Steven Tyler is in Hawaii to testify at a court hearing involving a proposed bill to stop the invasion of stars’ privacy by paparazzi, according to E! News Online on Feb. 8. Tyler is not alone. Other backers of this legislation are Britney Spears, Avril Lavigne, Tommy Lee, Neil Diamond and Ozzy Ozbourne. There are more.
The proposed legislation applies to celebrity photographers or “paparazzi” who harass well-known people in Hawaii, a favorite place for stars’ vacation homes. It would enable the stars to sue for damages when their privacy is infringed upon.
This does not apply to taking a photo of a star walking down the street. This bill is for taking photographs of stars and other well-known people enjoying family time or during what are usually deemed private moments. It also prohibits the use of zoom lenses and sophisticated sound equipment to do this.
Steven Tyler started the ball rolling on this one so his name will adorn the bill, if passed. It is to be called the Steven Tyler Act. Here’s an excerpt from Tyler's statement about the situation.
"The paradise of Hawaii is a magnet for celebrities who just want a peaceful vacation," Tyler, who has a house in Maui, said in a statement.
"As a person in the public eye, I know the paparazzi are there and we have to accept that," he added. "But when they intrude into our private space, disregard our safety and the safety of others, that crosses a serious line that shouldn't be ignored."
On the other side of the question, some attorneys are saying that the bill is not Constitutional, and that it infringes on the rights of the paparazzi to freedom of expression. Others are saying it’s right in spirit, but wrong in execution. Changes could be made before final passage.
One thing’s for sure. If this bill passes in Hawaii, it will most certainly carry over to California, New York and then the entire country. What do you think? Do celebrities have a right to their privacy more than the paparazzi have a right to freedom of expression? A tricky question, for sure.