July 31, 2008

Plan to crack down on aggressive paparazzi

A hearing will be held Thursday to decide what steps can be taken to reduce or penalize aggressive paparazzi.

Celebrities, law enforcement officials and city leaders are expected at L.A. City Hall for the hearing led by City Councilman Dennis Zine.

Members of the paparazzi follow stars, jump in front of cars and hide in bushes to get pictures of the rich and famous. Now there's an effort to clamp down on their aggressive behavior.

Councilman Zine wants a paparazzi task force to create a personal safety zone between the aggressive photographers and their celebrity targets. He proposed the ordinance after the Los Angeles Police Department spent $25,000 to transport Britney Spears from her Studio City home to UCLA Medical Center earlier this year.

Just last month there was a violent clash between surfers and paparazzi in Malibu when photographers tried to get pictures of actor Matthew McConaughey at the beach. Malibu is also trying to create a proposal to regulate unruly photographers, perhaps by creating a buffer zone.

But LAPD Chief William Bratton says the proposal is unnecessary.

"I have no intention of supporting any additional rules, regulations, or laws," said Bratton. "We have enough in this city without piling more on in terms of for one-time incidents. Sorry this thing doesn't rise to the need for that."

"I think the chief should listen to the concerns of the community, listen to the concerns of the celebrities, listen to what issues could be resolved," said Zine. "We have laws on the books, we're not denying that. And I have 40 years of service with the Los Angeles Police Department, I know there's laws. The problem is those laws are not working."

Bruce Willis drenches paparazzi

Bruce Willis threw water over a photographer's car on Tuesday (29.07.08).

The 'Die Hard' actor became angry when the paparazzo tried to take his picture as he left a medical building in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles.

Irritated at how close the photographers were getting to him, he retaliated by throwing a bottle of water over one of their cars.

However, many of the photographers were pleased with his antics as they photographed him hurling the liquid.

Bruce is not the first celebrity to lash out at the paparazzi.

Last year, Britney Spears famously beat a photographer's car with an umbrella when she deemed he was being too intrusive.

She later wrote to the photographer's agency to apologise for the incident.

She said: "I want to apologise for the past incident with the umbrella. I was preparing a character for a possible movie role where the husband doesn't play his part so they swap places.

"Unfortunately, I didn't get the part. I'm sorry I got all carried away with my part."

In January, Coldplay frontman Chris Martin tackled a photographer to the floor outside New York's Mount Sinai Medical Centre.

The singer was with his wife Gwyneth Paltrow - who was rumoured to be pregnant at the time - and became enraged when the photographer shouted "congratulations Chris!"

Chris screamed: "Have some f***ing respect!" He then pushed the paparazzo to the ground and wrestled his camera from him

Recruiting Candid Celebrity Photographers

Dear Photographers,

Hello from Everett Collection. I am writing to ask if any of you can recommend yourself or other photographers who shoot celebrity candids - not the hardcore stalkerazzi shots of celebs hiding from the camera, but the more casual "on the street" shots of them out and about getting their coffee, shopping, or coming and going from nightclubs and restaurants, as well as any movie or video shoots on location.

In the past, we were not accepting anything that was not from invited and credentialed coverage on the red carpet, but as we've grown these last few years (and as our foreign network of partner agents has really increased our share in the foreign markets) we continue to get an increased demand for the more candid celebrity images from our clients. While we do not want to receive coverage that is too aggressive or offensive (we don't want images that came from trespassing on private property or chasing down celebrities in their cars), we know we could make good sales on candids, and appreciate any referrals you can offer.

We are also not aiming to do the FIRST SALES on EXCLUSIVE images, but rather hope to find a shooter who uses his/her primary agency for the first sales on exclusives, but who then has rights to syndicate similars or outtakes for secondary sales through supplemental partners, perhaps after an initial embargo period has expired. We would be happy to accommodate them with a byline that is an alias or pseudonym, if this is their preference. They would retain copyright on all images and receive 50% royalties on all license fees.

Thank you for any recommendations of names, telephone numbers and email addresses you can provide, and feel free to forward my contact information as well.

Take care,

Michael Williams
Director of Entertainment Photo Assignments

July 26, 2008

Paparazzi Fight Bodyguards after Being Discovered at Jolie-Pitt Residence

Two paparazzi that were discovered by the bodyguards that protect the Jolie-Pitt estate in southern France started a fight with the guards that led to both parties filing complaints against the other at the police.

