Meghan Mail On Sunday statement: Front page comment on Duchess of Sussex’s court victory delayed as publisher appeals

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A front-page statement in The Mail On Sunday about the Duchess of Sussex’s victory in her copyright claim is on hold, to allow the newspaper’s publisher time to seek permission to appeal.

Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL), the publisher of The Mail On Sunday and MailOnline, was previously ordered to print a statement on its front page and a notice on page three of the paper stating it “infringed her copyright” by publishing parts of a “personal and private” letter to her estranged father, Thomas Markle.

The duchess, 39, sued ANL over a series of articles which reproduced parts of a “heartfelt” letter sent 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, Meghan 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.

ANL were initially refused permission to appeal against that decision, but can still apply directly to the Court of Appeal.

In a further ruling, Lord Justice Warby said ANL had also applied for permission to appeal against his order requiring The Mail On Sunday and MailOnline to publish the statements.

The judge refused ANL permission to appeal, but granted a “stay” of the order requiring publication of the statements “only until the matter has been decided by the Court of Appeal”.

Lord Justice Warby said the stay would expire on 6 April, to give ANL time to apply directly to the Court of Appeal.

Earlier this month, 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.”

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

Intellectual property lawyer Sara Ludlam told Sky News the duchess had “done very well” out of the judgement.

“For me the outstanding decision in this judgment is that Associated Newspapers has been ordered to pay 90% of the duchess’s costs in the Summary Judgment Application with the remaining 10% reserved until the further hearing.

“I advise my clients that they will be lucky to recover 60-70% of their costs if they were successful in court. Plus Associated Newspapers has to pay £450,000 up front ‘on account’ – so the duchess has done very well.”

(c) Sky News 2021: Meghan Mail On Sunday statement: Front page comment on Duchess of Sussex’s court victory delayed as publisher appeals

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