Japan's new digital chief in copyright gaffe

Professor Emeritus Yoko Ishikura apologised after posting an image in breach of copyright rules.
Professor Emeritus Yoko Ishikura apologised after posting an image in breach of copyright rules.PHOTO: YOKO ISHIKURA/TWITTER

TOKYO (REUTERS) - The chief of Japan's Digital Agency, which launched this week to propel creaking government infrastructure into an online future, apologised on Friday (Sept 3) after posting an image in breach of copyright rules.

Professor Emeritus Yoko Ishikura, an academic and consultant picked as chief digital officer at the new agency, last week wrote a blog post on her personal website commenting on the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The post was headed by a low-resolution image with a "Pixta" watermark. The use of this image and others breaches Pixta's terms of service, Mr Ryo Ito, an executive at the stock image provider, wrote on Twitter on Friday.

"Please contact me so I can provide guidance on appropriate use of images and confirm details, including whether you have provided proper payment," Mr Ito wrote in a reply to Prof Ishikura's tweet about her blog post.

"This is entirely due to my carelessness. I apologise," Prof Ishikura said in a follow-up tweet, deleting the earlier post.

When the Digital Agency was launched on Wednesday, it reported that some users were having trouble connecting to its website.

The agency is aimed at overhauling the government's outdated bureaucracy, which has been blamed for delays to the payment of pandemic subsidies and hampering the shift to remote work.

Its creation is a key policy of embattled Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.

Copyright rules are widely ignored on social media, with users frequently sharing images without permission or attribution.

"There is still not the necessary understanding about appropriate use of images," Mr Ito said in a tweet.