THE FOUNDER OF TheLiberal.ie has posted an apology to court reporting agency CCC Nuacht Teoranta and Independent Newspapers (Ireland) Ltd for numerous copyright breaches.
Leo Sherlock was ordered to do so as part of a settlement in two recent court cases. He was also ordered to pay an undisclosed figure in damages.
The text apology, as many people pointed out online, was written in a light pink colour on a white background. The colour of the text was darkened after people criticised the earlier choice of font colour.
Interesting tactic from Leo Sherlock when forced to apologise. Actual apology posted in washed out barely legible font. pic.twitter.com/ahivB6KrkK
The original vs updated font colour
And here's part 2 of TheLiberal.ie's invisible ink apology, before and after being enhanced in Photoshop. pic.twitter.com/7MJVUdBe7p
Sherlock was ordered to publish the apology in a prominent position on TheLiberal.ie. When it was first published, the apology was listed under ‘Misc’ on the site homepage. This was later edited to read ‘Apology’.
In a statement, Rossa McMahon of PG McMahon solicitors, who is acting on behalf of CCC Nuacht Teoranta, today said:
“My client CCC Nuacht Teo agreed terms with Mr Sherlock to settle an action against him for copyright infringement involving TheLiberal.ie. Those proceedings arose out of articles entirely written by my client’s reporters which were copied and published on TheLiberal.ie without license or payment.
“These articles were reports of criminal proceedings written by expert court reporters who attended the criminal proceedings reported on. In its work, my client has consistently championed greater public access to court proceedings, even to the point where CCC Nuacht has brought legal proceedings to challenge reporting restrictions. My client is proud of its record of ensuring decisions taken in Irish courts are disseminated to the public in a fair, accurate and unbiased manner.
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. The proceedings against Mr Sherlock were adjourned to Ardee District Court on 11 September 2017 for implementation of them. My client is considering its position and in light of the fact that the proceedings remain before the Court will not make any further comment.
Below is the text of the apologies Sherlock was ordered to publish.
The apology to CCC Nuacht:
“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 apology to Independent Newspapers:
“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.”