An interview given by Jade Goody as she lay dying from cancer is at the centre of a legal row between the publishers of OK! magazine and the Daily Mirror.
Richard Desmond’s Northern & Shell, which owns OK!, has accused Mirror Group Newspapers, publisher of the Mirror, of infringing its copyright by using a ‘substantial part’of an interview given to the magazine by the deceased TV star.
Northern & Shell launched its legal bid over publication of a front page story which appeared in the Mirror on 9 March last year, headlined: ‘I’m scared to fall asleep”.
Desmond’s company argues the Mirror story infringed its copyright and even included a statement that it was sourced from an issue of OK! magazine published the previous day.
According to a writ filed at the High Court, OK! had entered into a contract with Goody a month prior her death on 22 March last year, giving it the right to interview and photograph her and her family.
Journalist Christian Guiltenane interviewed Goody between 20 February and 7 March and also emailed questions to her agent Mark Thomas, who replied giving answers on Goody’s behalf, then used this material as the basis of his OK! article.
Northern & Shell argues the Mirror’s inclusion in its story of the statement attributing OK! magazine as its source suggested it knew its actions ‘amounted to copyright infringement”.
Northern & Shell says it wrote to MGN on 11 March 2009 setting out its claim of infringement, but that the story continued to appear on Mirror.co.uk for six months.
According to the writ, MGN is accused of acting in ‘flagrant disregard of Northern & Shell’s rights, entitling the publisher to additional damages”.
Northern & Shell is demanding an inquiry into damages and an order for payment of all sums found due.