News Group Newspapers Ltd v Douglass Consultancy Services Ltd

Reference: 15/10/2004

Court: Chancery Division

Judge: HHJ Norris QC

Date of judgment: 15 Oct 2004


Copyright - Photographs - Website - Interim Injunction

Instructing Solicitors: Legal Department, News Group Newspapers for the Claimant; the Defendant represented itself.


The Defendant operated a website on which it published pictures of celebrities. The photographs were taken from various other publications without authorisation: the Defendant admitted that it made its income by publishing other people’s pictures. News Group alleged that it owned the copyright in a number of the pictures. The Defendant had undertaken to remove all of the pictures in which News Group owned the copyright, but had failed to do so. News Group consequently applied for an interim injunction.


Whether News Group was entitled to an interim injunction.


Granting the application, News Group had a strong case and were entitled to the relief sought. The Defendant did not appear to be able to pay substantial damages, and to remove the relevant images would not have a significant impact on the content of the website.


Just about anything placed on the internet can be very easily copied by anyone who so desires. Accordingly copyright owners who allow their material to reach the medium need to be alert to unauthorised use on unconnected websites. Surprisingly, the Defendant in this case admitted that much of its website was made up of such stolen material. In such circumstances it is unsurprising that the court had little difficulty in granting the injunction sought.