It’s not only royalty that can sue for copyright

Posted by Nicola Webster


Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, is in the headlines again this week as she pursues legal proceedings against the Mail on Sunday after the newspaper published a private letter she had sent to her estranged father.

The firm representing the Duchess has issued proceedings against the paper (and its parent company) for misuse of private information, infringement of copyright and breach of the Data Protection Act 2018.

However, the publication of malicious material online and in the press is not just a problem for royalty or simply the rich and famous.  Whilst not all stories make the headlines of the Mail on Sunday, the publication of malicious material in the local press, on social media or on comparison websites such as “Checkatrade”, is nonetheless a serious threat to businesses and organisations.

Someone has reproduced our material – what can I do?

Copying material generated by others, without their permission to do so, may be an infringement of copyright, under the Copyright, Designs and Patens Act 1988 (“the Act”).

It is not only handwritten letters or other written material that attracts copyright protection, but original sound recordings, dramatic or literary or artist works can all be protected too.

If the work is protected under the Act, then copying, publishing copies to the public, lending copies to the public, performing, showing, or playing the work may all amount to infringement of copyright in respect of which you may be able to legal action against the infringer.

Someone has written derogatory statements about my business – what can I do?

With technological advances, the reputation and presence of businesses and organisations online is an important marketing tool and therefore negative comments on social media and comparison websites can be very damaging to a business or organisation.

If someone publishes a negative comment about your business or organisation that is untrue, you may be able to take legal action against them for defamation.

Our Dispute Resolution Team offers practical advice to businesses and organisations including advice in relation to breach of copyright or other intellectual property rights and defamation.

If you would like more information or, you would like to discuss a specific dispute, please contact Nicola Webster on 01227 763939.

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