The MoS, under the less than totally competent editorship of Ted Verity, infringed the copyright of the Duchess of Sussex. She sued. She won. The MoS appealed. They lost. But to hear the tirade of whining victimhood this morning, one might think that the dastardly judges had somehow ganged up on the poor, defenceless press. They hadn’t.
That did not stop the increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph becoming highly economical with the actualité as they claimed “A FORMER Culture Secretary said it is a ‘matter of grave concern’ that judges are creating far-reaching privacy laws without Parliamentary scrutiny in the wake of the Duchess of Sussex’s legal victory over the Mail on Sunday”. Their source? John Whttingdale. I kid you not.
This is, let us not drive this one round the houses for too long, a flat-out pack of lies. Judges do not create laws, and so in this case they have not. One interesting detail from the report, though, is to reveal that the MoS is considering taking its petulant mardy strop to the Supreme Court. Where it will lose once more.
No, no new laws are being enacted ...
Meanwhile, the Murdoch Times, which long ago ceased to be a paper of record, has claimed “The Duchess of Sussex’s legal victory over a tabloid newspaper ‘moves the goal posts’ to tighten privacy laws, experts have said”. Except no law has been tightened: it was an open and shut infringement of the Duchess’ copyright.
... no-one is moving the goalposts ...
And, for those who whine endlessly about the MoS and Daily Mail being totally separate entities, the latter has shown that they aren’t, with today’s banner headline thundering “If Meghan really wanted to fight for the truth, she would come to court. And, in a land of liberty, Judges who are not awed by Royalty and cherish a free press would allow a trial”. So speaks Stephen “miserable git” Glover. Who is also full of crap.
... and there is no trial, as there is nothing to try
Why so? Over to Prof Brian Cathcart: “The Mail's tactic in the [Meghan] case was always to pretend, in public, that it was the Duchess who was on trial. She never was. It was the Mail that was required to defend what it had done, and it simply could not … It used to be a key test in British journalism: do you know your law? Mistakes in law, we were told, were usually sackable offences because so much was at stake. Here we have an editor, Ted Verity, who has screwed up on the law spectacularly - and he has been promoted”.
As to the MoS hankering after a trial, “On copyright: ‘Nothing advanced by Mr Speck [counsel for the Mail] suggested that there was any triable issue that would look different after a trial’ … 'The contents of the letter were private when it was written and when it was published, even if the claimant, it now appears, realised that her father might leak its contents to the media’”. Straightforward copyright abuse. So why the protests?
As well. This Tweet from Byline Investigates may shine some light on that one: “Another consequence of today’s judgment is that the Mail on Sunday should now have to publish prominently on its front page and on page three statements acknowledging that it infringed the Duchess’s copyright”. The MoS being forced to give over part of its front page to rather more than one of those “corrections”. They’ll do everything - anything - to prevent that.
The “trial” canard is mere deflection: there is nothing to try. No aspect of the case is open to question. All we have is an entitled media class that believes itself to be rather further above the law than everyone else, but discovering that the law applies to them, just as it does to the little people. Which brings us to the Duchess’ personal statement.
“This is a victory not just for me, but for anyone who has ever felt scared to stand up for what’s right. While this win is precedent setting, what matters most is that we are collectively brave enough to reshape a tabloid industry that conditions people to be cruel, and profits from the lies and pain that they create”. There was more.
“From day one, I have treated this lawsuit as an important measure of right versus wrong. The defendant has treated it as a game with no rules … Today, the courts ruled in my favour - again - cementing that the Mail on Sunday … has broken the law … as far removed as it may seem from your personal life, it’s not. Tomorrow it could be you”.
All those victims of press abuse - and there are many of them who could not afford to go to law in order to clear their names - will be quietly nodding along with the Duchess’ words. What the press is protesting about today is that they believe they should be able to break the law and get away with it. They can’t. For that we owe Meghan a debt of gratitude.
The MoS and its little Wild West Show has run out of road. Just rejoice at that news.
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