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'WaiWai' column took articles from 32 publishers without permission
[September 27, 2008]

'WaiWai' column took articles from 32 publishers without permission

(Yomiuri Shimbun, The (Tokyo) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) TOKYO _ The controversial "WaiWai" column, which was pulled from the English-language Mainichi Daily News Web site for its vulgar content, used translations of articles taken without permission from 32 newspaper and publishing companies, Mainichi Newspapers Co. said in the Saturday morning edition of the Mainichi Shimbun.

Mainichi Newspapers printed an apology indicating that the company had shown less than full awareness of the copyright issues involved.

According to the company investigation, articles from The Yomiuri Weekly, a magazine published by The Yomiuri Shimbun, were among those used without permission. Seventy articles and headlines were taken from the magazine, translated into English and posted on the WaiWai site.

Even before the Mainichi Daily News became a purely electronic newspaper in April 2001, about 70 articles were pulled without consent from a number of Yomiuri publications, including the weekly Shukan Yomiuri, and translated for the WaiWai column in the print edition of the newspaper.

Mainichi Newspapers reportedly allowed a number of these WaiWai translations to be reprinted in the publications of other companies and charged for their use. It is reportedly doing the necessary paperwork to return these sums.

"We plan to teach our employees more about copyright issues," a spokesman for the company's president said

A former secretary of former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has accused the president, an editor and a reporter of The Mainichi Shimbun of defamation by incorrectly attributing a quote to him in an article about Koizumi's retirement, it has been learned.

In a written complaint sent to the police, Isao Iijima claims The Mainichi Newspapers Co. President Yutaka Asahina, the newspaper's political news editor and the reporter defamed him in an article in the daily's Friday morning edition.

The Mainichi article reported that Iijima, on learning about Koizumi's retirement, said: "Mr. Koizumi lost his magic wand (that produced surprises). Those 'Koizumi kids' lawmakers will probably lose in the next House of Representatives election even if he gives them support."

The newspaper's Saturday morning edition carried a correction that said the article had inaccurately quoted what Iijima had said several days earlier and that the newspaper had retracted the quote.

Iijima told The Yomiuri Shimbun that he "never said such a thing to people around me, either several days ago or after (Koizumi's) retirement was reported."


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