Hawaii Senate Committee approves a bill for protection against photographers who breach privacy

February 11, 2013 |

In Rock stars Tyler, Fleetwood help push celeb privacy bill forward in Hawaii; testify at hearing the Washington Post reports on the progress of a bill in the Hawaii legislature to limit paparazzi from taking photos of civilians (read celebrities) where they have reasonable expectation of privacy. The bill is found here.

The article provides:

HONOLULU — Rock legends Steven Tyler and Mick Fleetwood convinced a Hawaii Senate committee on Friday 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.

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.

Senate judiciary committee chair Clayton Hee scrapped the bill’s original contents during the hearing and replaced them with a related California statute.

Senators added an amendment to exempt law enforcement authorities.

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

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.

 The Bill, in its preamble specifically states that the protections are designed to protect celebrities seeking to leave in Hawaii.  Fortunately the scope is universal in its protections.  It provides:

A BILL FOR AN ACT
RELATING TO TORT ACTIONS.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:
SECTION 1. The legislature finds that Hawai’i is home to many celebrities, particularly on Maui, who are subjected to
harassment from photographers and reporters seeking photographs and news stories. The privacy of these celebrities endure unwarranted invasion into their personal lives. 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 Hawai’i for a quiet life. Existing Hawai’i statutes are silent on a civil cause of action for constructive invasion of privacy. Therefore, many celebrities are deterred from buying property or vacationing in Hawai’i because the same paparazzi that harass them on the mainland are more likely to follow them to Hawai’i. However, a few celebrities are not discouraged from visiting or residing inour beautiful State. For example, Steven Tyler, the lead singer of Aerosmith for over forty years, former “American Idol” judge, and world-renowned celebrity has recently purchased a home on Maui. He will now be sharing his time between Boston, Los Angeles, and his new home on Maui. In honor of Steven Tyler’s contribution to the arts in Hawai’i and throughout the world, this Act shall be known as the Steven Tyler Act.
The purpose of this Act is to encourage celebrities to visit and reside in our State by creating a civil cause of
action for the constructive invasion of privacy.

SECTION 2. Chapter 663, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:
“1663- Constructive invasion of privacy; civil cause of action. (a) This section shall be known and may be cited as
the “Steven Tvler Act”.
(b) A person is liable for a civil action of constructive invasion of privacy if the person captures or intends to
capture, in a manner that is offensive to a reasonable person, through any means a visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression of another person while that person is engaging in a personal or familial activity with a reasonable expectation of privacy.
(c) Constructive invasion of privacy shall include an assault or false imprisonment committed with the capture of or
intent to capture any type of visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression of another person.
(d) A person who commits constructive invasion of privacy shall be liable for the following damages proximately caused by a violation of this section:
( 1) General damages ;
(2) Special damages; and
(3) Punitive damages up to three times the amount of general and special damages combined.
(e) If the constructive invasion of privacy is committed for a commercial purpose, the person shall also be subject to disgorgement to the plaintiff of any proceeds or other consideration obtained as a result of the violation of this section.
(f) A person who directs, solicits, induces, or causes another person, regardless of whether there is an employer employee relationship, to violate this section is liable for damages to the same extent as provided in subsection (d).
(g) Any person who transmits, publishes, broadcasts, sells, offers for sale, uses any visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression, or who subsequently retransmits, reDublishes, rebroadcasts, resells, reoffers to sell, or reuses any visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression in any form, medium, format, or work of the same visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression that was taken or captured in violation of this section shall constitute a violation of this section if:
(1) The person had actual knowledcre that the visual image. sound recording, or other physical impression was
taken or captured in violation of this section; and
(2) The person received compensation, consideration, or remuneration, monetary or otherwise, for the rights to
the unlawfully obtained visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression
(h) This section shall also amlv to a Derson who is situated within state marine waters, as defined in section 187A-1.5, while engaging in constructive invasion of privacy.
(i) In any action pursuant to this section, the court additionally may grant equitable relief, including but not
limited to an injunction and restraining order against further violation of this section.
(j) It is not a defense to a violation of this section that no image, recording, or physical impression was captured or sold.
(k) For the purposes of this section, “for a commercial purpose” means any act done with the expectation of a sale,
financial gain, or other consideration. A visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression shall not be found to have been or intended to have been caotured for a commercial purpose unless it is intended to be, or was in fact, sold, published, or transmitted.
(1) This section shall not be construed to supersede any criminal offense that may be related to a violation of this
section.
(m) The rights and remedies provided in this section are cumulative and in addition to any other rights and remedies
nrovided bv law.”
SECTION 3. This Act does not affect rights and duties that matured, penalties that were incurred, and proceedings that were begun before its effective date.
Report Title:
Invasion of Privacy; Civil Cause of Action; Steven Tyler
Description:
Creates a civil cause of action of constructive invasion of privacy if the person obtains any type of visual image, sound
recording, or other physical impression of another person under circumstances in which another person has a reasonable expectation of keeping private their personal life under certain conditions.

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