It seems that the two paparazzi were wearing camouflage gear and that one of them reacted extremely violently when the guards escorted him to the exit. According Jolie's and Pitt's men, the person broke a finger of one of the bodyguards, bit another one and drew blood over them while saying that he had hepatitis C.

On the other hand, the photographer said that the guards were hitting him so hard, that he had to put blood all over them and tell them that he had HIV so that they would stop beating him. According to his declarations, he and his colleague were in a forest outside the estate and the guards reacted abusively by escorting them away from that place which is open for everybody to walk through.

The police said that they questioned both parties and that further investigations will be carried out. However, according to the Associated Press, a spokesperson of the police said that "I won't hide for you that this kind of thing is really not the type of problem that interests us. There are, in my opinion, far more important things than paparazzi taking photos of a glamor couple."

The Jolie-Pitt couple is making efforts in protecting their family's privacy, a thing that seems more and more difficult to accomplish after Angelina gave birth to twins on July 12 attracting press' attention even more than usually.

Halle Berry pushes back against paparazzi

LOS ANGELES - Halle Berry said a paparazzi went too far to get a shot of her infant daughter, alleging that the shooter trespassed on her private property and snapped them hanging out in the backyard.

Evan Spiegel, an attorney representing Berry, said a criminal complaint has been filed and an investigation is under way. He said there are witnesses who saw the photographers in the middle of a "very blatant and invasive trespass."

"The paparazzi have gone too far," Berry said in a statement to The Associated Press. She vowed to do everything possible to get the photographer prosecuted and protect her infant daughter.

"I have long since come to terms with the fact that choosing a career as an actress has made me a public figure, but my baby has made no such choice, and unless and until she does, I will do everything I can ... to keep her out of the public eye," the statement read.

Berry said she wants anyone who used the photos to know they were illegally obtained.

"The magazines are not aware that there was anything improper in the taking of this image," the statement said.

Berry‘s pushback against the paparazzi comes at a time when their tactics are coming under increased scrutiny.

A regional task forces is scheduled to convene in Los Angeles next week to discuss the paparazzi, and Berry‘s statement was issued the same day a pair of photographers scuffled in France with security personnel for Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

July 24, 2008

Sienna Miller sues over topless photos with Balthazar Getty

Sienna Miller is one great big bundle of contradictions. Or a hypocrite, depending on how you want to put it. The woman is barely able to keep her top on. I cannot think of any celebrity whose breasts I’ve seen so often I could pick them out of a lineup. And though she seems physically incapable of keeping her shirt on in public, Sienna Miller is suing over the slew of boobie pics of late – and there have been tons. Taken on multiple occasions.

Sienna Miller is suing two media organizations over the topless photos of her vacationing with new beau Balthazar Getty.

According to London’s The Guardian, she claims photo agency Big Pictures and British tabloids News of the World and the Sun violated her privacy by publishing photos and stories about her new romance.

The suit comes days after Getty announced he and his wife Rosetta (with whom he has four children) have separated. In a statement, the actor said “the breakdown of a marriage is a very difficult and painful experience especially when children are involved.” He added that the photos that “have surfaced in print and on the Internet” have “caused myself and my family great embarrassment.”

[From Us Weekly]

Sienna doesn’t just have a history of walking around al fresco, she also has a long history of suing photographers over it. And winning. I’m not saying the woman doesn’t have a right to privacy. And I’m not saying she shouldn’t be able to walk around topless where it’s legal, if that’s what she wants to do. But it’s just about publicity.

If Miller really didn’t want her nipples splashed across the pages of The Sun, then she should keep them behind a nice peasant top. It’s crazy how that works. If you keep your nipples to yourself, photographers won’t take pictures of them. If you go outdoors and shove them into your boyfriend’s hands, photographers will take pictures of them. It’s a pretty simple equation, really.

I hope this lawsuit gets thrown out. It makes me think of the morbidly obese man who sued Wendy’s restaurants because the booths weren’t large enough for him to sit in. As the judge pointed out, the man was too large for the booths, it wasn’t that the booths are too small. Thus the man was ordered by the judge to lose weight (though I’m not saying that was necessarily an appropriate solution in that case).

