Payout for News Group in web battle over celeb pics

News Group, publisher of the News of the World and The Sun, has been awarded more than £30,000 in damages and more than £40,000 in costs in its battle with the owners of a celebrity website which uses photographs lifted from its publications.

The damages and costs were awarded against Robert and Judy Douglass, who own and operate a website called Robbs Celebs, which offers a mix of celebrity pictures and videos and pornography.

The costs were awarded on an indemnity basis, because the damages awarded against Mr and Mrs Douglass were higher than an earlier offer of settlement made by the publishing group.

The awards came after a High Court hearing in which News Group alleged that Mr and Mrs Douglass had breached copyright in a large number of its photographs.

Lawyers for News Group, which was being advised on the action by solicitor Adam Glass, who worked for the company until leaving to set up his own legal practice, are now investigating ways of recouping the damages and the costs.

It is understood that during the course of the litigation, Mr and Mrs Douglass changed the name of the company which runs the Robbs Celebs website.

They are believed to be claiming that the original company which ran the website had folded, and that their own firm, Douglass Consultancy, does not have the money to pay the damages or costs.

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