The author of a Lancashire Witches walking guide has successfully sued County Hall for copying his work.
Ian Thornton-Bryar was awarded damages of £19,187, plus costs, after a small claims hearing found the county council had published extensive extracts from his guide on its website.
District Judge Lambert criticised the council’s “couldn’t care less attitude” towards Mr Thornton-Bryar’s claims for copyright.
Keen walker Mr Thornton-Bryar claimed the authority copied large parts of his booklet The Lancashire Witches Walk on its Forest of Bowland website in 2014.
He complained at the time and the council agreed to remove the text, but a year later put it back online with some amendments.
“In my judgment, the council has copied a substantial part of Mr Thornton-Bryar’s work,” said Judge Lambert. “These actions were a deliberate and calculated infringement of copyright, or at the very least they amounted to a couldn’t care less attitude.”
Elliott Lorimer, principal officer for the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty at LCC, said: “This walk was added to the website as a way for people to enjoy parts of the Forest of Bowland.
“We are sorry about what’s happened in this case. It has been taken off the website.
“While we are disappointed with the judge’s ruling, we are not looking to appeal due to the cost that could be involved.”