A UK newspaper was forced to print an admission that it had violated the rights of the royal family after losing a privacy and copyright lawsuit.
The end of the legal battle between the Mail on Sunday and Mail Online's parent company, Associated Newspapers, and their former owner, Meghan, is marked by an apology and an amount of money in financial compensation. The duchess sued ANL in October for violating her privacy and copyright rights after the company published excerpts from a handwritten letter she sent her estranged father, Thomas, in the Mail on Sunday and in a number of stories published on Mail Online.
The court gave judgement on the case of the duke on 5 May, 2021, after a further hearing on January 20 and January 20 again. The court found that Associated Newspapers had violated her copyright by publishing extracts of her handwritten letters to her father in the Mail on Sunday and on Mail Online. Financial remedies have been agreed.
A summary judgment is a type of verdict granted when a judge determines that no trial is needed because the evidence is overwhelming. There is no chance that a different judgement would be reached after a trial, wrote Warby in his decision.
The ANL's lawyers appealed the ruling, claiming that Warby was wrong to award the victory via summary judgment and arguing for the right to present their case at trial, something the duchess has fought against from the beginning of the proceedings.
Her lawyers wrote to the UK Court of Appeal that allowing the defense to go to trial would have allowed more invasions of her privacy. The legal team for the woman accused ANL of pushing for a trial because it would give the tabloid company an opportunity to profit from the media circus that would inevitably result.
Lawyers for ANL argued during the appeal proceedings in November that Warby made his judgement without knowing all of the information, and presented new evidence in the form of written testimony from the former communications secretary.
According to Knauf, the letter was written by her daughter, who knew that her father would give it to the press. Knauf provided the court with emails between himself and the duchess in which he discussed what she wanted him to say in a secret briefing with two reporters who were writing a very sympathetic biography of her. In her witness statement, she apologized for the fact that she had not remembered the exchanges, and swore that she had no intention of misleading the court.
The Court of Appeal ruled in her favor despite the fact that she was not completely honest.
The apology published by ANL on Sunday signaled that the company has finally admitted defeat after considering an appeal to the UK Supreme Court.
Warby ordered ANL to publish a statement in print and online that acknowledged the company violated the duchess's copyright rights as part of his initial judgement. The court can order appropriate measures for the dissemination and publication of the judgment to be taken at the expense of the infringer if the court finds that an intellectual property right has been violated.
The wording and format of ANL's statement was a source of contention, as can be seen in an order filed by Warby on March 22.
The agreed-upon text was published on the third page of the newspaper with a statement on the front page.
The same text with links to the court's judgments can be found on Mail Online's home page. The day after Christmas, when few people typically read newspapers, is when ANL chose to carry out the court order.
The Court of Appeal's ruling in her favor was not just for her, but for anyone who has ever felt scared to stand up for what's right.
This win is precedent setting, but what matters most is that we are now collectively brave enough to change a tabloid industry that makes people feel bad and profits from the lies and pain that they create.
This lawsuit is an important measure of right versus wrong. The defendants have treated it as a game. She said that the longer they dragged it out, the more they could twist facts and manipulate the public, making a straightforward case extremely convoluted in order to generate more headlines and sell more newspapers.
It is not from your personal life. It could be you tomorrow. These harmful practices don't happen once in a blue moon, they are a daily fail that divide us, and we all deserve better.