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Law lords to rule in OK! vs Hello! case

From correspondents in London

May 02, 2007 08:39am

Article from: AAP

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ENGLAND'S top court is due to give a final ruling today in the long-running case between celebrity magazines OK! and Hello! over pictures from the 2000 wedding of stars Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones.

OK!, which had an exclusive deal with the Hollywood couple to cover their marriage, won a 2003 court case against Hello! after it published unauthorised "spoiler" pictures taken by an undercover paparazzo.

But Hello! won an appeal in 2005, and OK! has taken the case to the House of Lords for a final ruling. The law lords are expected to hand down a written judgment today.

Millions of pounds in legal fees are at stake and media lawyers are watching the verdict closely to see whether it helps clarify how far celebrities can control their image and privacy.

When it won the initial case, OK! was awarded damages of £1 million ($2.4 million), the amount it paid the couple for rights to images from the wedding.

Were OK! to win the case, Hello! is likely to argue that it is tantamount to giving celebrities "image rights", allowing them to control what images of them are published, something not recognised in English law.

At the original trial in 2003, Zeta Jones said she felt violated by the unauthorised pictures published in Hello!, calling them "sleazy" and "unflattering".

The couple did not take part in the House of Lords hearings.

 

Zeta Jones / AFP
Mag stoush ... Britain's law lords will give a final ruling in the long-running case between celebrity magazines OK! and Hello! over pictures from the wedding of stars Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones / AFP


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