Mail ‘will not repeat Tribune masthead stunt’

THE Irish Mail on Sunday has said it will not be repeating last weekend’s stunt of selling copies of the paper using the Sunday Tribune’s masthead and design.

The paper has endured a torrent of criticism after its “marketing exercise” aimed at capturing readers of the Tribune, publication of which was suspended when it went into receivership a week ago.

Lawyers for the Tribune also threatened to get a court injunction preventing the Mail imitating it again if its management failed to give a formal guarantee by yesterday afternoon not to repeat the exercise.

A Tribune representative said last night they were satisfied with the Mail’s assurances and would not be seeking an injunction against the paper, but it still intends proceeding with related legal actions.

The Tribune has issued its rival with demands for a share of revenue generated by sales of the imitation as well as compensation for copyright and trademark infringement.

The Mail is also facing opposition to its continued membership of the newspaper industry’s representative group, National Newspapers Ireland (NNI), as a result of its actions.

Independent News and Media, the Tribune’s biggest shareholder, is to table a motion at a meeting of the NNI next week seeking the paper’s expulsion. The NNI said it would be inappropriate to comment at this stage.

The National Consumer Agency is also investigating the faking incident and has said it is considering a prosecution for breaches of the Consumer Protection Act which prohibits unfair or misleading commercial practices. Complaints were made to the agency by the Tribune and the National Union of Journalists.

The Tribune is facing into a second week’s absence from newsagents shelves this Sunday as attempts continue to find a buyer for the title. Receiver Jim Luby is working on a four-week deadline to secure the sale of the newspaper.

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