10 November 2021Copyright

Mail on Sunday launches appeal against Markle ruling

Yesterday, November 9, lawyers for the Mail on Sunday argued that a personal letter at the centre of Meghan Markle’s privacy and copyright case against the UK newspaper had been written “with publication in mind.”

It follows an English High Court ruling on March 5, 2021, which found that the newspaper had breached Markle’s copyright and invaded her privacy by publishing parts of the text of a letter to her father. That ruling, delivered by Lord Justice Welby, also refused leave to appeal, though the English Court of Appeal took a different view.

Associated Newspapers, the company behind the Mail on Sunday, will argue that new evidence from Markle’s former communications secretary, Jason Knauf, suggests she thought it was likely the letter to her father, Thomas Markle, would eventually be published, and wrote it with that in mind.

Knauf was mentioned in the High Court case too, when Associated Newspapers argued that he co-authored Markle’s letter and that it was therefore covered by Crown copyright, meaning Markle could not sue.

But the court rejected this notion, concluding: “It is not possible to envisage a court concluding that Mr Knauf’s contribution to the work as a whole was more than modest. The suggestion that his contribution generated a separate copyright, as opposed to a joint one is, in my judgment at the very outer margins of what is realistic.”

The appeal, which will be streamed live, is scheduled to last three days, concluding tomorrow, 11 November.

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More on this story

12 February 2021   Meghan Markle has won her privacy and copyright infringement case against the Mail on Sunday, which published extracts of a letter she wrote to her father.
8 March 2021   The Mail on Sunday must publish a front-page statement acknowledging a court judgment finding it infringed Meghan Markle’s copyright and violated her privacy.