Court reporting agency CCC Nuacht Teoranta has said it is considering its position over an apology issued by Leo Sherlock as part of the settlement of a copyright infringement case involving his website TheLiberal.ie.
An near illegible apology to CCC Nuacht and Independent Newspapers Ltd was published on the website as part of the agreement.
The apology was written in a light-pink typeface on a white background, making it difficult to read. The statement is a png image, meaning the text cannot be highlighted, copied or found via search engines. The colour of the text was darkened slightly later in the day.
The apology followed two cases taken against Mr Sherlock in which Independent Newspapers claimed multiple breaches, including the wrongful alteration and reproduction of photographs while CCC Nuacht complained of four instances of its copyright being breached.
Rossa McMahon, solicitor for CCC Nuacht, said his client was considering its position and “in light of the fact that the proceedings remain before the Court will not make any further comment”.
He said the proceedings arose out of articles “entirely written by my client’s reporters which were copied and published on TheLiberal.ie without license or payment”.
“The proceedings against Mr Sherlock were adjourned to Ardee District Court on September 11th, 2017 for implementation of them,” he said.
“The settlement terms with Mr Sherlock include that he publish an apology to my client, in agreed terms and as a news story at the top of the main page of TheLiberal.ie website.”
In a preamble to the apology, Mr Sherlock appears to lay the blame for the copyright infringements on young writers working for his website.
“However, some of these writers were very young and unaware of the mechanics of the news industry and this resulted on occasion in stories and images being used without the permission of the entities who owned them,” he said.
“This was not done in a malicious fashion and the terrible emotional hurt which appears to have been caused to a large global media organisation is particularly striking.”
Mr Sherlock goes on to apologise for unauthorised use of photographs from Independent Newspapers, and undertakes “not to commit any further breaches of copyright”.
He says he has agreed to pay an undisclosed sum in damages and costs to the company. He also apologises for the use of four articles without licence from CCC Nuacht between June 2015 and November 2016.
“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,” he says, before undertaking not to reproduce CCC.Nuacht articles without licence in the future.
Full apology (in black and white)
I, Leo Sherlock, apologise for my unauthorised use 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 its costs.
Apology to CCC Nuacht Teo
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.