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Plagiarism suspected in up to 21,000 DeNA online articles

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- As many as 21,000 articles that had been posted on now-shuttered online information sites run by DeNA Co. are suspected to have violated copyrights, an investigative panel said Monday.

    The Internet service company has closed down all of its 10 online information sites carrying over 370,000 articles after some of the articles were accused of being plagiarized and inaccurate.

    The third-party panel of lawyers set up in December said in a report released Monday it also found there were 10 articles that provided misleading information about the effectiveness and safety of pharmaceutical products, possibly in violation of related laws, while more than 740,000 images on the sites may have been used without permission.

    DeNA President Isao Moriyasu will take a 50 percent pay cut for six months, expanded from the previously announced 30 percent, and Mari Murata, who oversaw business operations of the information sites, will step down as an executive officer, the company said.

    "We offer our sincere apology for causing tremendous inconvenience and worries to many of our stakeholders," the company said in a statement.

    The panel's report said it found numerous articles that had inappropriately copied or used information from other articles as well as a manual the company had created to encourage contracted writers to use contents on other websites.

    The report said the company did not have enough editors to check all the articles for accuracy and copyright infringement, and that it had been left to each editor's discretion as to how to check for problems.

    Copyright and accuracy issues have since surfaced at operators of other content curation sites, raising questions about their credibility.

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