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Calif. law opens door for paparazzi suits

SACRAMENTO, Oct. 22 (UPI) -- A new California state law that allows publishers of paparazzi works to be sued for recordings obtained illegally could result in lawsuits, experts say.

The Sacramento (Calif.) Bee said Thursday the law signed by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger this month is intended to prevent tabloids and other publishers from knowingly using sound recordings or images obtained by illegal or violent means.

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"I'm positive this will wind up in court, some way or other," said Carlton Larson, a University of California-Davis law professor.

"I'm concerned that it's just going to subject newspapers and other legitimate publishers to nuisance-type lawsuits," California State Sen. Tom Harman said.

The Bee said while opponents of the state law insist it violates publishers' free-speech rights by limiting the publication of truthful information, supporters tab it as a public safety effort.

"Out-of-control paparazzi are an increasing threat -- not only to the celebrities they stalk but to the public at large if they happen to get in their way," California Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, who proposed the law, said.

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