Meghan Markle has won a big legal battle against Associated Newspapers over privacy and copyright infringement.
On Thursday (February 11), the Duchess of Sussex issued a statement after winning her claim against the Mail on Sunday’s publishers, who published five articles in February 2019 that reproduced parts of the handwritten letter she sent her father, Thomas Markle, following her royal wedding to Prince Harry in May 2018.
"These tactics (and those of their sister publications MailOnline and the Daily Mail) are not new; in fact, they've been going on for far too long without consequence," Markle said in her written statement, according to PEOPLE. "For these outlets, it's a game. For me and so many others, it's real life, real relationships, and very real sadness. The damage they have done and continue to do runs deep.”
She added, "The world needs reliable, fact-checked, high-quality news. What The Mail on Sunday and its partner publications do is the opposite. We all lose when misinformation sells more than truth, when moral exploitation sells more than decency, and when companies create their business model to profit from people's pain.
"But for today, with this comprehensive win on both privacy and copyright, we have all won. We now know, and hope it creates legal precedent, that you cannot take somebody's privacy and exploit it in a privacy case, as the defendant has blatantly done over the past two years.
"I share this victory with each of you—because we all deserve justice and truth, and we all deserve better.”
Judge Mark Warby ruled that Markle "had a reasonable expectation that the contents of the letter would remain private. The Mail articles interfered with that reasonable expectation."
Additionally, Judge Warby determined the publication infringed on the copyright in the letter and left open only the question of whether Markle was the sole owner of the copyright or might have been a co-author.
On March 2, a hearing to decide the outstanding matters raised in Thursday's judgment will take place. Judge Warby indicated that the open copyright question will mostly impact the size of the monetary damages Markle will receive. The addressing of alleged data privacy violations, a third part of the case, has not yet been addressed.
"At worst, therefore, the claimant is a co-author of a work of joint authorship, and entitled to relief for infringement of her share in the copyright," Warby said in a statement Thursday. "There is no room for doubt that the defendant's conduct involved an infringement of copyright in the Electronic Draft of which the claimant was the owner or, at worst, a co-owner."
In April of last year, the Duchess of Sussex sued Associated Newspapers, the owner of the Daily Mail, for publishing parts of an emotional handwritten letter she wrote to her father, Thomas Markle, in August of 2018 – just three months after he decided not to walk her down the aisle at her wedding to Prince Harry.
During a pre-trial hearing at London’s High Court, Meghan’s attorneys said she was “deeply shocked and upset” by the newspaper’s reporting, which “intended to portray her in a false and damaging light.” She also accused the publication of “harassing” her father.
Meghan and Harry listened to the hearing from their new Los Angeles home. The High Court was also told that Associated Newspapers had an “obvious agenda” to “Intrusive or offensive stories” about her.
Also during the hearing, Markle’s legal team argued that the Mail had been the primary cause of the breakdown of the relationship between Meghan and Thomas. They claim the publication was responsible for “harassing” Thomas and “exposing him to the world as a royal scammer” after they reported he had staged the infamous paparazzi photographs.