A Star Is Born

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Sara Ludlam, a partner in our IP and Commercial team, was invited to be interviewed live on Sky News on Wednesday 15 January 2020 by Colin Brazier because of her expertise in the laws of copyright, privacy and data protection. 

Colin focuses on live coverage of developing news as the day gets underway.  The news that required legal expertise was that of the claims by the Duchess of Sussex in the English High Court against the Mail on Sunday (‘Mail’) that when they published a letter she had written to her father, they had:

(i)              infringed her copyright

(ii)            breached her right to privacy (further to Article 8 of the EU Convention on Human Rights the paper must respect her private and family life, home and correspondence)

(iii)           breached the General Data Protection Regulations.

While this claim was issued in 2019 the latest developments in the news this week related to the potential appearance by the Duchess of Sussex’s father to give evidence.  Although Sara thought this would therefore be one of the issues in discussion in fact she ended up speaking about:

  • the fact that this case was not unique as Prince Charles brought a similar claim against the Mail in 1997 when they published extracts of his personal diaries and was successful
  • the chances of the case settling (high based on the fact that the Duchess has a good chance of winning following case law, including Prince Charles’ successful claim against the Mail in 1997 and the case on privacy by Naomi Campbell which was eventually found in her favour and the GDPR issue as below)
  • the fact that the inclusion of a claim for breach of GDPR meant if the Mail loses they will not just be paying costs and damages but also a fine of up to 20 million euros or 4% of their global turnover.  (Sara can get the GDPR into just about any conversation!) (The Duchess has said that any award for damages will be given to charity)
  • the fact that the person who writes a letter owns the copyright in it (and not the person who receives it)

The full interview is available above.