Dacre argued that to lose control of the front page could never be countenanced. He would not be directed by any press regulator to give over any part of it to admitting his paper had got it wrong. He will be spitting tacks this morning at the news that the MoS, where he is still, nominally at least, managing editor, has indeed lost control of its front page, and as a result of a legal action brought by one of its favourite hate figures.
The BBC has put it directly: “Mail on Sunday must publish front page statement of Meghan copyright win”. Press Gazette had even worse news for the MoS: “The statement font size should be no smaller than the front page headline ‘Meghan’s shattering letter to her father’ published on 10 February 2019, the judge ordered”. The front page statement will refer to a longer statement that the MoS must publish inside the paper.
This is not a time for levity ... er, Bwahahahaha!
Warby LJ observed “The defendant devoted a very considerable amount of space to the infringing articles, which it continued to publish for over two years. It has devoted a very considerable number of further column inches, and many hundreds if not thousands of words, to coverage of earlier stages of this litigation and commentary upon them. The wording sought is modest by comparison, and factual in nature”. OUCH!
The statement must 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 Mail Online. 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”.
And the MoS has no control over the wording. It must give over part of its front page, and part of an inside page, as ordered by Warby LJ. This is almost unprecedented: the only comparable recent occasion is when the Express and Daily Star titles published prominent front page apologies to Kate and Gerry McCann after wilfully and repeatedly libelling them over the disappearance of their daughter Madeleine, as a condition of claim settlement.
Famous last words, take 94
The odious flannelled fool Master Harry Cole, still pretending to be a real journalist, paid tribute to MoS editor Ted Verity recently over the latter’s unwavering determination to publish what he wanted and when, by saying Verity had “balls of steel”. The Duchess of Sussex just had those balls melted down and sent to the scrapper.
Press regulation campaigners will be raising maybe more than one glass to Megs after the Mail on Sunday’s abject and total humiliation. So will all the victims of press misbehaviour over the years. So should all of us. Because this victory benefits everyone.
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