Magazines brief briefs over FA's briefs bid

Beckham earlier posing for Homme

Heat and Closer defended the publication of the controversial pictures of David Beckham in his pants this week claiming the photos were already in the public domain.

Both titles ran the pictures on the front page with additional picture spreads inside. Closer took it one step further and published one photo in the style of a badge which readers could cut out and wear.

The magazines’ publisher, Emap, defended its position despite an early legal threat and the FA’s decision to complain to the Press Complaints Commission.

“Heat and Closer chose to publish those photographs because they were already in the public domain. The FA’s letter last week was received after the pictures had appeared in the public domain. We spoke to the FA’s lawyers on Monday to understand our legal position prior to going on sale and we heard nothing,” a spokeswoman said.

Heat and Closer are understood to have consulted their lawyers for advice who then gave the FA a deadline of Monday lunchtime to respond with an injunction. They decided to go ahead and publish when there was no response.

A source said: “We have quite an upanddown relationship with the Beckhams.We need them as much as they need us. He didn’t mind appearing on the cover of Arena Homme Plus in his underpants in 2000.”

The move has shocked other celebrity titles, who decided against the pictures. Now editor Jane Ennis told Press Gazette: “I knew as soon as I saw the pictures that they were taken from a long distance in a private area.

I didn’t even try for them because I knew they were breaking all the rules.

The guy obviously had a reasonable expectation of privacy so I didn’t get involved in the bidding.”

Now also received the warning from the FA’s lawyers. The letter is understood to have said the England captain had “a reasonable expectation” of privacy on his hotel balcony.

“We all agreed that we won’t do this stuff. There are lots of grey areas but I didn’t think with this one it was too difficult to make the call,” said Ennis.

By Ruth Addicott

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