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Founder of TheLiberal.ie to apologise for breaching copyright of court news service

A full apology will be published on the website in the coming days.

A screengrab from TheLiberal.ie's Facebook page.
A screengrab from TheLiberal.ie's Facebook page.
Image: TheLiberal/Facebook

THE FOUNDER OF TheLiberal.ie Leo Sherlock is to apologise to court news service CCC Nuacht Teoranta for multiple counts of copyright infringement following a settlement in court.

The company took this case after Sherlock “repeatedly ignored repeated attempts to resolve blatant infringements of our intellectual property” and said that it looks forward to the online publication issuing a full apology in coming days.

The case centred around four instances of breach of copyright between June 2015 and September 2016. They included one on 15 July 2015 when TheLiberal.ie published a court report about a “Romanian national sentenced for fraudulently claiming welfare payments”.

A spokesman for CCC said: “The website also infringed our copyright by reproducing our reports about a babysitter jailed for sexually abusing a baby, and the jailing of a former Church of Ireland worker for the rape and molestation of young boys.

“These reports were originally the result of the meticulous and careful work of the experienced journalists employed or contracted by us.”

Sherlock of Glenvar, Ardee Road, Collon, Louth has also agreed to pay damages to the company.

TheLiberal.ie is to feature the following apology from Leo Sherlock:

“Between June 2015 and November 2016, TheLiberal.ie published four articles, which have since been deleted from this website, which reproduced or adapted articles by CCC Nuacht, a leading Irish court news agency whose stories appear in Irish media outlets.“I, on behalf of TheLiberal.ie, acknowledge that these articles were published without obtaining a licence to do so and that they thereby infringed the copyright of CCC Nuacht.“I acknowledge the important work of court reporters in informing the public about court proceedings and in furthering the administration of justice in public as required by the constitution.“I, on behalf of TheLiberal.ie, apologise to CCC Nuacht and its court reporters for publishing these stories without obtaining and paying for a licence entitling them to do so, and I undertake that neither I nor TheLiberal.ie will publish or adapt any further copyright materials owned by CCC Nuacht without licence.”

The settlement has ordered that this apology is to be published as a news story on TheLiberal.ie’s website by 13 July. It is to remain at the top of the main page of the website for at least 48 hours.

The apology will also be published on the publication’s Twitter and Facebook pages. They must be the ‘pinned post’ for at least 24 hours and the web page containing the apology.

The web page containing the apology and posts to the Liberal.ie Facebook and Twitter accounts “are to remain published indefinitely and are not to be removed”, according to the settlement.

Managing editor of CCC, Declan Brennan, said that the court’s decision was a “victory for professional journalists”

He added: “We note that Mr Sherlock, as part of the settlement, will acknowledge the “important work of court reporters in informing the public about court proceedings and in furthering the administration of justice in public as required by the constitution.”

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