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Last Updated: Friday, 16 January, 2004, 11:50 GMT
Hello! appeals on Zeta Jones case
Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas before their wedding in New York in 2000
Zeta Jones and Douglas married
Hello! magazine has won leave to appeal over damages for publishing wedding pictures of Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas.

Hollywood stars Zeta Jones and Douglas had signed an exclusive 1m photo deal with rival magazine OK! to publish photos of their 2000 wedding.

In April the High Court ordered Hello! to pay more than 1m damages, after it published six unauthorised shots.

Hello! is disputing whether it should pay damages to the magazine or stars.

Lawyer for Hello! Chris Hutchings told BBC News Online the magazine was appealing initially over whether it should be liable to pay damages.

Only 15,000 copies of the magazine, featuring paparazzi shots, went on sale before OK!'s publication, he said.

In April Mr Justice Lindsay ruled Hello!'s pictures had been a breach of commercial confidence.

'Public arena'

He ordered it to pay 1,033,156 to OK!, and a further 14,500 in damages to the Hollywood couple.

Mr Hutchings said: "The real question here is whether one magazine still has an exclusive after they have published, because the material is now in the public arena.

"What we are saying is beyond that, the six fuzzy pictures Hello! had contained exactly the same information as the hundreds of pictures in OK!, just that they were poorer quality."

Mr Hutchings said there was "nothing confidential" once the OK! story was published, and that allowing a publisher to have continuing exclusivity on a story in the public domain had "serious implications".

If Hello! was unsuccessful in this appeal, Mr Hutchings said, it would appeal over the amount of damages it has been ordered to pay OK! He said the magazine wanted the amount "massively reduced".

He said Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones had also appealed over two aspects of the case.

They had wanted to bring Hello! contributor Marquesa De Varela back in to court, but Mr Lindsay refused.

The couple has been given leave of appeal over privacy issues. In the original case, the actors said Hello!'s publication of photographs was an invasion of their privacy but the claims were not upheld.

The couple were only awarded 14,500 in damages for breach of confidence.

The appeal is expected to take place later this year.

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11 Apr 03  |  Entertainment
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11 Apr 03  |  Entertainment

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