Similarly, Sienna seems to have confused the essential issue here. It’s not like photographers were snapping pictures of here walking around inside her house naked. She was outdoors on a boat. And on a deck. And a couple other places. She’s been shirtless so often lately that it’s hard to keep track. The judge should order her to keep her top on in public. Or take it off, for all I care. She just needs to stop complaining about the logical result of her actions.

July 23, 2008

Brad Pitt Sics His Lawyers on the Prying Paparazzi … A Little Too Late

Brad Pitt’s loudmouthed attorneys at Lavely & Singer are, preemptively, trying to clamp down on a series of photos that “were surreptitiously taken of Mr. Pitt and his family as they engaged in familial activities on private property, namely, in the privacy of the estate in which they are presently residing in France and where they had a reasonable expectation of privacy.” Not content with issuing a cease and desist letter after the pictures’ publication, L&S want to make sure these photos never make it into the public eye. (Too late, as you’ll see.)

Supposedly, the publication of these photos — showing Pitt and wife Angelina Jolie with the kids — infringe not just on Pitt’s privacy rights in the State of California, but also in France!

Except, according to one understanding of the law, this is wrong. Oh, and also? In Touch already published the pics.

In the U.S., aerial photos of private property haven’t exactly been viewed as invasions of privacy. If those cameras are aimed through windows to snap pictures indoors, well then maybe. But outdoor pics? Less so.

In France, the rules are much stricter, as we’ve noted before. The French take citizen privacy, even for celebs, much more serious, and make it a crime to publish pictures without consent, even when celebs have limited to no expectation of privacy. Except the rules might only matter when the pictures are published in France; the photos, if snapped in France and published elsewhere, are generally un-actionable.

This isn’t the first, nor the last time we’ll see Hollywood firms like Lavely & Singer protecting their clients’ photo privacy. The bulldog law firm went down this road before when topless sunbathing photos of Pitt’s own ex-wife Jennifer Aniston surfaced. Perhaps forecasting where Pitt’s own matter will end up, most web publications pulled those photos.

Indeed: Bauer-Griffin, the paparazzi agency behind the photos that today’s Lavely & Singer cease and desist letter is about, has taken their pictures down. But not before selling them to In Touch. We can’t find the pics on their website, but anybody can find the 20+ pictures in this week’s issue, on newsstands now.

July 22, 2008

Paparazzi arrested near Britney Spears' home

Britney Spears

Two photographers who tried to snap shots of pop star Britney Spears were arrested Monday on suspicion of loitering. (Mark J. Terrill / AP)

Two photographers who tried to snap shots of pop star Britney Spears from a fire access road on a hillside near her Studio City home were arrested Monday afternoon on suspicion of loitering.

The men were taken into custody after someone called police about 4 p.m. Monday to report that photographers were loitering on city-owned property, which has restricted public access and is blocked by a chain-linked fence, said LAPD Sgt. Ruby Malachi.

Officers told the photographers they were on city-owned property and that they should leave, Malachi said. The photographers said they would heed the warning but when police returned about an hour later, they were still there.

"They were detained, questioned and eventually arrested before being transported to North Hollywood station, where they were released," Malachi said.

The photographers were identified Tuesday as Alexandre Passos, 35, of Canoga Park and Eduardo Ravalha, 35, of Los Angeles. They were booked on suspicion of loitering and Ravalha's silver 2005 C-20 Mercedes Benz was impounded.

Police said they were called to the same area two weeks ago because of a similar report involving the paparazzi, Malachi said. At that time, authorities noted that signs warning people to stay off the property had been removed.

The arrests Monday are part of what authorities have described as a larger crack down against aggressive photographers.

In February, the LAPD arrested four paparazzi on suspicion of reckless driving as they followed Spears on a San Fernando Valley street. Police alleged that at least one of the photographers tried to run her off the road.

That same month, in separate incidents, four paparazzi were booked on charges arising from blocking sidewalks in West Hollywood.

Spears' exploits have been a tabloid staple for years. Among the most memorable moment were photos of her driving down Pacific Coast Highway while holding her infant son in her lap, an incident that led to an inquiry by Los Angeles County child welfare officials.

That was followed by other increasingly bizarre incidents, including Spears' impromptu stop at an Encino salon to shave her head, attacking paparazzi with an umbrella, being photographed sans underwear in public, failed trips to drug rehabilitation, appearing incoherent during a photo shoot for OK! Magazine, a much-panned performance at the MTV Video Music Awards and numerous court hearings about custody of her two young sons.

