Kate Middleton Won Topless Picture Lawsuit in France

The Telegraph reported that:

A French court has ordered Closer magazine in France to pay €100,000 (£91,700) in civil damages and a further €90,000 in fines for publishing topless pictures of the Duchess of Cambridge while on holiday in Provence in 2012.

The civil damages were far lower than the €1.5 million that the Duke and Duchess had asked for but their lawyer, Jean Veil, said that they were “twice as high as normal in such a case”.

Closer magazine and its editor, Laurence Pieau, and publisher, Ernesto Mauri, were penalised for circulating pictures of Kate Middleton on vacation in 2012 in the Provence region of France. The pictures, taken using a long lens, showed Kate tanning at a beach house without a bathing suit top on. She was also photographed putting sunscreen on her husband, Prince William.

The paparazzi that caught the royal couple on film first tried to sell the pictures to British outlets but were turned down. Then they took the photos to Closer, which in teasers promised to reveal “the future Queen of England such as you have never seen her…and such that you will never see her again!” Closer published the images with the headline, “Seulement dans Closer: Kate et William, leurs vacances tres hot en Provence” (“Only in Closer: Kate and William, their very hot holidays in Provence”).

Source: NewsWeek

The palace was furious, issuing a statement saying the magazine and photographer had “invaded their privacy in such a grotesque and totally unjustifiable manner.” It also compared the situation to the death of Princess Diana, William’s mother. She died in a car crash 20 years ago while being chased by paparazzi in Paris. Then William and Kate filed a lawsuit.

Source: Huffington Post

The outcome of the lawsuit is positive and this should serve as a reminder to media to respect the privacy of individuals and their right to keep their private affairs, private.

However, we could not stop but wonder whether the penalty itself is high enough to deter medias from infringing public figures’ and celebrities’ privacy. This is because the publications may be able to recuperate whatever fines and damages they need to pay through advertisements and sale of the publication containing the infringing article.

After all, whether an article is published would entail a risk vs reward analysis and if the reward is way higher than the risks, then this French court’s judgment will not deter the media from publishing such infringing articles in the future. They may merely demand higher advertisement fees as a result.