08:50PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Submitting form letters from other (cough) celebrities is not compelling testimony. Getting some supporters to post here is not compelling either. Legislators - look to the words of the proposed law which, since it lacks the trespass provisions of the California model, is over reaching. Don't make a mountain out of a molehill to curry favor with the Hollywood set. If it ain't broke, don't be making laws to fix it.
on February 8,2013 | 07:06AM
AmbienDaze wrote:
two paws up.
on February 8,2013 | 09:10PM
NuuanuMama wrote:
It would be wonderful if Hawaii became a sanctuary for everybody that wanted to have a nice private vacation/life. The fact that someone could shoot photos of you at home via a telescopic lens and then post them in national media is an invasion of privacy and the sanctity of home. I hope this law applies to anyone that is being stalked, celebrity or not.
on February 8,2013 | 07:29AM
Terii_Kelii wrote:
on February 8,2013 | 07:40AM
Mikilai wrote:
on February 8,2013 | 07:55AM
onevoice82 wrote:
on February 8,2013 | 09:09AM
ThinkOutLoud wrote:
So more taxpayer dollars will tie up Hawaii's law enforcement and Hawaii's courts with celebrity paparazzi protection. Get a body guard. Rich & famous star struck legislators... Hello. . .I bet they did not even vote for you.
on February 8,2013 | 07:37AM
Kuokoa wrote:
Wow, he sure is getting publicity and yet he wants to be left alone?
on February 8,2013 | 07:47AM
lowtone123 wrote:
The benefit I see to passage of this bill would be celebrities coming here to live and visit and feel comfortable knowing that they will be protected from paparazzi.
on February 8,2013 | 07:50AM
Mikilai wrote:
on February 8,2013 | 07:56AM
loquaciousone wrote:
I have a problem with "celebrities" who make their fortunes by being a public figure expecting taxpayers to shell out for protecting their privacy.
on February 8,2013 | 09:00AM
onevoice82 wrote:
I dont have a problem with the taxes they pay on thier income!
on February 8,2013 | 09:10AM
turbolink wrote:
If taxes are paid to Hawaii, agree. However, these are vacation homes, property tax might be it.
on February 8,2013 | 03:40PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Well, Tyler did buy a multi-million dollar house in Kalani's district.
on February 8,2013 | 12:01PM
nodaddynotthebelt wrote:
I totally disagree with this legislation. It opens up a lot of legal problems that should not be. Celebrities know what they are in for when they enter the profession that they go into. Mr. Tyler loves the limelight and it can be shown in the fact that he even made a cameo on American Idol playing the role of a contestant. You could see that he loved the attention. Now, he comes to Hawaii and expects to change the whole rule of celebrity status. In other words, he wants the cake and eat it, too. If this legislation is meant to bring in celebrities to Hawaii, it fails because they are not the biggest source of revenue as far as tourists are concerned. Now that taxes have gone up in California on the rich they are considering moving out of the state. The rich celebrities are now looking for another option and Hawaii rife with taxes is still an option due to the weather and beaches. Everyone has a right to privacy but to add this to the whole mix just goes against all reason. Now, you and I, will be paying more to "protect" these celebrities. And I mean our taxes will be used to enforce laws that give special treatment to celebrities. Our already stretched resources within the police department and court system will be utilized by these celebrities. In other words, our police officers will be used as "body guards" by celebrities like Mr. Tyler who can now ultimately call on our officers to deal with those who capture photos of videos of celebrities walking down the beach or just simply laying around the sand. There were no real problems when it came photographing celebrities before. Now we have an icon who just happens to wield a lot of power, obviously, who can change the whole set of rules and wreak havoc on the whole court system. And our star-struck legislators are pandering to this celebrity. Instead of legislating laws that just gives special treatment to celebrities, we should be toughening up stalking laws. Now, if these photographers follow the celebrities home and stalk them they will be handled with severe penalties.
on February 8,2013 | 09:48AM
kiheilocal wrote:
Though I can Tylers point...it doesnt really make sense when the home he bought is within yards of a very public, populated, popular snorkel site. Most people who value privacy would take measures to insure privacy like larger lots, less populated areas etc. He also blares his music real loud so people snorkeling get to hear it. He has less privacy in that spot than 90% of the population of Maui just because of the location.
on February 8,2013 | 10:43AM
MakaniKai wrote:
Excellent post "nodaddy......." I agree 100%. Happy Aloha Friday!
on February 8,2013 | 01:44PM
sluggah wrote:
To quote Shakespeare, "Methinks they doth protest too much." These guys just don't want UNFLATTERING pics taken of them. As celebs, they increase their marketability with increased coverage. What a load of baloney this law is. They should pay for goons like Oprah does, they're just too cheap.
on February 8,2013 | 04:44PM
sadhugeorge wrote:
We in Lahaina are trying to have Mic Fleetwood turn down his late night music blaring from the roof of his tourist trap. And he demands respect?