The paparazzi frenzy reached a peak in January when Spears was taken to psychiatric wards at two local hospitals about a month apart, including an LAPD-escorted trip that cost the department $25,000.

The intense scene led Los Angeles Police Department and Sheriff's Department officials to say they planned to use existing laws to crack down on what they described as increasingly aggressive paparazzi

Councilman Dennis Zine introduced a measure to create a minimum "personal safety zone" around individuals targeted by the media. LAPD Chief William J. Bratton said the measure was not needed, arguing that existing laws were sufficient to deal with the problem.

Authorities said their tools include anti-loitering ordinances, traffic laws and rules targeting infractions such as illegally tinted windows and paper license plates.

July 16, 2008


Supermodel GISELE BUNDCHEN is asking for a change in the law, so she can assault the photographers who camp outside her New York home.

The Brazilian beauty spends her days dodging the paparazzi with sports star boyfriend Tom Brady.
And she's desperate to take out her frustration on the men with lenses, snarling, "They sit in front of my house all day... Believe me, if I had my way I would go around punching people."

July 15, 2008

NYC Adopts Improved Photo Permit Rules

The New York City Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting (MOFTB) has just issued its final set of rules governing when permits are needed to take pictures in public property. These rules were the subject of much debate last summer, when they were first proposed and then quickly withdrawn and revised.

The rules have improved with each revision. The ones issued today appear to be the the fairest and most photographer-friendly of the whole process.

If you love to read these things in detail, click here to read the 12-page rule notice.

Or you can read the summary in an MOFTB press release.

"Under the adopted rules, a permit would be required for filming if equipment or vehicles, as defined in the rule, are used or if the person filming asserts exclusive use of City property. Equipment does not include hand-held devices (such as hand-held film, still, or television cameras or videocameras) or tripods used to support such cameras, but a permit would be required in certain situations when the person filming asserts exclusive use of City property while using a hand-held device."

As a reminder, permits are already required for this kind of thing in New York and most other cities. The problem was that the rules had evolved over time and nothing formal was on the books. Permits are free but require you to carry $1 million of liability insurance, though it is possible to apply for a waiver in cases of hardship. Students should be covered by their schools.

So when can you get away without having a permit?

"A permit is not required for filming that uses hand-held cameras or tripods and does not assert exclusive use of City property. Standing on a street, walkway of a bridge, sidewalk, or other pedestrian passageway while using a hand-held device and not otherwise asserting exclusive use of City property is not an activity that requires a permit. In addition, activity that involves the filming of a parade, rally, protest or demonstration does not require a permit except when equipment or vehicles are used. The rules also provide that press photographers, who are credentialed by the New York Police Department (NYPD) do not need to obtain a MOFTB permit."

Looks good on paper. Let's see if it holds up out in the streets.

Waiting in the Dark Knight...

The Dark Knight Premiere
July 14, 2008, 7pm
AMC Lincoln Theaters

The first photographer reportedly check in at midnight.

Yes, you read that right. 12 AM! A full 19 HOURS before the premiere.

With all that waiting, you would think Heath would have the decency to at least drive past the premiere in a hearse. Ouch... now that's just wrong.

An what did you get for all that waiting... Christian Bale did a quick walkby.
At least Maggie Gyllenhaal was in nice fashion and posed.


Pregnant MINNIE DRIVER has applauded the angry surfers who came to her rescue when a quiet day at the beach turned into a paparazzi invasion last month (Jun08).

Driver, actor pal Colin Farrell and his young son were relaxing at Paradise Cove in Malibu, California when an army of photographers targeted them for pictures.

Farrell himself challenged one group of snappers but when he was outnumbered, local surfers stepped in to let the cameramen know they weren't welcome.

A brawl broke out between snappers and surfers, with some paparazzi forced to defend themselves from beatings as they were dragged into the sea with their expensive equipment.
Driver says, "We were chased off the beach by these paparazzi and then my local community and my lovely friends and neighbours took serious umbrage at the fact that their community had been so disrupted by these people, who were just total piranhas.

"Whilst I don't condone the violence at all, I think they (surfers) were just defending people trying to have a normal afternoon.

"Colin has a little son and I'm pregnant, so it was just sort of disgusting and wrong. It wasn't a happy experience of taking lovely pictures; it was rabid and weird.

