They say any press is good press. A candid shot of a celebrity may be good press for the star, but it can have some serious penalties for the man behind the lens. Paparazzi beware: California is set to enact a new anti-paparazzi law. Assembly Bill 2479, currently awaiting the John Hancock of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, is aimed at curbing the reckless behavior some celebrity photographers engage in when it comes to driving and other traffic laws.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, there will be a $5,000 fine and possibly one year in jail for those photo hungry members of the press who are found to be breaking traffic laws in pursuit of the perfect picture. The anti-paparazzi law was approved by the state senate last week and will hopefully,
"curb the reckless and dangerous lengths that the paparazzi will sometimes go in order to capture the image of celebrities. Of particular concern is the practice of surrounding a celebrity or a celebrity's vehicle in a manner that does not permit an avenue of escape. This kind of behavior is especially a problem in Los Angeles, with its high concentration of stars and celebrities."
Schwarzenegger, no stranger to the paparazzi himself, signed a different anti-paparazzi bill last year that sought to protect celebrity's right to privacy -- placing heavy fines on the paparazzi, and the media outlets that purchase invasive shots.
And so the can't live with them, can't live without them relationship between celebrities and the paparazzi continues. The paparazzi is not going to go away, but hopefully the new law will help keep celebrities, bystanders, and the paparazzi themselves safe from harm. The bottom line is that going to any length to snap the perfect picture of Paris Hilton leaving a Hollywood club does not give anyone the right to break the law. There are, of course, already laws in place that prohibit the behavior described in bill (i.e. breaking traffic laws), but the specific aim of the bill is to heighten the punishment when those laws are broken in pursuit of a picture.