Madonna today accepted substantial undisclosed damages for privacy and infringement of copyright over the Mail on Sunday‘s publication of ‘purloined’ photos of her wedding to Guy Ritchie.
The singer, who has just completed her Sticky & Sweet world tour, was not at London’s High Court for the settlement of her action against Associated Newspapers.
Her solicitor, John Kelly, told Mr Justice Peter Smith that she would be donating the damages to her Raising Malawi charity.
Kelly said that the star went to great pains to ensure that the December 2000 wedding was wholly private.
But, in 2003, an interior designer, who was working on her home in Beverly Hills, surreptitiously copied at least 27 photos from the wedding album and provided them to Bonnie Robinson who, in June 2008, offered to sell them to the Mail on Sunday.
Kelly said that the newspaper did not purchase them at that time but waited until October 2008, when Madonna had announced that she was divorcing and there was huge media interest about her marriage, to purchase the purloined photos.
Just three days after she had announced her divorce – and without any warning to Madonna – it published 10 of the photos.
Associated Newspapers’ solicitor, Niri Shan, said that it accepted that it was wrong to act in this way and offered its sincere apologies to Madonna and her family for invading her privacy and infringing her copyright.
Kelly said that, even though she could have done, Madonna did not sell her wedding photos to the media.
“It was far more important to the claimant that the privacy of the occasion was maintained.”
Until the newspaper’s actions, no photos of the wedding had ever been published anywhere in the world.
The only photos taken at the event were by Madonna’s friend, Jean-Baptiste Mondino, and her favourites were put in the album kept securely at her home.
Kelly said that if any warning had been provided to Madonna, she would have sought and obtained an injunction preventing publication but, as she was denied this opportunity, they were quickly republished throughout the world.
He added that Associated Newspapers admitted liability for breaching Madonna’s privacy and copyright infringement.
It has destroyed all copies of the infringing photographs in its possession and agreed to pay the singer damages and her legal costs.