"The Malibu community was defending us, which was really nice. It didn't stop the guy from selling his pictures for $80,000, but, hey, maybe a punch in the mouth was worth it for him."
And Driver is happy the incident has prompted local officials to boost the police presence on the beaches, so celebrities can sunbathe in peace: "Now we have sheriffs patrolling our beach, which I kind of love."

July 13, 2008

Brangelina twins are million-dollar babes

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt's new twins, a girl and a boy born by Caesarian section on Saturday, are barely a few hours old but already their first photos are worth a fortune.

A million dollars, two, five, 10 even 20 million? Exactly how much the first "official" snaps will be sold for is not clear. But the figures being bandied about make the eyes pop.

Nice Matin, the hometown daily in the Riviera city in the south of France where Jolie gave birth, put the twins' worth at more than $11 million. It first broke news of the birth and reported Sunday that the couple have sold the rights for the first photo of their newly enlarged family to a U.S. publication, which it did not name, and that the proceeds would go to charity.

"I've never known a set of pictures to be worth this amount of money," said Darryn Lyons, owner of Big Pictures, a celebrity photo agency in London. He estimated that the twins' official photos will be worth between $15 million and $20 million.

The only other photos that "would possibly come that close is Britney Spears giving birth to an alien," he said.

Veteran London-based celebrity publicist Max Clifford estimated that the first photos could fetch 10 million pounds — roughly $20 million — "which would make it the biggest baby deal ever."

"These kind of pictures sell lots of magazines," he said. "It's a 10-million-pound gamble as to whether the ends justify the means. But obviously it's a very calculated risk because whoever lands the photos will have a lot of experience with the popularity of mum and dad."

Cue the paparazzi. They've been camped in Nice since shortly after Jolie's admission to the Lenval hospital there at the end of June. For them, the Brangelina twins were the biggest story of the year. It's been a cat-and-mouse game between photographers and the hospital, which says it put up a special material on the windows of the couple's room that prevents telephoto lenses from peering through.

"It's the most glamorous couple in the world. Brad and Angelina are the most beautiful people. They are very popular, that is why we are here," one paparazzo in Nice said. The paparazzo would not be identified by name or agency.

This photographer staked out Brangelina for two months before the birth, going back to the Cannes film festival when the family was staying in the nearby St. Jean Cap Ferrat mansion of Microsoft founder Paul Allen. The photographer acknowledged that paparazzi bother people — but said it was the price of their fame, adding that most of the time Pitt and Jolie seemed to tolerate their presence.

"No anger. Only when they want to be alone they tell us, 'Please leave us alone.' They are very kind. They are nice," the photographer said.

Never mind that Jolie was ensconced on the fifth floor in a section of the maternity ward that has been security-enhanced and that she was staying out of sight behind the mirrored blue windows. Paparazzi still had hopes that they would get a valuable shot of Jolie — either as an expectant or brand-new mother.

Clifford said he didn't think that paparazzi will be able to get any candid shots of the babies and, if they do, he didn't think they will have much impact on the value of the official photos.

"If there are sneak shots, they're not going to be anything like the posed ones," he said. "All it does is whet the appetite of those who want to see real quality pictures."

Lyons of Big Pictures also did not think paparazzi will get candid shots.

"There's always a chance in this business. It's down to who is good at what they do," he said. "If you were to get a paparazzi set of photos you could easily buy a little island to live on for the rest of your life."

"Certainly, the feeding frenzy just goes to show that people talk about the celebrity-obsessed world we live in. If publishers are willing to pay up to 15 million, there are obviously plenty of people wanting to see them."

"In the celebrity world, it seems to be the double second coming," he added.

July 10, 2008

Jolie room has anti-paparazzi paint

The hospital where Angelina Jolie will give birth says the windows of her room have been coated with a special material that prevents paparazzi from taking pictures of her and Brad Pitt.

The Lenval hospital in Nice in southern France says photos which purport to show Jolie and Pitt in their room have appeared in magazines and on the internet.

The hospital says the photos are fakes, that they have been manipulated or show other patients at the hospital.

The hospital's statement said that it is in fact "totally impossible" to see inside the couple's room from the outside, because the windows have been covered with an insulating material that lenses cannot see through.

Jolie is expecting twins. She has been resting and been monitored by doctors in the hospital ahead of the birth.

Tobey Maguire Vs. The Paparazzi

Tobey Maguire was trying to exit a parking lot in his car last night with his wife in the passenger's seat, but they were instantly surrounded by paparazzi.

