This morning brought yet more bad news for Max Mosley as he has lost his first legal case against News Group Newspapers, the News International subsidiary that publishes the News of the World. Mosley had wanted the videos and images of his alleged Nazi-themed sex orgy to permanently removed from the News of the World.
But today that injunction was refused and the newspapers has hit back with a double-whammy. In addition to republishing the original video, the newspaper has uploaded two audio clips that depict Max Mosley speaking English in a mock German accent. One of these is the already infamous quote, “Zey need more of ze punishment I sink.”
The purpose behind publishing the new audio clips is to counter Max Mosley’s claims that the only reason he spoke German during the session was because some of the prostitutes themselves were German. This is at the heart of Mosley’s attempts to disprove claims that the session had a Nazi theme. But it does not explain why Mosley would be speaking English in a fake German accent.
It is very interesting that, as Pitpass noted last week, Max Mosley is not suing the News of the World for libel. You would think that if the allegations were false then Mosley would have little difficulty in winning a case against a newspaper which has put forward such over-the-top and cartoon-like allegations. This would particularly be the case in the UK which has famously strict libel laws. The fact that he is not suing for libel makes Mosley’s denials seem pretty empty.
Max Mosley appears mostly to be concerned about the invasion of privacy which the FIA has described as “apparently illegal”. It is worth remembering that less than a year ago such apparent illegalities were of no concern to Max Mosley as long as it assisted him in his personal vendetta against Ron Dennis.
As Grandprix.com reminds us, the World Motor Sport Council met in September to discuss a list of text messages and phone calls between Mike Coughlan and Nigel Stepney. The validity of the evidence was brought into question. Here was Mosley’s response:
The World Council’s only concern is whether that list is accurate and truthful. We are not concerned with whether there are issues over how that is obtained. Unless there is evidence that it is forged or inaccurate, we will take it on its face value. We do not enter a debate about Italian law; we have neither the time nor the skills for that.
Funny how he sings a different tune today. Max Mosley’s defence appears to be crumbling.
Today’s events, however, represent a real legal stumbling block for Max Mosley. The injunction was refused on the basis that the video is already in the public domain and you cannot reasonably expect to remove it from the public domain. This is the same argument that has been used by those who are arguing for Max Mosley to resign. It is a good point.
However, as Craigblog points out, it is nevertheless surprising that this ruling went against Max Mosley. Had the injunction been granted, it would have sent out a strong message to everyone about the use of this video.
Now, media outlets have effectively been given absolute free reign to use it. As we have seen, the News of the World has now taken the opportunity to upload new clips. And at lunchtime today I was amazed to hear the original video clip being played in full on BBC Radio 5 Live. If the video was in the public domain in the first place, today it is in the public domain deluxe.
Meanwhile, it has been announced today that the FIA General Assembly will now meet on 3rd June. This will include a confidence vote which will be held as a secret ballot. I would be amazed if Max Mosley were to win the vote. Meanwhile, the FIA will be lumbered with a lame duck President for almost two more months.