Appealing the Copyright and Privacy Claims

In the latest update in the long-running dispute between Associated Newspapers and Meghan Markle, the Court of Appeal has granted Associated Newspapers permission to appeal the High Court's rulings on Meghan Markle's copyright and privacy claims.  

In our previous blogs which discussed the decision that Mail on Sunday and Mail Online did misuse Meghan's private information and Meghan's copyright claim being successful, we reported that the High Court had made the following decisions in the Duchess of Sussex's copyright and privacy claims.

Copyright Claim 

Lord Justice Warby sitting in the High Court, unequivocally held that by reproducing substantial parts of the letter Meghan had sent to her father, Associated Newspapers had infringed copyright. As a result of this, the High Court made the following orders:

  • That Associated Newspapers delete from its newspaper and online notices any references to a trial in relation to the copyright claim.
  • That Associated Newspapers use its best endeavours to deliver up to its solicitors' copies of any draft letter(s) or the final letter for its solicitors to hold and ultimately destroy at the end of the action provided that Meghan ultimately succeeds in her claim.
  • That Associated Newspapers will have to account for the profits they made in publishing the letter.

Privacy Claim

Lord Justice Warby sitting in the High Court, held that Meghan had a reasonable expectation that her letter to her father would remain private. In coming to this conclusion, the Judge rejected Associated Newspaper's arguments that:

  • Meghan had no expectation of privacy because she had caused or permitted information about the existence and content of the letter to enter the public domain; and
  • Meghan had no expectation of privacy because it could be inferred that she used the letter as part of a media strategy to improve or enhance her image.  

What Next?

It seems that the battle between The Duchess of Sussex and Associated Newspapers is far from over. 

The Court of Appeal will now hear arguments from both parties on the copyright and privacy claims, and there are likely to be some very interesting legal points that the Court of Appeal will have to determine.  

Here to Help

Our specialist Intellectual Property Disputes Team routinely advise on a broad range of disputes relating to copyright, trademarks, patents and design rights, along with matters relating to data protection and confidential information. If you would like further information or assistance, we would be happy to help. You can contact us on 0161 941 4000 or email The Intellectual Property Team for more information.