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Arnold Schwarzenegger made a lot of his constituents happy today when he signed a California bill that paves the way for people to sue media outlets that publish unfavorable content about them. The constituents such legislation will benefit most, of course, are the celebrities who live in California. The media people, however? Not so much.
The law, which has been dubbed the "anti-paparazzi bill," enhances an existing law that has handed fines to publications and Web sites posting unsavory or offensive content. Until now, a relatively small fine was the harshest punishment that could be dealt to a media outlet. According to the New York Daily News, this amendment gives celebs the right to sue a publication if the objectionable material was "illegally obtained."
According to the Los Angeles Times, the new law makes it a crime, punishable by up to $50,000, to take and sell unauthorized photos of celebrities in "personal or familial activity."
While few would advocate the invasion of anyone's privacy -- celebrities or otherwise -- this new law could be seen as an erosion of the First Amendment. Freedom of the press and libel laws thus far have been less restrictive of material concerning public figures, who are by nature of their business less subject to privacy laws.
The so-called paparazzi bill was just one of many laws signed by Governor Schwarzenegger yesterday, including one that may not make celebrities as happy this one. A new legislation requires that a person be approved via a physical exam before moving forward with elective cosmetic surgery.
The new laws go into effect on January 10th, 2010.
Do you think celebrities deserve more privacy rights? Chime in below!