When the Paparazzi Go Too Far 1. Introduction Everyone who is interested in pop culture and the entertainment industry knows who the paparazzi are. According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, the term paparazzi is defined as “a free lance photographer who aggressively pursues celebrities for the purpose of taking candid photographs. ” The term actually came from a film from the 1960’s called ‘La Dolce Vita’, directed by Federico Fellini. A character in the film was a news photographer named Paparazzo. Paparazzi target celebrities and public figures that are in the spotlight.
In recent years, the paparazzi have taken their job of snapping photos to another extent. They will go to any length to get the shot of a celebrity, even if that means stalking a celebrities’ every move. The media’s intrusive and insistent attention towards celebrities has caused celebrities to lose their privacy. An anti-paparazzi law is the best solution to help celebrities and public figures who entertain us gain their rights and privacy back. 2. Power of the Media Its almost impossible for us not to be under the power by the media.
Every event that happens in the world is brought to everyone’s attention faster with the technology that has enhanced our way of receiving media. The media is everywhere we turn and it makes us question how we will be able to control the media so that its a proper influence on our lives. 2. 2 Celebrity Infatuation If you go into any store that sells magazines you will find a large selection of magazines that are just devoted to celebrities and gossip. We live in a time where there is a significant difference between the rich and the poor and there are so many of us that want to know the latest on people who live in the spotlight (1).
Most people do not think of celebrities of being just like normal people. We think about their shiny cars, designer clothing, and huge mansions, but we never stop to think beyond all the glitz and glamour, of what they are like as people. Many people are obsessed with celebrity gossip because they like to know whether a celebrity is going through a money crisis, divorce or fight with another celebrity which is kind of sick in a way because, why should we care? It’s their life and why should we butt into their personal lives? People love celebrity gossip for pretty much the same reasons people like to watch TV drama series.
Watching somebody live their life publicly and do things “regular” people do every day gives people a way to relate (1). Celebrity gossip that may be considered “good” is most times something that a celebrity has done that is embarrassing or frowned upon (1). It’s almost like when someone laughs at another person who tripped and fell. Many celebrities sacrifice a measure of their privacy by virtue of their celebrity status and by the decision they made when they stepped into the spotlight and the attention of the paparazzi is a side effect of this decision.
But, the paparazzi take their job to the next level by going too far. 2. 2 Paparazzi Go Too Far Celebrities lose their rights of privacy by putting themselves in the public eye. It’s normal to have paparazzi taking photos of celebrities at appearances and events but during their daily and personal life is where the paparazzi go too far. There is no way a member of the paparazzi could sneak into or around your house and take pictures of you and get away with it. Celebrities shouldn’t be any different.
They should have the right to keep their life private because they are human beings and anyone else wouldn’t like the world to know what you were eating every day, when you went to the bathroom and how you looked at the beach. Paparazzi have even caused tragic deaths; for example Princess Diana’s. Princess Diana’s death was a tragic event that was felt around the world. She died in a car crash that was partially caused by the high-speed chase of the paparazzi in a Paris tunnel on August 31, 1997.
News had reported that paparazzi were at the scene of the accident, but they didn’t help her or any of the others that were severely injured in the crash (12). Instead, the paparazzi chose to take pictures of the dying princess during her last few moments alive. Princess Diana had two sons, Prince Harry and Prince William, that were ages 12 and 15 when She died. It was said that the three paparazzi that were taking the photos were charged by French officials but in 2002 the charges were dropped (13).
Can you imagine how it felt for them not only to lose their mother but to see the photos of their mother laying on a gurney, cut up and trying to cling on to life? Meanwhile, those paparazzi and their publishers were making a pretty penny from the photographs. There are other cases of celebrities who have fallen to victims of the paparazzi. Justin Bieber was involved in an incident where he was driving on freeway 101 in Los Angeles California and 4 to 5 vehicles of paparazzi were following him. As Bieber tried to escape by speeding, the paparazzi stayed right on his tail.