on February 8,2013 | 10:03AM
akuboatcaptain wrote:
Celebrities are celebrities when they are in the public realm, laws are more laxed regarding how the media can approach them. But when they are in leisure in their private domains, they should be afforded the same constitutional right to privacy like any average citizen. These people have given much of themselves, their time, and their talents for the public's enjoyment, the least we can do is respect their privacy.
on February 8,2013 | 10:46AM
4watitsworth wrote:
Great comment aku.
on February 8,2013 | 11:50AM
Skyler wrote:
on February 8,2013 | 03:06PM
lee1957 wrote:
Does the accompanying photo pass muster with the propsed legislation?
on February 8,2013 | 10:59AM
honupono wrote:
It's a good law. There's is nothing good from paparazzi stalking anyone trying to enjoy Hawai'i and having some private time.
on February 8,2013 | 11:08AM
Mythman wrote:
Add language to the bill: any sound that passes the boundary line of the property of the celebrity is an invitation of the celebrity to anyone who would follow the sound and use it to trace back to its origins and who may therefore use sight, a photograph, to capture a photograph of the origin of the sound. In other words, sight and sound are equal when it comes to the public. Get it?
on February 8,2013 | 11:30AM
fairgame947 wrote:
They are due privacy as any of us are, but - sorry their make their millions of dollars because of us, too.
on February 8,2013 | 11:32AM
9ronboz wrote:
nonsense! not on my dime!
on February 8,2013 | 11:55AM
juscasting wrote:
How about some concerts? FleetwoodMac with Stevie Nicks, den maybe Hawaii will support the bill!
on February 8,2013 | 12:02PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
I can get you Stevie Wonder. It'll cost you about $200k.
on February 8,2013 | 04:10PM
Naloboy wrote:
Too bad our moronic legislators are willing to have their heads turned by a few entertainment stars and create an unconstitutional law. The problems these "stars" are most concerned about already are illegal under privacy laws. You can't take the kind of picture Steven Tyler talked about and do it legally. Yes you can take photos from a sidewalk, beach or other public place, but it already is illegal to use zoom into a home or other private place where the person being photographed would normally expect to have privacy. Too bad our elected officials would rather slobber over a few has-been rock stars than take proper care of the rest of us.
on February 8,2013 | 01:05PM
st1d wrote:
they can't even testify without people in the audience snapping away with their phone cameras.
on February 8,2013 | 01:28PM
st1d wrote:
that is a smart lawyer.
on February 8,2013 | 01:41PM
MakaniKai wrote:
Reality check Steven and Mick – this is not Cali, you choose to come to Hawaii and when you arrive your pests (paparazzi) follow. Please do not impose upon the good people of Hawaii by distracting our Ledge. Bruddahs OBTW nevah even knew you stay in the Nei, is this part of bringing attention to yourselves? Just look at the celebs that submitted testimony –Avril????Who, and Britney “I like be all over the press” Spears. Attention Hawaii Ledge focus on the people of the Nei, K! Happy Aloha Friday.
on February 8,2013 | 01:42PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Britney hates all the attention. That's why she can't remember for keep on her panties when exiting cars at star-studded events.
on February 8,2013 | 04:12PM
AmbienDaze wrote:
yeah, maneki, i saw that one, too. shaving red spots.
on February 8,2013 | 09:19PM
entrkn wrote:
Senator English has an interesting point that the constitution protects news publishing but not news gathering, and it does protect a person's right to privacy.
on February 8,2013 | 01:53PM
hanoz808 wrote:
right on
on February 8,2013 | 02:27PM
inverse wrote:
As someone else mentioned with all the money these celebs have, hire some bodyguards whose sole purpose to run interference between the celebs and photogs. Nothing physical or against the law but just enough to make trouble to overly pesky photogs and ruin their pictures.
on February 8,2013 | 03:36PM
turbolink wrote:
We have had many celebrities live on most all islands for many years. With a couple exceptions, I don't recall this to be a problem. I also don't recall too many saying I'm a celebrity and therefore require special attention and protection. Just by making this a public issue, aren't they attracting public attention? Isn't using their celebrity to say we want our privacy a contradiction? And isn't our legislature giving them a platform to exploit a joke in itself?
on February 8,2013 | 03:46PM
HD36 wrote:
We now have 75,000 pages of rules and regulations.
on February 8,2013 | 04:48PM
turbolink wrote:
Would this apply to the Obamas when they are on island?
on February 8,2013 | 04:53PM
st1d wrote:
this bill will pass. did you see the love fest for steve and mick and the competition among legislators to be photographed with them?
on February 8,2013 | 06:13PM
Bdpapa wrote:
Gimme a break! These people deserve what every tax paying citizen deserves, nothing more nothing less. Vote No!
on February 8,2013 | 08:01PM
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