The photogs were so close to the car that Tobey couldn't even see in front of him well enough to drive. After being patient for about 30 seconds, he opens up his door, and gives the paps a piece of his mind.

July 4, 2008

Paparazzi feel the heat in California

For years Hollywood's paparazzi have hounded celebrities, but now -- with help from local politicians, a lawyer in the Monica Lewinsky case, and even Malibu surfers -- they are the ones feeling the heat.

In Los Angeles and the nearby beachside enclave of Malibu, city leaders want to slap restrictions on the paparazzi citing safety concerns. But the paps, along with legal experts, say they are protected by their right to free speech under the U.S. Constitution.

"The paparazzo is just as much covered by the First Amendment as you or I, or any Joe Schmo up the street," said Lucy Dalglish, executive director of the Virginia-based Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.

"I don't think under any First Amendment law you can single out a paparazzi photographer," she said.

Still, many people are trying.

Numerous Hollywood celebrities, ranging from Mel Gibson to Britney Spears, have homes in posh Malibu and as a result, it has become a magnet for photographers looking for stars.

In late June, several Malibu surfers swarmed some paparazzi who had gathered at a beach to get shots of "Fool's Gold" actor Matthew McConaughey, 38, as he surfed.

A fight ensued, was captured on video and posted online showing the shirtless surfers -- some apparently holding beer bottles -- battling with the photographers.

"No one who lives here wants you here," one surfer yells.


One week later, peace seemed to reign on Malibu's beaches as surfers handed out flowers to the paparazzi in a gesture of goodwill after the two groups traded threats online for days and as sheriff's deputies patrolled to prevent further fights.

Still, Malibu officials are considering regulations that include buffer zones around certain areas, licensing photographers and taxing revenues from the photos they take.

Malibu City Councilman Andy Stern supports new rules, but declined to say specifically what is under consideration.

He told Reuters he himself has experienced perilous situations as paparazzi tailed celebrities on a key stretch of highway in Malibu.

"My obligation is to protect everyone, not just the paparazzi," Stern said. "If they want us to ignore them, that's just not going to happen."

Malibu officials are getting advice from Kenneth Starr, the attorney whose investigation of former President Bill Clinton led to the uncovering of his sexual liaison with Monica Lewinsky and caused his impeachment. Starr is dean of the Pepperdine University School of Law in Malibu.

Earlier this year in nearby Los Angeles, City Councilman Dennis Zine proposed restrictions on the paparazzi, suggesting they be kept several feet away from stars they photograph.

"It's becoming more combative where people are saying they've had enough with these people," Zine said.

"Right now, you have no laws that really apply. You have a chaotic situation that keeps on getting worse," he said.

Zine points to the 1997 death of Princess Diana, who was killed in the Paris car crash along with companion Dodi al-Fayed as the paparazzi pursued them, as an example of why Los Angeles needs restrictions on celebrity photographers.


The number of paparazzi tailing Hollywood's young elite has swelled in recent years, and dozens of photographers often crowd celebrity hot spots. In decades past, top restaurants and clubs attracted only three or four.

Starchasing is easier for the paparazzi in California and the United States than in some countries in Europe, where privacy laws favor stars. In France, for example, the paps often must get a celebrity's permission to take and distribute a picture.

Lower costs for photo equipment and growing demand from magazine editors for shots of celebrities doing every-day things -- instead of looking coiffed on the red carpet -- also has contributed to the growing numbers of paparazzi.

"They want to see them with their hair kind of messed up, they want to see them with maybe some spaghetti sauce on their shirt, they want to see them a little bit pudgy," said Brad Elterman, co-owner of Los Angeles-based agency Buzz Foto.

Paparazzi -- many of whom are immigrants -- can sell the same picture to different magazines and make thousands of dollars on a single shot, an income stream that affords top photographers nice cars and flexible hours, Elterman said.

"It's like the Mafia, once you're in you never want to leave," he said.

Experts said that authorities in California could crack down on the paparazzi's excesses by enforcing current traffic and trespassing laws. Still, those clamp-downs would not affect the ease with which unflattering celebrity photos are transmitted on the Internet, or the public's demand for more.

"We're in an age where no one really knows where the lines can or should be drawn," said Gary Morgan, CEO of the L.A.-based celebrity photo agency Splash News.