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September 20, 2012

Royal pics legal fight centres on hunt for photographer

By Dominic Ponsford

French police are now focusing their efforts on finding out the identity of the photographer who took the Duchess of Cambridge topless pics after yesterday attending the offices of Closer magazine in France.

As the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge today returned from a nine-day tour of South East Asia a Danish magazine, Se & Hoer, was planning to publish 60 of the covertly taken photos of the Duchess sunbathing topless at private villa in France. Another Swedish magazine is set to publish them.

Yesterday a French court granted an injunction banning Closer from further publication or sale off the pictures.

But it now appears that the copyright on the photos is retained by the unknown photographer, or photographers, who apparently took the photos from up to a mile away from the villa on a public road using a long-lens.

The Royals are awaiting a decision from French criminal prosecutors about whether they will be pursuing charges against the photographer.

Any civil action to regain control of the photos will also need to centre on the copyright holder.

The royal couple are understood to be considering a variety of legal measures to prevent further distribution of the topless photos.

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A St James's Palace source said: "We are aware of the plans of a Danish magazine to publish further images. All options are under consideration at the moment."

A French court ordered police to obtain information on Closer staff after the royal couple filed the criminal complaint on Monday.

Yesterday morning at 10am five French police officers attended the Closer offices to request further information about the source of the photos.

But yesterday afternoon Marie-Christine Daubigney, assistant prosecutor for the Nanterre court, outside Paris, denied that the incident was a "raid" of the Closer officers. She said she has instructed police to get the names of some Closer employees, including the journalist who wrote the article.

She said she has not told police to find the photographer who took the pictures because that will be part of a later investigation.

Daubigney denied as "completely untrue" French media reports that police raided Closer magazine headquarters.

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