Paparazzi Agency 'Splash' Files for Bankruptcy after Meghan & Harry's Privacy Legal Battles
According to the Hollywood Reporter, a paparazzi publication has filed for bankruptcy following a legal battle on privacy case with the Duchess of Sussex.
Splash News & Picture Agency is also known for suing celebrities for posting photos of themselves on social media. According to the outlet, the agency has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
The fact that celebrities have been indoors most of the time because of the pandemic is also a factor in the agency losing out on business. Splash reportedly defaulted on a loan now worth nearly $1 million and is seeking the protection of a Nevada bankruptcy court.
Meghan Markle attends The Endeavour Fund Awards at Mansion House on March 5, 2020 in London, England | Photo: Getty Images
The Splash president Emma Curzon released a declaration stating that the agency’s financial problems stem from three sources. She added that because of the ongoing pandemic, the availability of public figures’ images has declined.
Not only that but that budgets within the media company have been cut to reflect broader macro-economic challenges. "The situation has been exacerbated by two ongoing litigation cases and the costs of defending these cases," she said.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attend the annual Endeavour Fund Awards at Mansion House on March 5, 2020 in London, England | Photo: Getty Images
According to Curzon, one of those cases is the company’s battle with Meghan Markle over pictures taken during a private family outing in a park in Canada. Other media outlets reported on the settlement in December.
At the time, a Splash spokesperson reportedly said that it would refrain from taking photographs of the family of Prince Harry and his family in the future.
According to Entertainment Tonight, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex won one of their privacy cases. The agency took pictures of their son Archie in January 2020.
At the time, it pledged not to take images of the couple's son in the future. According to the outlet, Markle filed the lawsuit in March that year. Another case against Splash US reportedly continues to move forward in British courts.
During their interview with Oprah Winfrey earlier this month, Markle reportedly told the media mogul that everyone deserves to have the right to privacy. According to Oprah Daily, she got candid about the invasions of privacy she experienced after dating and then marrying her spouse.
The royal couple reportedly took legal action against the breaches and won a private case against the Mail on Sunday. The outlet published a letter that she had written to her dad, Thomas Markle, in 2021.
According to The Guardian, a judge reportedly said the publication could publish a smaller front-page statement about the 39-year-old’s copyright court win than the one she had asked for. The judge also granted time for the title to seek permission to appeal.
The judge ordered the publishers to print a front-page statement declaring that she won her copyright claim over its publication of extracts from a private letter to her estranged father.
Other celebrities have had lawsuits filed against them for posting paparazzi images on their social media accounts. According to copyright law, it is usually the photographer who owns an image’s rights.
However, it could be ruled otherwise if that picture has been licensed to a third party like their agency or employer. So, whether a celebrity is photographed leaving a restaurant in the evening, the picture owner remains the one who took it.