Mainichi issued a statement admitting that WaiWai articles had been violating the copyrights of 32 publishing and newspaper companies .
In the column, articles were used without the consent of their publishers -- including publishing and newspaper companies. Our follow-up investigation has found that we used and translated articles published by 32 publishing and newspaper companies without their permission.Mainichi also admitted that the printed edition published before 2001 also used articles of other publications without permission from copyright holders.
We allowed another publisher to run some of these WaiWai articles in publications it printed, and received fees for the reprint. We are now in the process of repaying these reprint fees.
We are continuing to apologize to the publishers for violating their copyrights.
The defunct printed edition of the Mainichi Daily News, which was published before the Mainichi Daily News became an online newspaper, also used and translated articles from other publications without permission from their copyright holders between October 1989 and March 2001. We are continuing to offer explanations and apologies to the publishers of these articles.This is essentially a retraction of a portion of their previous statement issued on July 20th. According to the explanation in the previous statement, publication of problematic articles had started after the task of writing WaiWai articles fell into the hands of just one editor after the print edition of the MDN was suspended at the end of March 2001. The following is the relevant portion in the statement issued on July 20th.
At the time the print edition was suspended, the MDN had a staff of 15 foreign and three Japanese staff writers. Following the shift online, the staff was downsized to five foreign and three Japanese staff writers, with the Japanese staff subsequently being reduced to two. The task of writing articles for the WaiWai column essentially fell into the hands of just one editor.
The column editor assumed that different standards for accuracy applied to news stories and those carried in the WaiWai column. For this reason, both the print and web versions carried the following disclaimer: "WaiWai stories are transcriptions of articles that originally appeared in Japanese language publications. The Mainichi Daily News cannot be held responsible for the content of the original articles, nor does it guarantee their accuracy. Views expressed in the WaiWai column are not necessarily those held by the Mainichi Daily News or the Mainichi Newspapers Co." He did concede this might have been inadequate, though, considering that web readers did not necessarily differentiate between news articles translated from the Mainichi Shimbun and the stories in the WaiWai column.
Moreover, his knowledge and understanding of copyright laws were insufficient. When he first began writing WaiWai stories, he was told by a senior native English-speaking colleague that quoting from Japanese magazine articles was acceptable inasmuch as it was not straight translation but augmented with commentary and explanations. He took this advice at face value without further inquiry and continued to produce large volumes of magazine article translations. There were cases where personal interpretations that were not in the original article crept into the WaiWai story as a means of attracting reader attention.