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New law restricts paparazzi access to children of celebrities

September 25, 2013|By Patrick McGreevy and Melanie Mason
  • Actresses Halle Berry, left, and Jennifer Garner sit before they testify at the state Capitol Aug. 13 in favor of a bill aimed at restricting paparazzi access to children.
Actresses Halle Berry, left, and Jennifer Garner sit before they testify… (Randy Pench / Associated…)

A bill signed into law Tuesday will make it more difficult for paparazzi to photograph the children of celebrities and public figures just "to turn a buck."

Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday signed the privacy measure, which will make it a misdemeanor to attempt to photograph or videotape a child in a harassing manner if the image is being taken because the child's parent is a celebrity or public official.

The measure drew strong support from Hollywood celebrities. Actresses Jennifer Garner and Halle Berry testified before the Legislature that when they take their children out in public, they are harassed by paparazzi.

The bill's author, state Sen. Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles), said in a statement that the new law "will give children, no matter who their parent is, protection from harassers who go to extremes to turn a buck."

"Kids shouldn't be tabloid fodder nor the target of ongoing harassment," he said.

The law, which takes effect Jan. 1, also increases the penalty for harassment, which now is as much as six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. The new penalty for harassment of children by photographers or video camera operators is as long as a year in jail and a maximum fine of $10,000.

The California Broadcasters Assn. and California Newspaper Publishers Assn. opposed the bill, SB 606, saying that it was too broad and that existing laws against harassment are sufficient.

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patrick.mcgreevy@latimes.com

melanie.mason@latimes.com

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