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Douglas V. Hello! Ltd. Notes

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This is an extract of our Douglas V. Hello! Ltd. document, which we sell as part of our Commercial Remedies BCL Notes collection written by the top tier of Oxford students.

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DOUGLAS V. HELLO! LTD. FACTS On 18 November 2000, Mr Douglas and Ms Zeta-Jones, who were and are very well known film stars, were married at the Plaza Hotel, New York. As soon as the couple's engagement was announced in early 2000, there was intense interest in this event from certain sections of the media; in particular, from the publishers of "OK!" and "Hello!" magazines. The Douglases decided, with a view to reducing what Ms ZetaJones called "the media frenzy", that they would grant that right to one publisher. According to Mr Douglas, they regarded this course as "the best way to control the media and to protect our privacy". After some negotiations, they entered into a contract with OK! ("the OK! contract") on 10 November, eight days before the wedding. By clause 6, the Douglases were to hire a photographer at their own expense "to take colour photographs of the wedding ('the photographs')". They also agreed to "use their best efforts to ensure that no other media... shall be permitted access to the wedding, and that no guests or anyone present at the wedding ... shall be allowed to take photographs". The guests began arriving at the hotel at about 7.30 in the evening of 18 November. There were speeches, entertainers, music, and dancing. The cake was cut at midnight, and the reception ended around 5.30 on the morning of 19 November. Although the event appeared to have been an unqualified success, it transpired that a paparazzo, Mr Rupert Thorpe, had infiltrated the reception, and surreptitiously taken photographs, including some of the bride and groom (together and separately). How this happened has still not been explained, at least in these proceedings. Mr Ramey immediately approached potential purchasers, including Hello! Negotiations between Mr Ramey, in California, and Ms Sue Neal, then employed by Hello! as a picture editor in London, were quickly concluded. At some point during 19 November, with the authority of her superiors in Madrid, Ms Neal agreed to pay
PS125,000 for the exclusive right to publish the unauthorised photographs in "Hello!" magazine in the UK, and in its sister publications in Spain and in France. The judge had little difficulty in concluding that both Mr Ramey and Hello! would, or at least ought to, have known of the OK! contract, and of the sort of terms it would have included (in particular, with regard to exclusivity), as well as of the elaborate security procedures to prevent intrusion and unauthorised photography at the reception. The staff of "Hello!" magazine then started to prepare for the next edition on the basis that it would include the unauthorised

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