Feeds

British newspaper websites liable in France for privacy invasion

Court fines Mirror Group and Associated Newspapers

The Power of One Brief: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

Two British newspaper publishers have been fined in French courts because they violated French privacy laws. The publishers were liable because the articles were viewed in France on the internet.

Olivier Martinez, famous in the UK as an ex-boyfriend of Kylie Minogue, sued Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) and Associated Newspapers for breach of France's strict privacy laws after the newspapers published stories suggesting Martinez and Minogue had recommenced their relationship, which had ended a year previously. The stories also detailed their movements together in Paris earlier this year.

MGN was sued because of an article at sundaymirror.co.uk, while Associated was sued over articles at dailymail.co.uk and thisislondon.co.uk. For each title the publishers were ordered to pay €4,500.

The Tribunal De Grande Instance De Paris rejected claims that it did not have the right to hear the case. It had jurisdiction because the online versions of the articles were viewable in France, it found.

Though he was only awarded €4,500 per publication, Martinez had claimed €30,000 in total in a series of privacy cases about articles making the same allegations.

His lawyer, Emmanuel Asmar, told OUT-LAW.COM that French courts usually ordered small payouts. The significance of the case was not financial, he said, but in the setting of a precedent that UK publications could be liable under French privacy legislation.

"The big thing is that for the first time the [court] considered that UK publishers are liable for their contents in France since it is viewable here and the UK is a member of the EU," he said.

A related case from earlier this year was notable because it held one publisher responsible for material published on its site by another publisher via an RSS syndication feed.

That case was also taken by Asmar but on behalf of La Vie En Rose director Olivier Dahan. He successfully sued three websites for publishing stories about him and actress Sharon Stone via an RSS feed.

"[The RSS] link provides the link plus a short summary of some content," Asmar told OUT-LAW Radio last month. "We won the judgment. We won first on the original author of the information and secondly on the link. They were sentenced because they published the link."

Martinez also won in a case against three websites earlier this year when a court ruled that by publishing a link to offending material the blogs were liable for the privacy invasions of that material.

Copyright © 2008, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

More from The Register

next story
Adam Afriyie MP: Smart meters are NOT so smart
Mega-costly gas 'n' 'leccy totting-up tech not worth it - Tory MP
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION
Environmental activist walks free after hoax sent share price over a cliff
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.