This kind of activity went on for about 15 miles until an officer pulled Bieber over for speeding. While the officer was proceeding with the citation, the paparazzi took pictures of all the action. After the officer pulled away and Bieber continued his drive down freeway 101 the paparazzi returned (2). Bieber had called 911 as he was trying to get away from them he told the dispatcher about the situation saying, “They’re being very dangerous, swerving around other cars trying to get to me,” Bieber told the dispatcher. “And when I get to a stop they pull up next to me and just be, like, just harass me (2). Bieber also told the dispatcher “I was trying to go fast so that I could lose these people and I got pulled over. And then the police told me if they kept following me to call again (2). ” A patrol car caught up with Justin where he filed a complaint to have an investigation to see if any of the paparazzi will be charged with violating the paparazzi law (2). There was a huge uproar about the video that surfaced online that showed Kate Moss swarmed by paparazzi at Los Angeles International Airport that had her covering her crying child who was scared (4).
Kate Moss was forced and encouraged by authorities to hide behind the police desk at LAX so that a crew of officers could literally push the paparazzi out of the way to get her and her child to the van safely. The recent scandal of involves Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, is a new scandal that has people buzzing about how the paparazzi are getting away with invading privacy. Photographs were taken of Princess Kate topless on the terrace of a private home that had several hundred meters of land between the home and a public road. The pictures were taken with a specialized zooming camera.
According to NPR, The French magazine Closer that had the possession of the photographs must hand over all digital files of photos containing snapshots of a topless Kate Middleton and refrain from republishing any of them or face fines of $13,000 a day (5). Even the royal family have fallen to victims of the paparazzi. These examples are what endangers the welfare of celebrities. Celebrities are restricted on the amount of normal daily things they can do in public without the paparazzi following them. The paparazzi law in California was passed to help celebrities find their right to privacy again.
Since the law was passed, the Media and California Newspaper Publishers Association have tried to fight the bill with their argument that there is no way that any journalist or freelance photographer should have charges put against them for publishing an article (5). But, a long-time security professional and the creator of the Paparazzi Reform in 2009, Sean Burke, disagrees with that argument saying, “The car chases that take place in L. A. put people in danger and have nothing to do with breaking news. They threaten the lives of celebrities and their children, as well as pedestrians (5). Rights and Laws 3. 1 Current Anti-Paparazzi Law The current anti-paparazzi law in California was passed in 2010 and signed into law by then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. The law will fine paparazzi for taking photos that invade a celebrity’s right to privacy. It will also target media outlets who purchase the photos. “The law makes it a crime to take and then sell photos that are unauthorized of celebrities when they are in a personal or familial activity (13). ” Photographers who violate this law can face fines that are up to 50,000 dollars (13).
The main part of the law is that it will affect paparazzi who drive recklessly to get a photo. Since the law came out people have been questioning if some of the laws within the paparazzi law will withstand legal scrutiny but that seems to be unknown. The aggressive driving law should remain because it doesn’t touch upon the freedom of the press. Driving is about conduct, not speech and that is what makes this law protected by freedom-of-the-press laws. Drivers, pedestrians and the public need to have protection from the aggressive tactics of the paparazzi who are driving and this law will help provide that protection (10). . 2 Rights of Celebrities Celebrities have other rights too that can be sorted into two categories; publicity rights and privacy rights. According to Tabrez Ahmad’s research of celebrity rights and the protection under IP laws, the right of publicity is the essential “right of every human being to control the commercial use of his or her image (7). ” It also grants entertainers or public figures control over the commercial exploitation of their names, likeness or other aspects of their personae (7).
An example of violating someone’s right to publicity would be when Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman sued the beauty store Sephora for using a picture of them without permission in a brochure that was promoting perfumes in September of 2002 (8). The basic concept for privacy rights is it is a personal freedom and is every person’s right to be let alone. This right to celebrities is violated all the time. In most cases, people become curious about every personal detail of the celebrities’ life because they connect with them and think of them as someone who is important in their life. Anti-Paparazzi or Anti-Press
There are arguments stating that the paparazzi law threatens the First Amendment. According to the Paparazzi Reform Initiative, “the first amendment was written without limitations for the purpose of developing a law that could be adjusted as the nation grew and advanced in ways the Founding Fathers could not predict (9). ” They probably never thought that there would be a herd of people chasing down American citizens to capture their image so they could use it for financial gain. The intention for the paparazzi law was not to become anti-press but to simply protect human rights.
