China seeks to order online music

September 2011

Internet, record labels

The Chinese Ministry of Culture has ordered domestic websites to cease streaming and download services for a list of over 100 songs which the Ministry has not authorised for the Internet saying “A website that is engaged in the operation of an online music product must go through procedures with the Ministry’s department of cultural markets” – the ministry operates a review procedure all foreign tracks and operates a registration system for domestic product. Li Jian, an official told reporters “the procedure is a bid to strike out copyright infringement and refine the order of the online cultural market”. Domestic search engines and websites have been told to review and cancel services dealing with the list of (unapproved) tracks, which features Lady Gaga and the Backstreet Boys by September 15th or face investigation and penalties. The registration system means that whichever website gains the first permission to use the track can then pass that permission on – other websites have to go to the first registrant for permission. Record industry executive have pointed out that they do not agree that once they have licensed a website to sell their music it can re-authorise others, that the “second” review of tracks was somewhat superfluous as all lyrics and album of recorded music on CDs covers must first pass through the General Administration of Press and Publicity office and that a system of penalties did not really favour labels who would not receive a share of any fines which as an administrative penalty are collected by the state

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