eBay bans sale of French magazine Closer

US Internet auction giant eBay is banning sales of copies of French magazine Closer that feature photos of Prince William's wife Catherine topless, the website said on Tuesday.

eBay bans sale of French magazine Closer
Ian MacKenzie

Enterprising eBay users have been selling last Friday's issue of Closer — which has enraged the British royal family by printing pictures of Catherine sunbathing — to buyers outside France for up to $45 (€34).

French authorities on Tuesday banned Closer from any further publication or resale of the pictures and launched a criminal investigation into how they were obtained.

eBay said it had decided to ban users from selling the magazine in response to feedback from its users.

"Following strong feedback from the eBay community, we will be removing these items, and are already in the process of doing so," a London-based spokeswoman for the company said.

The spokeswoman was not immediately able to confirm whether listings of Italian magazine Chi and the Irish Daily Star tabloid, which also published
the grainy long-lens photos, would also be removed.

Several copies of Chi — which, like Closer, is owned by the Mondadori Group of former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi — were up for sale on eBay on Tuesday with a top price of $42.95.

Bidders had offered up to $24.30 for a copy of the Irish Daily Star.

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French magazine must pay 190,000 euros over Kate Middleton topless pics

A French court ruled Tuesday that a French celebrity magazine must pay 100,000 euros in damages to Britain's Prince William and his wife Kate over topless photos of the duchess published in 2012.

French magazine must pay 190,000 euros over Kate Middleton topless pics
The court also ordered Closer magazine's editor Laurence Pieau and publisher Ernesto Mauri to each pay 45,000 euros ($53,000) in fines, the maximum possible.
The couple had sought 1.5 million euros in damages and interest.
Closer magazine's lawyer Paul-Albert Iweins said he was “pleased” with the ruling on the damages to pay, but said the fine was “exaggerated for a simple private matter.”
For his part, the royal couple's lawyer Jean Veil declined to comment, adding that Kensington Palace would make a statement.

The grainy snaps of Kate Middleton sunbathing in a bikini bottom were taken while she was on holiday in September 2012 in the south of France with her husband, the second in line to the British throne.
The couple were snapped with a long lens relaxing by a pool at a chateau belonging to Viscount Linley, a nephew of Queen Elizabeth.
The pictures triggered a furious reaction from the royal family in Britain, where several newspapers rejected an offer to buy the pictures.
Closer, a glossy gossip magazine, was the first to splash them on its cover, and they were later reproduced in several other European publications, including Chi in Italy and Ireland's Daily Star.
The royals — who announced Monday they are expecting a third child — filed a criminal complaint for invasion of privacy and obtained an injunction preventing further use of the images.
In a letter read out in court, William said the case reminded him of the paparazzi hounding of his mother, princess Diana, who was killed in a car crash in Paris 20 years ago.
Two Paris-based agency photographers,  were each given fines of 10,000 euros, with 5,000 euros suspended.
'Positive image'
The prosecution had called for “very heavy” fines for the editor of the French Closer and Mondadori France, which is part of former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi's media empire.
The royals had joined the case as civil plaintiffs.
During the trial, Closer's lawyers argued that the pictures were in the public interest and conveyed a “positive image” of the royals.
The court also ordered the magazine to hand over the files with the images to the royal couple.
They learned of their impending publication while on an Asia-Pacific tour to mark the diamond jubilee of William's grandmother Queen Elizabeth II.