China to Require Video File-Sharing Sites to Get Permits?

Sites that allow visitors to stream, upload, or share video content must have a permit and be either state-owned or state-controlled.

China continues to exert an almost Darth Vader-like grip on that country’s internet with a report that it has announced that only state-controlled video sharing sites will be allowed to exist.

Under the new policy, sites that provide video content or allow users to upload or share videos must have a permit and be either state-owned or state-controlled.

The new regulations, which take effect Jan. 31, were approved by both the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television and the Ministry of Information Industry and were described on their Web sites Thursday.

The majority of Internet video providers in China are private, according to an explanation of the regulations posted on Chinafilm.com, which is run by the state-run China Film Group.

Video that involves national secrets, hurts the reputation of China, disrupts social stability or promotes pornography will be banned. Providers must delete and report such content.

“Those who provide Internet video services should insist on serving the people, serve socialism … and abide by the moral code of socialism,” the rules say.

The permits are subject to renewal every 3 years and operators who commit “major” violations may be banned from providing online video content for 5 years.

This means that not only sites like YouTube, or the popular China-based Tudou.com will be affected, but most likely file-sharing sites that allow users to exchange videos widely popular in China like “Prison Break” and “24.”