Chapter I: General provisions
Article 1: In order to standardize Internet search engine services, protect the lawful rights and interests of Internet users, safeguard a reasonable and orderly market order with fair competition, and stimulate the sustained and healthy development of our country’s Internet search engine sector, this Convention is formulated.
Article 2: Internet search engine services as named in this Convention refers to Services where Internet service providers use specific computer procedures to provide online information searches to users through keywords and other search methods.
Article 3: This Convention applies to member work units of the Internet Society of China and Internet business work units that have acceded to the “China Internet Sector Self-Discipline Convention”, and it is proposed that other business work units vigorously abide by it.
Article 4: Internet search engine service providers shall abide by the fundamental principles of respecting the law, sincerity, fairness, neutrality and objectivity, they shall abide the spirit of the Internet that is open, equal, cooperative and sharing, they shall vigorously safeguard the national interest, the public interest and the sector’s interest, and respect the lawful rights and interests of rights holders.
Chapter II, Self-discipline content
Article 5: Strictly abide by relevant State laws, regulations, rules and policies, launch Internet search engine services according to the law, consciously abide by sectoral conventions and norms, actively strengthen sectoral self-regulation, strive to create a healthy and orderly Internet search engine service environment.
Article 5: Consciously abide by the principles of the “Self-Regulation Norms for Internet Search Engine Service Companies to Prevent Obscenity, Sex and Other Such Unlawful and Harmful Information”, persist in resisting the dissemination of obscenity, sex and other such unlawful and harmful information through search engines, vigorously build a healthy, civilized and upward Internet search engine dissemination order.
Article 7: Respect common international sector practices and commercial norms, respect robot protocols.
Robot protocols refers to robots.txt files that Internet site owners use, that provide website instructions to web robots.
Web robots (also called web tourists, reptile programmes or spider programmes) are automatic web crawling programmes. Search engines use these programmes to search the content of websites, junk mail senders use web robots to scan and obtain e-mail addresses, web robots have many other uses.
Article 8: Internet site owners setting up robot protocols shall abide by the principles of fairness, openness and stimulating the free circulation of information, they shall have reasons generally recognized as reasonable in the sector to limit indexing by search engines, they shall nut use robot protocols to commit improper competitive activities, and vigorously encourage a positive competitive environment that encourages innovation, justice and fairness.
Article 9: Respect intellectual property rights, respect the lawful rights and interests of rights holders, vigorously resist piracy and other such acts of infringement; with regard to content indexed in violation of robot protocols before the promulgation of this convention, after receiving notification from the right holder that conforms to the provisions of the law, this is to be timely deleted and the infringing links are to be cut off, strive to safeguard a healthy and orderly online environment.
Article 10: Search engine service providers have the duty to assist in the protection of users’ privacy and personal information security, after they receive notification from rights holders that conforms to the provisions of the law, they shall timely delete and sever links to infringing content.
Article 11: Support fair and reasonable competition, resist improper competitive acts, safeguard a fair, open, competitive and orderly market order, and vigorously create a market environment with fair participation, reasonable competition and sustained development.
Article 12: Encourage artistic and commercial model innovation, perfect search services, optimize search results, economize on network resources, foster and safeguard a sectoral ecological system that is innovative and dynamic, open and win-win, and made of virtuous cycles.
Article 13: Strengthen social responsibility, strengthen self-restraint, establish effective reporting and complaints channels, actively accept social supervision, timely discover and improve insufficiencies in services, consciously standardize the business acts of Internet search engine service enterprises.
Chapter III, The implementation of the Convention
Article 14: The Internet Society of China Sectoral Self-Discipline Work Committee is the implementing organ of this Convention, it is responsible for organizing the signature and implementation of this Convention, and will propagate relevant State policies, laws and regulations to signatory work units.
Article 15: Signatory work units shall consciously abide by all provisions of this Convention, where they violate the Convention and create a harmful influence, any work unit or individual has the right to report this to the implementing organ of this Convention. After the implementing organ of this Convention checks and verifies matters or organises a survey, it issues an internal warning, it issues an open censure in many mainstream media nationwide or deals with matters in other ways, in view of the circumstances.
Article 16: When disputes or conflicts occur between signatory work units, they shall, according to the principle of safeguarding the overall interest of the sector, strive to resolve matters in a consultative manner, with agreement of both sides, it is also permitted that they submit the matter to the implementing organ of this Convention for mediation, the implementing organ of this Convention has the duty to organize corresponding mediation work through reasonable and lawful manners, and to report the mediation result to every corresponding work unit; where it is impossible to resolve matters through sectoral mediation, it is permitted to put forward a suggestion for handling matters to the relevant management departments.
Chapter IV: Supplementary provisions
Article 17: This Convention takes effect after it is signed by more than two thirds of the initiating work units, and is promulgated to society by the Internet Society of China.
Article 18: This Convention abides by the principle of “dynamic revision, gradual perfection”, where the implementing organ of this Convention or more than a third of the signatory work units move so, and more than two thirds of the signatory work units agree, revisions may be made to this Convention.
Article 19: All Internet search engine service providers that accept the self-regulation provisions in this Convention may sign this Convention; signatory work units may withdraw from this Convention, and notify the implementing organ of this Convention in writing; the implementing organ of this Convention regularly publishes lists of signatory and withdrawn work units.
Article 20: For corresponding implementation rules for this Convention and matters that may easily incite debate, the implementing organ of this Convention organizes concentrated discussion fora for Internet search engine enterprises, parts where consensus is reached, are attached to this Convention and publicly promulgated by the Internet Society of China, signatory work units shall jointly abide by these. Where a consistent opinion cannot be reached, under the principles of openness, fairness and justice, the implementing organ of this Convention organizes a decision by vote among Internet search engine service enterprises, and the result of the vote shall be an important basis for the implementing organ of this Convention to put forward suggestions to handle matters to corresponding management departments.
Article 21: The interpretation of this Convention is the responsibility of the Internet Society of China Sectoral Self-Regulation Work Committee.
Article 22: This Convention takes effect on the date of promulgation.