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Hello! magazine wins Zeta-Jones, Douglas appeal


May 18, 2005 — By Matthew Jones

LONDON (Reuters) - Hello! magazine has won an appeal against a ruling that it should pay rival OK! more than 1 million pounds ($1.84 million) for publishing unauthorized photographs of the wedding of film stars Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas.

Master of the Rolls, Lord Philips, ruled Wednesday that Hello!'s publication of the photographs had not breached OK!'s commercial rights.

Philips also dismissed an appeal by the celebrity couple for an increase in the 14,600 pounds ($26,800) damages they were awarded in 2003 by the High Court for distress and breach of privacy.

Hello! printed the surreptitious pictures of the pair's November 2000 marriage while official shots appeared in OK!, which had signed a one million pound deal with the couple.

OK! had sued Hello! for publishing the spoiler photos and won its case in the High Court.

Hello! was ordered to pay one million pounds in damages and its rival's legal costs — estimated to be up to 2 million pounds.

But Wednesday Philips said OK!'s claims on the basis of economic wrongs had not been made out.

A Hello! legal team source told Reuters the magazine was pleased with the outcome.

"The Douglases have secured a hollow victory, which is far from having their cake and eating it," he said.

During the initial court case, at which the showbiz couple gave evidence, Zeta-Jones said she considered the Hello! pictures "sleazy" and unflattering.

British newspapers revelled in mocking Zeta-Jones's complaints that the unauthorized photos were unflattering because they showed her while eating.

One headline called the Oscar winner "Catherine Eater-Jones."

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