UIC John Marshall Journal of Information Technology & Privacy Law


Celebrities and the media possess a unique relationship. Many celebrities skillfully use the media to market and advertise their movies, television shows, books, and records. They use the media to propel their careers and create a marketable celebrity image. Society is celebrity crazed and magazines, tabloids and other media forms such as Entertainment Tonight and Access Hollywood have combined to feed that craze. Our society's hunger for celebrities has spawned the existence of photographers known as the paparazzi. Armed with zoom lenses, high-powered microphones, and the promise of huge cash rewards for an exclusive celebrity expose, the paparazzi have become more intrusive and aggressive than ever in their pursuit of private celebrity information. The public outcry following the tragic August 1997 death of Princess Diana and her boyfriend Dodi Fayed as they attempted to out run a group of aggressive paparazzi has led to a backlash against the paparazzi and the press. Prompted by personal stories from celebrities about aggressive paparazzi photographers both the State and Federal legislators have introduced legislation to regulate paparazzi conduct. This Comment focuses on whether anti-paparazzi legislation introduced at the federal level and the State of California laws are necessary in light of the existing laws. The first section of this paper reviews common law privacy torts. The second and third sections examine proposed federal legislation and California statue that eradicates intrusive paparazzi behavior. The fourth section examines the constitutionality of proposed federal legislation and California law. Finally, this Comment concludes that these statues are not necessary given existence of laws that effectively deal with abusive paparazzi behavior.