MGN, Associated agree damages over lifted picture

MGN and Associated Newspapers have settled their dispute over a lifted picture of Edwina Currie and John and Norma Major for considerably less than the original demand for damages.

But both are still disputing some details of the settlement.

MGN had issued a writ for up to £50,000 in damages after it claimed the Daily Mail had lifted the picture from the Sunday Mirror and Daily Mirror, obtained exclusively from picture agency Ewing Reiss in September.  The Mail had compounded the offence in MGN’s eyes by colouring the picture.

MGN lawyer Marcus Partington told Press Gazette in November that it was "the most disgraceful infringement of copyright" he had seen in his time as a newspaper lawyer.

But in the settlement, Associated said that under a court order, it settled with MGN for only £2,000, a sum it had offered at the outset but which MGN had turned down. The photographer, Mark Ewing, was subsequently added to the writ and Associated paid him £4,500.

Associated lawyer Harvey Kass said: "We’re reasonably satisfied that we paid the Mirror 96 per cent less than they claimed in their writ."

But Partington claimed: "Associated Newspapers are paying £6,500 in damages, all of which is going to the Mirror. Although they have not explained how a black and white photograph which they didn’t have the right to use appeared in the Daily Mail in colour, they have undertaken not to use the picture again.

"It is incorrect that the Mail are paying the Mirror what they originally offered."

He said Associated must also pay the legal costs, but Associated says these will be disputed.

By Jean Morgan

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