Expert: Kate Middleton Topless Photos Have 'Broken French Privacy Laws'

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French magazine editor defends publishing pictures of Duchess of Cambridge sunbathing, saying they are a “beautiful series.”

LONDON - The French magazine that published topless pictures of the Duchess of Cambridge is breaking strict French privacy laws, but is likely to be willing to take the risk for the boost in sales, experts say, according to the Guardian.

Privacy laws in France are considered to be among the most robust in the world, with leading politicians regularly using courts to prevent the publication of embarrassing photos that would be innocuous by the standards of British tabloids, the Guardian said.

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Thomas Roussineau, who specializes in privacy law, said the French magazine Closer had undoubtedly broken the country's privacy laws by publishing photos of the duchess on holiday in Provence.

"It is totally forbidden," he said. "The castle is not the street, it is in a private place, and they are intimate pictures."

But he said it was likely the magazine had weighed up the potential cost of a fine against the revenue the photos would bring.

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"They will have a big revenue, and the amount of the sentence will not equal the revenue they will make, it will be a very small part of the revenue they will have from these pictures," Roussineau said.

Closer's editor-in-chief defended her decision to publish. Laurence Pieau described the photos as a "beautiful series" that showed a couple in love and were in no way degrading. She said the magazine had more intimate shots from the same series that it opted not to publish, said the Guardian.

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"There's been an over-reaction to these photos. What we see is a young couple, who just got married, who are very much in love, who are splendid," Pieau told French BFM television. "She's a real 21st century princess. It's a young woman who is topless, the same as you can see on any beach in France or around the world."

The U.K. edition of Closer magazine moved to distance itself from the French publication and said it would never use the shots. The U.K. publisher issued a statement to clarify that the French edition was printed under license by another firm and both magazines made editorial decisions independently.

"Closer magazine U.K. is published by Bauer Consumer Media. The French edition meanwhile is published under a license by a totally different company, an Italian business called Mondadori."

Mondadori, which is owned by Silvio Berlusconi's Fininvest, did not comment on the publication, said the Guardian.