Meghan just beat the Mail on Sunday so bad they have to announce it on their front page

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The Mail On Sunday must publish a front-page statement about Meghan Markle’s victory in her copyright claim against the newspaper over the publication of a “personal and private” letter to her estranged father, the High Court has ruled.

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Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL) – the publisher of the Mail On Sunday and MailOnline – has also been ordered to print a notice on page three of the paper stating it “infringed her copyright” by publishing parts of the letter sent to Thomas Markle.

In a ruling on 5 March, lord justice Warby also granted Markle a declaration that ANL “misused her private information and infringed her copyright”. The duchess, 39, sued ANL over a series of articles which reproduced parts of a “heartfelt” letter to Mr Markle, 76, in August 2018.

She claimed the five articles published in February 2019 involved a misuse of her private information, breached her copyright, and breached the Data Protection Act. Last month, Markle was granted summary judgment in relation to her privacy claim, meaning she won that part of the case without having to go to trial, as well as most of her copyright claim.

Daily Mail
Markle sued Associated Newspapers Limited, the publisher of The Mail On Sunday and Daily Mail (PA)

At a remote hearing this week, ANL’s lawyers applied for permission to appeal against that ruling on 10 grounds. Warby refused permission to appeal, saying it had “no real prospect” of success.

Read on...

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In his ruling, Warby explained he “did not consider that there is any real prospect that the Court of Appeal would reach a different conclusion as to the outcome of the claim for misuse of private information, or as to the issues I decided in the copyright claim”.

The judge said he would order ANL to publish a notice about Markle’s victory as it would have “genuine utility”.

He added:

The defendant devoted a very considerable amount of space to the infringing articles, which it continued to publish for over two years. It has devoted a very considerable number of further column inches, and many hundreds if not thousands of words, to coverage of earlier stages of this litigation and commentary upon them.

The wording sought is modest by comparison, and factual in nature. But I am not persuaded of the case for prolonged publication.

Duchess of Sussex
The Duchess of Sussex sued ANL over a series of articles which reproduced parts of a “heartfelt” letter to her father (Jeremy Selwyn/Evening Standard/PA)

Front paged

The judge ordered that the Mail On Sunday must print “on a single occasion a statement on the front page”, which refers readers to a further statement on page three of the newspaper.

The statement will read:

The court has given judgment for the Duchess of Sussex on her claim for copyright infringement.

The court found that Associated Newspapers infringed her copyright by publishing extracts of her handwritten letter to her father in The Mail On Sunday and in MailOnline.

There will be a trial of the remedies to which the duchess is entitled, at which the court will decide whether the duchess is the exclusive owner of copyright in all parts of the letter, or whether any other person owns a share.

Duchess of Sussex High Court case
The court found that Associated Newspapers infringed Markle’s copyright (Ben Stansall/PA)

Warby also ordered ANL to publish the statement on MailOnline “for a period of one week” with a hyperlink to his full judgment.

The judge added:

In my judgment, these are measured incursions into the defendant’s freedom to decide what it publishes and does not publish, that are justified in pursuit of the legitimate aim I have identified, and proportionate to that aim.

They will involve little if any additional expense, and certainly nothing approaching the scale of the expense that has been lavished on this litigation.

Copyright

Warby said there should be a further hearing “to determine the remaining issues of copyright ownership, the profits to which the claimant is entitled for the defendant’s acts of infringement, and what order should be made for payment of the sum found due on taking such an account”.

He said this hearing, which may take place in October, “would also determine, to the extent these issues remain live, what if any financial remedies should be granted to the claimant in respect of her claim for misuse of private information and the data protection claim”.

A preliminary hearing to decide “what form of financial remedy for misuse of private information may be pursued by the claimant”, how to deal with “the remaining issues in the copyright claim”, and “the further conduct of the data protection claim” will be heard in April or May.

“Unlawful”

In the ruling in February, the judge said publication of Markle’s letter to her father was “manifestly excessive and hence unlawful”. He added:

It was, in short, a personal and private letter. The majority of what was published was about the claimant’s own behaviour, her feelings of anguish about her father’s behaviour, as she saw it, and the resulting rift between them.

These are inherently private and personal matters.

Warby said “the only tenable justification for any such interference was to correct some inaccuracies about the letter”, contained in an article in People magazine, published just days before ANL’s five articles, which featured an interview with five friends of Markle.

The judge added:

The inescapable conclusion is that, save to the very limited extent I have identified, the disclosures made were not a necessary or proportionate means of serving that purpose.

For the most part they did not serve that purpose at all. Taken as a whole the disclosures were manifestly excessive and hence unlawful.

He also said ANL’s arguments on ownership of the copyright of the letter “seem to me to occupy the shadowland between improbability and unreality”.

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  • Show Comments
    1. The horror at the Mail of being forced to print retractions ON THE FRONT PAGE indicates that this should become the norm from now on, for such cases against the corporate media.

      That rabid bunch of rottweilers drove this couple out of Britain, largely because, as we well know, for racist reasons against her.

      I hope they get a truly MASSIVE sum, that actually causes these far right vermin to hurt, and helps end the problems the Sussex’s are facing due to the press’s psychopathy.

    2. May I put in an alternative point of view. Megan came to this country and was welcomed by the citizens of all persuasions and the royal family. Then she thinks she is the expert and promptly makes all of us feel really uncomfortable that we accepted her without realising she is a narcissist. That lady has problems. Antagonistic towards her own family and now Harry’s family. If you gave friendship to a stranger and then found them going behing your back – how would you feel? In my world – you would ignore her, never invite her again, and hope that one day Harry wakes up. She was accepted in good faith. Something she appear to lack.
      Sorry not a fan. I would never want to make friends with her.

      1. Great news. The Mail gets a richly deserved hammering. I am not a fan of Royalty but I am even less of a fan of the filth that masquerades as a media in this country. If Veranne bothers to think about it what he/she is saying it is just a repeat of the drivel written about Meghan. Veranne has NO way of knowing if what is written about Meghan or any Royal is TRUE yet V seems to just accept what the Mail and the rest publish. It is vital that British citizens understand that our “media” will lie and lie when it suits them. If you believe what the British press tell you then you must still believe in Santa Claus! Dont just believe me either, check it out!!!
        The press decided they dont like Meghan so they are determined that WE shall dislike her too. I am not particularly interested in Harry/Meghan but I would never believe a word written about them in any British publication!

    3. Of course if this were you or I we would have got no such justice, However, has any one considered where the line regarding copyright now lies following this ruling and how this effects the publication of leaked doccuments on matters of public nterest?. It seems Meggan was able to use the uk courts to protect her copyright. Surely, her argument should have been with her father and friends who leaked parts of the letter or sent (as in the case of her father) the letter to the gutter press. I’m not cying any tears for the Daily Mail here.

      1. But there is no way a private letter such as disputed could be described as being “in the public interest” And I am glad your not shedding tears for the Mail and no doubt her Father should never have sent it to the press but the Mail actually published it. And, of course neither you or I could have got justice, not having access to Royal funding. So, just as well Meghan, being one of the few people able to challenge the might of the media has succeeded in giving the Mail a well deserved kick up the nether regions although much more severe punishment is merited!!

    4. I am no fan of Meghan, but I am pleased that she won her case against the Daily Mail. It is high time the press got a good telling, about things that are private and personal.
      Perhaps we could rid ourselves of the celebrity worship and move on to report some real news for a change.

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