Maui News

“Steven Tyler Act” Draws Celebrity Testimony

February 8, 2013, 8:50 AM HST
* Updated February 8, 9:20 AM
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Courtesy file photo.

Courtesy file photo.

By Wendy Osher

The “Steven Tyler Act” comes up for review today at the state Capitol.

Hawaii News Now reports that the rock star after whom the bill is named, Steven Tyler, is expected to provide live testimony before the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor, in suport of the legislation with cameras rolling.

The Aerosmith front-man, former “American Idol” judge, and part-time Maui resident wants the bill enacted to protect celebrities from egregious photos, images, and recordings that violate their privacy.

State Senator J. Kalani English of Maui was among the lawmakers who joined in introducing a bill to protect celebrities from paparazzi.

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Written testimony has already been received from a list of celebrities that support the measure incuding: Motley Crue’s Tommy Lee, Kat von D, Mick Fleetwood, Margaret Cho, Ozzy Osbourne, Britney Spears, Frankie Banali of Quiet Riot, Neil Diamond, and Avril Lavigne.

Written Testimony from Ozzy Osbourne.

Written Testimony from Ozzy Osbourne.

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Those who support the measure say it would provide protection from the paparazzi, and help the local economy by providing an incentive for people who appreciate privacy to purchase a home in the islands.

Ozzy Osbourne was among those who signed a statement saying, “This tranquility is being violated by paparazzi who use high tech equipment or engage in high-speed car chases to capture celebrities’ most private moments from unprecedented distances and sell those images or recordings for exorbitant sums of money.”

The letter further stated that, “Simple activities like cooking on the barbecue with your kids, sunbathing in your own backyard, or driving to a friend’s house become elusive luxuries for public figures.  Enacting SB465 would provide me and other public figures with a peace of mind that is nearly impossible to find in Hawaii because of the rampant paparazzi and the state’s current lack of a constructive invasion of privacy law, such as other states have.”

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Among those opposed to the bill are members of the Motion Picture Association, who claim that the measure violates first ammendment rights.

In written testimony, the association states that the bill is “vague and ambiguous” saying it, “attempts to protect privacy, but it does so at the cost of abridging the right of free speech.”

Maui resident Sally Raisbeck provided written testimony against the bill saying it appears to be more of a “publicity stunt than anything likely to protect privacy.” She said it would more likely have a chilling effect on legitimate reporters, and called on lawmakers to, “Please trash this trashy bill.”

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