Two weeks ago, French tabloid Closer published photos of Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton taking the sun on the terrasse of a Chateau in Provence this summer, including pictures of the latter appearing topless.
The Royal couple has since then initiated proceedings in France, both civil and criminal against the publisher of the tabloid. A French court has issued an injunction ordering the publisher to hand over all digital forms of the pictures and enjoining it from assigning them to any third party. However, pictures had already circulated and were published in Italy and Ireland. They have now been offered to Scandinavian tabloids which have announced that they will soon publish them. A Danish newspaper has announced a 16-page “topless Kate” supplement.
What does this case reveal about the private international law of privacy in Europe? Was the Duchess of Cambridge appropriately protected? Will she have to sue separately publishers in all European jurisdictions where the publication will occur? Should she have access to a global injunction allowing her to litigate in one single forum? At a time when the European lawmaker is considering adopting a European choice of law rule for violations of privacy and rights relating to personality, what does this case teach us?
In the days to come, several scholars will comment and share their views on the implications of the case.