Tuesday 26 September 2017

Owner of theLiberal.ie website apologises, agrees to pay damages for copyright breaches

TheLiberal.ie website
TheLiberal.ie website
Jane Last

Jane Last

The owner of theLiberal.ie website has apologised and agreed to pay damages to Independent Newspapers (Ireland) Ltd for breaches of copyright.

A civil action by Independent Newspapers against Leo Sherlock, with an address at Glenvar, Ardee Road, Co Louth, was before Judge John Coughlan at Ardee District Court this morning.

Sherlock has also apologised to CCC Nuacht, a court reporting agency, and agreed to pay them undisclosed damages and costs.

The court heard that a settlement was agreed between Sherlock and Independent Newspapers, part of the Independent News & Media group.

The terms of the settlement were handed into the court.

Paul Meagher, solicitor for Independent Newspapers, read the apology from Leo Sherlock into the court record.

Solicitor for Leo Sherlock, registered owner of TheLiberal.ie Mr Malachy Steenson pictured arriving to Ardee court this morning. Picture Ciara Wilkinson
Solicitor for Leo Sherlock, registered owner of TheLiberal.ie Mr Malachy Steenson pictured arriving to Ardee court this morning. Picture Ciara Wilkinson
Solicitor for Independent News & Media Mr Paul Meagher arriving to Ardee court this morning. Photo: Ciara Wilkinson

"I, Leo Sherlock, apologise for my unauthorised usage of photographs owned by Independent Newspapers (Ireland) Limited on my website named 'theLiberal.ie'. I acknowledge that by using same without licence, permission, authority or consent I infringed copyright. I undertake not to commit any further breaches of copyright. I have agreed to pay Independent Newspapers (Ireland) an undisclosed sum in damages together with costs," the statement said.

The court was told that an undisclosed sum for damages as well as legal costs for Independent Newspapers will be paid by Sherlock on or before July 30th.

An apology for the breaches of copyright will appear on theliberal.ie website from July 11th for a period of seven days, the court heard.

"To allow time to implement the terms of the settlement, Judge John Coughlan adjourned the matter to September 11th next when it should be finally resolved."

However, Paul Meagher, solicitor for Independent Newspapers, and Malachy Steenson, solicitor representing the liberal.ie owner, said they were confident the matter would be settled before then.

The civil case dealt with eight pictures taken without permission or knowledge from titles belonging to Independent Newspapers (Ireland) Ltd and were reproduced on theliberal.ie.

The breaches occurred from December 2015 until March 2017.

In relation to CCC Nuacht, Sherlock agreed to remove four stories which were found to be in breach of copyright.

As part of his settlement with the agency, which was read out by Rossa McMahon solicitor for CCC Nuacht, he has agreed to publish an apology to them which will appear as a news story on his website on July 13th next. This must remain as a news story for a period of 48 hours.

An apology from Sherlock was read to the court, which stated: "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 court was told he has agreed to publish a link to the apology on the Facebook and Twitter accounts of theliberal.ie and these must remain as a pinned post for at least 24 hours.

Sherlock has also agreed to pay CCC Nuacht's costs.

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