Meghan: Duchess of Sussex wins copyright declare in opposition to Mail On Sunday over letter to father

Thomas Markle and Meghan. Pics: ITV/Shutterstock/Reuters

2021-05-05 19:15:00

The Duchess of Sussex has gained her copyright declare in opposition to the Mail On Sunday over the publication of a handwritten letter to her estranged father Thomas Markle.

Meghan, 39, sued Related Newspapers Restricted (ANL), which additionally publishes MailOnline, over articles which reproduced components of the letter despatched to her 76-year-old dad in August 2018.

She claimed the 5 articles, revealed in print and on-line in February 2019, misused her non-public data, infringed her copyright and breached the Information Safety Act.

The Excessive Court docket granted Meghan abstract judgment in February in relation to her privateness declare, which means she gained that a part of the case with out having to go to trial, in addition to most of her copyright declare.

Meghan and Prince Harry
Prince Harry and Meghan now reside in California after stepping again as senior royals. File pic

Within the February ruling, Lord Justice Warby mentioned ANL’s publication of Meghan’s letter to her father was “manifestly extreme and therefore illegal”. He added: “It was, briefly, a private and personal letter.”

At a distant listening to on Wednesday, the decide granted abstract judgment in her favour in relation to the remaining components of the duchess’s copyright declare, after attorneys performing on behalf of the Queen mentioned it doesn’t belong to the Crown.

ANL beforehand mentioned it believed Jason Knauf – previously communications secretary to Prince Harry and Meghan – was a co-author of the letter, which it argued meant the letter belonged to the Crown.

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However, on Wednesday, the Excessive Court docket heard Mr Knauf has “emphatically” denied being a co-author and that attorneys representing “the Keeper of the Privy Purse, performing on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen” informed Meghan’s solicitors they “didn’t take into account the Crown to be the copyright proprietor”.

Ian Mill QC, for the duchess, mentioned the Keeper of the Privy Purse’s attorneys had written to Meghan’s solicitors “disclaiming any declare to copyright on behalf of the Crown”.

In written submissions, Mr Mill additionally mentioned Mr Knauf’s attorneys confirmed he didn’t write the letter to Mr Markle and “it has by no means been his perception that he was an creator”.

The court docket heard his attorneys mentioned: “Mr Knauf didn’t draft, and has by no means claimed to have drafted, any components of the digital draft or the letter and would by no means have asserted copyright over any of their content material.

“In our shopper’s view, it was the duchess’s letter alone.”

He mentioned Meghan “shared a draft” of the letter with Harry and Mr Knauf “for assist, as this was a deeply painful course of that they’d lived via together with her”.

Mr Mill informed the court docket Mr Knauf “steered {that a} reference to Mr Markle’s ill-health be included”, which Meghan did, however that “Mr Knauf didn’t recommend any particular wording”.

Andrew Caldecott QC, representing ANL, mentioned in written submissions that it was “a matter of remorse” that Mr Knauf’s attorneys had not mentioned he was not an creator of the letter earlier than the abstract judgment listening to in January.

When Mr Knauf’s attorneys informed ANL that he was not a co-author, the writer “swiftly recognised the influence of the knowledge in that letter upon a part of its copyright defence… and indicated that it will not oppose abstract judgment”, Mr Caldecott mentioned.

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