While US webcasters may think that they have legal issues – whether it be the Internet radio music royalties that have been such a concern (see our coverage, here) or the copyright and other liability issues that surround user-generated content on various websites (see our story here), they face nothing like new rules that were recently adopted for webcasters in China. The new rules require government permits from two separate Chinese government agencies before webcasting operations can begin. In addition, the rules appear to require ownership and control of webcasting operations by state-owned companies. A memo on these new rules, prepared by attorneys from Davis Wright Tremaine’s Shanghai office, can be found here.
These rules apply to streaming audio and video delivered to mobile and wireless devices. The rules also require yet another permit for sites that contain news content, and require taping of programs (a proposal made by our own FCC in connection with broadcast programs to monitor for indecency) to monitor for program content that may offend government requirements. Clearly, it’s a different system than that in place in the US – one which website operators interested in an operation in China should study carefully. Again, details can be found in the memo prepared by the attorneys in our Shanghai office.