Supporter of the anti paparazzi law and president of a security firm in Orange County, Barry Mozian, agrees with the law by saying, “This should not be considered photojournalism in any sense of the word (10). ” Mozian also said that “magazines and supermarket tabloids are in a totally different category than legitimate publishing houses who publish high-quality collections of photographs (10). ” Photojournalism stands by journalistic qualities and ethics. It’s purpose is to be accurate, objective and present a fair representation of events, people or places to the public (11). The paparazzi don’t have any of those qualities or motives.
The paparazzi’s motives are to exploit the lives of the rich and famous and their stories and pictures are just for the sake of money. Conclusion Celebrities live a life where their human rights aren’t protected and are taken from them. They have very few causes of action to protect their rights of privacy and publicity against invasions by the media. The anti-paparazzi law provides some protection for celebrities and public figures who experience invasions of privacy. It provides a solution for these people to live their lives like we do without intense security from the paparazzi.
There have been recent events that have led governments to look into how they could protect the rights of these people and solve this problem by creating laws that protect individuals from invasive situations by the media. The solution available to the US right now is the anti-paparazzi law where it will secure these individuals that their safety and privacy will be protected. Works Cited Mendelson, Andrew L. “Academia. edu | On the Function of the United States Paparazzi: Mosquito Swarm or Watchdogs of Celebrity Image Control and Power | Andrew Mendelson. ” Academia. du | On the Function of the United States Paparazzi: Mosquito Swarm or Watchdogs of Celebrity Image Control and Power | Andrew Mendelson. N. p. , Sept. 2007. Web. 13 Oct. 2012. . Duke, Alan. “CNN. ” CNN. Cable News Network, 01 Jan. 1970. Web. 03 Oct. 2012. . “Paparazzi. ” Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster, n. d. Web. 03 Oct. 2012. . Lesley Ciarula Taylor Toronto S. Anti-paparazzi law passed in California. Toronto Star (Canada) [serial online]. n. d. :Available from: Newspaper Source, Ipswich, MA. Accessed September 26, 2012. Memmott, Mark. “French Magazine Ordered To Hand Over Photos Of Topless
Kate, Not Republish Any. ” NPR. NPR, 18 Sept. 2012. Web. 03 Oct. 2012. . Locke C. Does anti-paparazzi mean anti-press? : First Amendment implications of privacy legislation for the newsroom. Seton Hall Journal Of Sports & Entertainment Law [serial online]. January 2, 2010;20(2):227-247. Available from: OmniFile Full Text Mega (H. W. Wilson), Ipswich, MA. Accessed September 26, 2012. Prof. Dr. Tabrez Ahmad. “Celebrity Rights: Protection under IP Laws” JIPR 16 (2011): 7-16. “Cruise and Kidman Sue over Ad. ” BBC News. BBC, 20 Sept. 2002. Web. 04 Oct. 2012. . The PAPARAZZI Reform Initiative – Legal. The PAPARAZZI Reform Initiative – Legal. N. p. , n. d. Web. 04 Oct. 2012. . Wood, Daniel B. “Will and Kate Visit Could Test California’s New Paparazzi Laws. ” The Christian Science Monitor. The Christian Science Monitor, 09 July 2011. Web. 03 Oct. 2012. . “Paparazzi Is Not Photojournalism. ” Daily Sundial. N. p. , 12 Oct. 2009. Web. 02 Oct. 2012. . Walker, Sam. “Paparazzi and pursuit of privacy. (cover story). ” Christian Science Monitor 02 Sept. 1997: 1. MAS Ultra – School Edition. Web. 13 Oct. 2012. “Schwarzenegger Signs New Anti-paparazzi Law. ” CNN. N. p. , 14 Oct. 2009. Web. 13 Oct. 2012.
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