A new law was passed in California yesterday which will make it a criminal offence to try to photograph or film a child just because their parent is a celebrity or public official.

State Senate Bill 606, effective from 1 January 2014 was signed into law on 2 October 2013 to protect the privacy of celebrities' children (only those under 16) from paparazzi photographers. The punishment on first conviction is a $10,000 fine, a year in prison, or both, with the fine increasing if further convictions are brought.

The child's parent will also have the right to sue and recover damages, costs and any profit that the paparazzi has made from selling the photos or footage. They will also be able to obtain an injunction against further harassment.

Actresses Halle Berry and Jennifer Garner both gave evidence in support of this new law. Ms Berry said that her daughter was scared to go to school because of the constant presence of paparazzi.

Senator Kevin de Leon of California said "Kids shouldn't be tabloid fodder nor the target of ongoing harassment. SB 606 will give children, no matter who their parents are, protection from harassers who go to extremes to turn a buck."