Month: June 2012

Implementation Rules concerning Supporting Popular Capital to Participate in Publishing Business Activities

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In order to promote the grand development and grand flourishing of Socialist culture, fully muster popular capital to participate in cultural construction, stimulate the publishing sector’s scientific development, on the basis of the “State Council Secretariat Some Opinions concerning Encouraging and Guiding the Healthy Development of Popular Investment”  (GF No. 2010(13), and in integration with the characteristics of the publishing sector, hereby, the following implementation rules to support popular capital to participate in publishing business activities are put forward.

I, Continue to support popular capital to invest in the establishment of printing and reproduction enterprises, engaging in business activities concerning the printing of publications, packaging and mounting printed products as well as other printed products, recordable compact disc production and the printing and reproduction of read-only compact discs. Read the rest of this entry »

Notice concerning Questions Relating to IPTV Integrated Broadcast Construction

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This document has not been openly published by SARFT. The following is a translation of a press article outlining and analyzing the main changes of the new IPTV license regime. 

SARFT No. 43

Description of the IPTV business operation permit.

According to the requirements of corresponding radio and television management regulations, general and branch IPTV integrated broadcast control platforms, nationwide IPTV content service platforms and provincial-level content service platforms, and IPTV service enterprises, shall all respectively obtain an “Information Network Audiovisual Programme Broadcast Permit” through the corresponding permit programmes promulgated by SARFT. Only after all the above-mentioned parties obtain the corresponding permit, may they be linked up and launch services.

Read the rest of this entry »

Some Opinions concerning Forcefully Moving Informatization Development Forward and Realistically Guaranteeing Information Security

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GF No. (2012)23

All provincial, autonomous region and municipal people’s governments, all State Council ministries and commissions, all directly subordinate organs:

Forcefully moving informatization development and realistically guaranteeing information security has a major important significance for adjusting economic structures, transforming development methods, guaranteeing and improving people’s livelihoods, and safeguarding national security. In recent years, all regions and all departments have earnestly implemented the policies and deployments of the Party Centre and the State Council, accelerated the push forward in informatization construction, established and completed information security guarantee systems, this powerfully stimulated economic and social development. At present, the informatization of all countries in the world is developing rapidly, the application of information technology has stimulated the optimized allocation of global resources and the innovation of development models, the Internet has an even deeper influence on politics, the economy, society and culture, the international competition surrounding information obtention, use and control is becoming fiercer every day, and guaranteeing information security has become an important topic in all countries. But, some problems that urgently need to be resolved still exist in our country’s informatization construction and information security guarantees, the difference with developed countries in terms of broadband information infrastructure development levels has somewhat expanded, government information sharing and professional coordination levels are not high, and core technologies are controlled by people; there is insufficient strategic planning and comprehensive coordination in information security work, there is insufficient capacity to protect important information system and basic information network, mobile Internet and other technological applications have brought serious challenges to information security. We must further strengthen a sense of urgency, adopt even more powerful policy measures, forcefully move informatization development forward, and realistically guarantee information security. To this end, the following opinions are put forward. Read the rest of this entry »

Security and technology: the Five-Year Plan for Internet Development

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Last month, the Ministry of Industry and Information technology presented their plan for the development of the Chinese Internet during the 12th Five-Year Plan. This is the first dedicated government-level plan for the Internet, and the blueprint for the direction that Chinese Internet policy and management will take for the next five years. A full translation is available.

In terms of content, this document follows the line established earlier related to economic restructuring. There are explicit support policies for Internet-related SMEs, a strong emphasis on technological research, and it stresses the need to attract highly trained Internet talents from abroad. Specifically, advances are planned in areas such as intelligent terminals, cloud computing and the Internet of Things. Furthermore, the plan promises to expand Internet capacity. Sluggish Internet speed has been a topic of discussion recently, and the plan sets forth targets on speed and access which are also part of China’s human rights development plans. Conversely, the plan stresses the necessity to strengthen China’s influence on international Internet structures. It diagnoses the Internet as being the next space for confrontation between nations, after land, sea, air and space.

The most important aspect of this document, however, seems to be security. Obviously, data leaks, phishing, privacy protection and viruses are real threats against the further development of Internet industries. At the same time, the Chinese government itself is often accused as being behind cyberattacks and online intelligence, something of which the US military, amongst others, seems very suspicious. Increased transparency and clarity about China’s objectives would be very useful in this regard. Also, security seems to refer to censorship. The plan calls for enhancing “emergency response systems” to deal with “sudden incidents” and strengthening institutional and legal frameworks to further strengthen Internet supervision and management. This continues the trend of recent years, where new national and provincial-level Internet offices were established. Furthermore, the trend of co-opting Internet enterprises into self-discipline seems to be strengthened.

Obviously, plans like these are general guidelines, and the interesting question remains how these objectives will be transposed into concrete policy and regulatory measures, especially in an environment changing as quickly as the Internet. Watch this space.

