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Spears, other stars support HI celeb privacy bill
Question of the Day
HONOLULU (AP) - More than a dozen celebrities have submitted testimony supporting legislation in Hawaii that's aimed at stopping paparazzi from taking photos at unwanted times.
The so-called Steven Tyler Act, named after the lead singer of Aerosmith, will be considered in the state Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday.
Stars who submitted written statements include Britney Spears, Avril Lavigne, Neil Diamond, Tommy Lee and the Osborne family.
The bill allows celebrities to collect damages from people who take photos or videos of public figures in an offensive way during their personal or family time.
The stars say the paparazzi have made simple activities like cooking with family and sunbathing elusive luxuries and the bill would give them peace of mind.
The National Press Photographers Association and the Motion Picture Association of America oppose the bill.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler plans to attend a legislative hearing in Hawaii on Friday on a bill that bears his name and would limit people's freedom to take photos and video of celebrities.
A publicist for the former "American Idol" judge told The Associated Press on Thursday that Tyler has submitted written testimony supporting the proposal, which would allow celebrities to collect damages from people who photograph them in an offensive way during their private lives.
Hawaii's Senate Judiciary Committee plans to consider the so-called Steven Tyler Act on Friday morning, the first time lawmakers will discuss the bill publicly.
Sen. Kalani English, from Maui, says he introduced the bill at Tyler's request. Tyler owns a multimillion-dollar home in Maui. More than two-thirds of the state's senators have co-sponsored the bill.
English says the bill will spur celebrity tourism to the islands, boosting Hawaii's economy.
Opponents say the bill could be unconstitutional.
Laurie Temple, an attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union, said Thursday the bill would punish freedoms of expression protected by the First Amendment.
She said lawmakers should support better enforcement of current stalking laws rather than passing new legislation.
The National Press Photographers Association says the bill is "well-meaning but ill-conceived" and tramples on constitutional rights.
The New York-based organization represents numerous national media organizations including the Society of Professional Journalists, the Associated Press Media Editors and the American Society of News Editors.
The Motion Picture Association of America also opposes the bill.
The organization says the bill would hurt law enforcement by making it harder to police movie piracy
The bill would open up photographers, videographers and distributors to civil lawsuits if they take, sell or disseminate photos or videos of celebrities during private or family moments "in a manner that is offensive to a reasonable person."
The bill doesn't specify whether public places, like Hawaii's beaches, would be exempt. The bill says it would apply to people who take photos from boats or anywhere else within ocean waters.
English says the bill is not intended to limit beach photos. But he says Tyler has had paparazzi hide in his bushes to take photos of him inside his house.
Photos of vacationing stars in swimsuits have long been a fixture in tabloids and celebrity magazines.
The state's largest newspaper, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, published an editorial Thursday that called lawmakers who support the bill "star-struck."
The newspaper said the bill might not affect only journalists.
"It could also make lawbreakers out of anyone taking photographs in public places, be it an ordinary photojournalist or someone with a camera phone," the editorial said.
Anita Hofschneider can be reached at http://twitter.com/ahofschneider.
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