On Feb. 8, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a privacy bill sought by celebrities such as Maui resident Steven Tyler of Aerosmith fame.

The committee agreed to move a bill copied from California’s so-called anti-paparazzi civil law. Committee Chairman Clayton Hee also added that the privacy protection would apply only on property owned or leased by the individual.

Tyler and Mick Fleetwood, another Maui resident and member of the famed rock group Fleetwood Mac, asked the committee to make it a invasion of privacy for anyone to photograph or voice record a person in their home. They complained of the actions of paparazzi in trying to get photographs.

The Hawaii Chapter SPJ opposed the bill, citing an infringement on the First Amendment. The chapter also said existing state laws guard against such intrusions on celebrities’ lives.

But the chapter pointed out the unintended consequences of the bill that could affect the media. According to the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, the New York Times and ABC News faced lawsuits based on the law. ABC was doing an undercover investigation of a Hollywood casting company, the RCFP said.

SB465 testimony.doc