 

ABA Comments on Copyright Law Draft

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In response to the draft Copyright Law that was published earlier, the intellectual property and international law sections of the American Bar Association composed joint comments, analyzing different aspects and provisions of the draft. I was kindly invited to contribute to these comments, which have now been made available on the ABA web site.

To further discuss these issues, a luncheon meeting will be organized on 25 July at Fordham in New York. More information about this on the China IPR blog.

Notice concerning Launching a Special Campaign “Attacking News Blackmail and Dealing with Paid-For News”

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On 13 June, SARFT issued the “Notice concerning Launching a Special Campaign ‘Attacking News Blackmail and Dealing with Paid-For News'” (GF NO. [2012]46 to all provincial, autonomous region and municipal radio, film and television bureaus, the Xinjiang Production-Construction Corps Radio and Television Station, the three central stations, film channels, and China Educational Television, the Notice says that, according to the uniform deployment of the Central Propaganda Department, in order to further standardize newsgathering order, safeguard the credibility and authority of news workers, create a good  atmosphere for the victorious convention of the 18th Party Congress, the General Administration of Press and Publications and other relevant departments will launch a special campaign to “attack news blackmail and deal with paid-for news” for three months, starting now. The basic tasks of the special campaign are: strictly attacking false news organs and newsgathering personnel launching “news blackmail” activities and using “newsgathering” activities for extortion and racketeering. Dealing with newsgathering personnel using newsgathering activities to seek personal gain, or other bad phenomena such as receiving “red envelopes” from newsgathering counterparts, work units, interested parties and related companies, etc. Dealing with news organs and their work personnel publishing advertising under the form of news reporting, engaging in paid-for news and paid-for non-news activities, standardizing newsgathering activity order, eliminating bad tendencies existing in news work. Read the rest of this entry »

New Draft Internet Regulations: the Empire Strikes Back?

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Yesterday, the State Council published new draft regulations on the management of Internet information services. These are explicitly aimed at microblog platforms and related social media, following a week after the much-publicized Weibo User Pact took effect. On Tea Leaf Nation, David Wertime eloquently analyses the different aspects of the new document.

Despite the look of it, this not a sea change. The current law already assigns criminal liability to any service providers, broadly defined, who disseminate speech fitting any one of nine categories of harm. Moreover, Chinese authorities already exercise Internet control as they see fit, shutting down blogs and forums, occasionally arresting “bad actors,” and requiring Weibo, or China’s Twitter, to implement real-name registration.

Instead, it’s the message behind the law that matters, and the message to China’s social media is clear: We can shut you down. Providers of social media platforms will surely sweat when reminded by the State Council that their businesses merely exist at the pleasure of those in power. The law’s preamble now lists “protecting national safety and public interest” (维护国家安全和公共利益) as one of its objectives, and adds that which “incites illegal gatherings” (煽动非法聚集) to the category of illegal speech. This signals that Beijing is acutely aware of the potentially destabilizing power of China’s blogosphere.

I would add one more remark. By adding to the administrative burden of setting up and running Internet enterprises, the regime might endeavour to keep the number of players low. It is much easier controlling a small number of large visible enterprises than having to deal with large numbers of smaller companies. Hence, by making market access procedures more difficult, the administration puts up the pressure on social media enterprises to keep their side of the deal: permission to operate in return for toeing the political line.

I translated the draft document, as well as the accompanying explanations, and you can find them here.

Internet Information Service Management Rules (Opinion-Seeking Version of Revision Draft)

Explanation concerning the “Internet Information Service Management Rules (Opinion-Seeking Version of Revision Draft)

Internet Information Service Management Rules (Opinion-Seeking Version of Revision Draft)

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Chapter I: General provisions

Article 1: In order to stimulate the healthy and orderly development of Internet information services, safeguard national security and the public interest, protect the lawful rights and interests of citizens and Internet information service providers, and standardize Internet information services activities, these Rules are formulated. Read the rest of this entry »

Explanation concerning the “Internet Information Service Management Rules (Opinion-Seeking Version of Revision Draft)

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The existing “Internet Information Service Management Rules” (hereafter named the existing Rules) are the basic regulations for our country’s Internet management, and have had a vigorous function in the healthy and orderly development of our country’s Internet information service since promulgation in 2000. Following the rapid development of our country’s Internet, many new situations have emerged, a number of new problems are faced, in order to further stimulate the healthy and orderly development of the Internet, safeguard national security and the public interest, protect the lawful rights and interests of the public and Internet information service providers, standardize Internet information service activities, according to the Constitution and corresponding laws and regulations, the State Internet Information Office, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and other relevant departments have conducted revision of the existing Rules, and have formed the “Internet Information Service Management Rules (Opinion-Seeking Version of Revision Draft”. Hereby, the relevant matters are explained as follows: Read the rest of this entry »