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Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Privacy, Criminal Law, and Paparazzi

Camera Two of the courses I teach – information privacy law and criminal law . . . united as one!  This article discusses how prosecutors are beginning to press criminal charges against paparazzi:

Paparazzi accustomed to chasing down their high-profile targets in order to score photos that could ultimately net them huge profits are now finding themselves the focus of a criminal probe.

Officials in Los Angeles have launched an investigation into overly aggressive tactics used by some celebrity photogs who endanger lives in their quests for the money shot.

Police and prosecutors are cracking down on paparazzi who engage in practices such as using several cars to box in the A-lister of the moment, or even colliding with the celebrity's car, as happened to Lindsay Lohan last week.

"There is a very real concern that this type of behavior may constitute a danger to the victimized celebrity and others," William S. Hodgman, head of the Los Angeles County district attorney's target crimes unit, told the Los Angeles Times. "We are aware that vehicles are used quite often in efforts to stalk celebrities. We also are aware of numerous incidents where the celebrity and or others had children with them who were put in jeopardy." . . . .

"Part of the investigation is to see where the connections are, how closely they worked together, if at all," said Lieutenant Paul Vernon, an LAPD spokesman.

Galo Ramirez, the paparazzo who, according to police, intentionally hit Lohan's car with his minivan, is facing a charge of assault with a deadly weapon following the collision. Police are looking into whether other shutterbugs can be brought on felony conspiracy charges.

Another recent article discusses the economics of the paparazzi – more specifically, how they peddle their photos.  Many use agencies, which take a 40% cut, but which sell the photos within 24 hours to the highest bidder.  The money-making potential for paparazzi (and these paparazzi agencies) is enormous:

Publications often bid against each other for exclusive footage, and prices can get very high. Pictures of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie on the beach are said to have gone for $500,000 (though some paparazzi claim the actual figure was half that).

Remind me again why I write law review articles when I could make a living by taking just a few pictures a year. . . .

Posted by Daniel Solove on June 14, 2005 at 12:58 PM in Criminal Law, Daniel Solove, Information and Technology | Permalink


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There should totally be laws that protect celebrities from the paparazzi. I mean, the paparazzi KILLED Princess Diana. What if this happens agiain? We need to stop this by restricting the rights of the paparazzi. Also, celebrities are people too, and they deserve privacy, don't they?

Posted by: ME | Dec 5, 2005 8:53:07 PM

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