Colchis-Nike

Statement by CCC Nuacht regarding copyright infringement by The Liberal.ie

Statement regarding settlement with The Liberal.ie and Leo Sherlock

CCC Nuacht Teoranta welcomes the admissions of copyright infringement made by Leo Sherlock, trading as “The Liberal” and “TheLiberal.ie” and looks forward to the online publication of a full apology in coming days.

CCC Nuacht is a court reporting agency which has, for over two decades, provided reliable, accurate and balanced coverage of court proceedings to all national and regional media outlets. Our clients publish court reports on foot of a licence agreement, paid by either monthly subscription or one-off fees charged for individual reports.

The company took this case after Mr Sherlock repeatedly ignored repeated attempts to resolve blatant infringements of our intellectual property.

We believe this victory in the courts is a victory for professional journalists, especially those working on a freelance or agency basis, who put time and work into ensuring their work is accurate and fair.

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.”

We hope this settlement will act as a deterrent to websites and publications who are tempted to take the work of journalists without proper payment. We further hope it will act as an incentive to publishers to pay for good quality journalism.

We would like to thank Rossa McMahon of PG McMahon Solicitors who took this case for us and who represented us with the highest degree of professionalism.

We complained of four instances of breach of copyright between June 2015 and September 2016. These include one on July 15th, 2015 when TheLiberal.ie published our court report about a Romanian national sentenced for fraudulently claiming welfare payments.

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.

The text of an apology to CCC Nuacht was read into the court record by Mr McMahon. The agreed text, to be published on July 13 next states:

“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 states that this apology is to be published as a news story on TheLiberal.ie’s website by July 13 and is to remain at the top of the main page of the website for a minimum of 48 hours.

Mr Sherlock, on behalf of TheLiberal.ie also agreed to publish a link to the apology on the Facebook and Twitter accounts of TheLiberal.ie. These are to be maintained as a pinned post for a period of 24 hours after publication.

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.

Mr Sherlock of Glenvar, Ardee Road, Collon, Co Louth has also agreed to pay damages to us.

We would like to reiterate our fullsome gratitude to Mr McMahon for taking on this case for the agency and to Conor Gallagher, our former Managing Editor who has since moved on to work for The Irish Times, for his determination to challenge this blatant breach of our intellectual property.

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