Murdoch sues ITV and ITN over Princess of Wales farm shop video

A man reads a copy of The Sun newspaper in central London
The Sun obtained exclusive rights to use footage of the Princess that was taken amid frenzied speculation about her well-being - Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
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Rupert Murdoch is suing ITV and ITN for using a video released by The Sun of the Princess of Wales at a farm shop in Windsor.

Mr Murdoch’s News Group Newspapers (NGN), which publishes the tabloid title, has filed an intellectual property claim against ITV and ITN, which produces ITV News programmes.

The claim is understood to relate to footage of the Prince and Princess of Wales at a farm shop in Windsor in March.

The footage, which was obtained exclusively by The Sun, was the first time the Princess had been seen since undergoing major abdominal surgery at a London hospital in January. The Princess has since revealed that she has been diagnosed with cancer.

The Sun is thought to be seeking a five-figure sum in compensation for alleged copyright breach after ITV News used the clip in its own coverage.

A spokesman for ITV said the channel would “strongly resist” the claim and defend itself. NGN declined to comment. ITN declined to comment.

The video, filmed by a member of the public through his car window, shows the 42-year old royal wearing a hoodie and leggings carrying shopping bags through the car park of Windsor Farm Shop.

She is accompanied by the Prince of Wales, who is also dressed down in a beige baseball cap.

The video was released amid frenzied speculation about the health of the Princess, who stayed out of the public eye while recovering from surgery.

The situation reached fever pitch after she admitted to photoshopping a photo with her children that was released to mark Mothering Sunday.

The footage itself stirred up online rumours and conspiracy theories, including accusations that it had been taken before Christmas or even that it was faked using artificial intelligence (AI) or a body double.

Speculation was brought to an end in late March when the Princess announced she was undergoing a course of preventive chemotherapy but said: “I am going to be OK.”

She said she had been focused on sharing the diagnosis with her three young children and wanted to give the family time to process the news in private.

The decision to launch legal action marks a rare foray into the courts for a news publisher over claims of copyright infringement.

News organisations often use their rivals’ work under the fair dealing copyright exemption, which affords legal protection if the material is used for the reporting of current events and there is sufficient attribution to the original owner.

However, use can be deemed unfair if it causes the owner to lose revenues or if the amount of the original material taken is considered to be unreasonable or inappropriate.

The video used during ITV’s news coverage featured a watermark from The Sun and the channel also credited the footage to the newspaper.

NGN may argue that the broadcaster used too much of the footage, which ran almost in its entirety.

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