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The Administration Rules on the Dissemination of Audio and Visual Programs over the Internet or Other Information Networks - 2003

(promulgated by the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television of the People's Republic of China)


Article 1 The Rules have been promulgated to regulate AV programs over information networks, to enhance the supervision and administration thereof, and promote the development of socialist spiritual civilization.
Article 2 The Rules shall apply to the operation of AV program channels or columns that broadcast (including broadcasting on-demand) AV programs and/or current affairs, rebroadcast and/or live broadcast radio and/or television programs, and rebroadcast and/or live broadcast sports events, performances and other activities.
The operation of radio and television channels over the radio and television communication overlay network by radio and television broadcasting organizations shall be governed and regulated by the PRC Regulations for the Administration of Radio and Television and the Rules are not applicable thereto.
Article 3 The term 'information networks' as used in the Rules shall mean the information communication systems connected by wire or wireless links by satellite, microwave, optical fiber, coaxial-cable, twisted-pair and other physical means and constructed over the Internet or other software platforms.
The term 'AV programs' as used in the Rules shall include programs broadcast through radio, television, movies and other similar means, consisting of pictures that are in continuous motion or sounds that can be continuously tuned into.
The term "Dissemination of AV programs over information networks" shall mean the activities involved in having AV programs posted on the network or transmitted to the general public as end-users for review online or for download and review, including flow media, Internet broadcasting, digital broadcasting, IP broadcasting and AV programs on demand.
The term "the Disseminators" shall mean the organizations that produce, arrange and disseminate AV programs to the general public over the information networks.
The term "network operators" shall mean the organizations that provide software and hardware platforms for the information networks.
Article 4 The State Administration Radio, Film and Television ("the SARFT") is the authority responsible for the planning of the dissemination of AV programs over information networks and determining the overall numbers, distribution and structure of the Disseminators.
In principle, only one underlying entity of the Ministries, Bureau or Commissions under the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party or the State Council can engage in the dissemination of AV programs over the information networks. Only one entity or enterprise out of the enterprises and non-profit entities that are the subsidiaries to, held or controlled by the China Radio, Film and Television Group (excluding the Central People's Radio of China, CCTV and China Radio International) can engage in such activities.
The Radio, Film and Television Administrative Authorities ("RFTA authorities") at various levels shall, pursuant to the SARFT's development plans, formulate their own development plans of such activities in their respective territory and be responsible for the supervision and administration of such activities thereof.

Article 5 The SARFT shall control the dissemination of AV programs over information networks by licensing. Such activities must obtain the license for online dissemination of AV programs ("the Online Dissemination License").
Article 6 The SARFT divides the AV programs into four categories to which different administrations are exercised: current affairs; movies and TELEVISION dramas; entertainment, including music, traditional dramas, sports and performing arts; specialty shows, including science and technology, education, health care, business and finance, weather, military affairs, legal affairs etc.

Article 7 The following conditions must be met before commencing the operation of the business of disseminating AV programs over information networks:
7.1 satisfaction of the SARFT planning requirements, technical and management criteria;
7.2 sufficient capital, unencumbered equipment and office space corresponding with the proposed business capacity;
7.3 sufficient AV program resources that conform with government regulations and corresponding to the proposed business capacity;
7.4 being staffed with the necessary personnel; and
7.5 satisfaction of other requirements set out in the laws, regulations, or rules.
Specific requirements and conditions shall apply to different categories of programs respectively.
Article 8 In addition to the conditions set forth in Article 7 hereof, the dissemination of current affairs programs must also satisfy the following conditions:
8.1 Obtained approval from the State Council News Office and being qualified to disseminate news online; and
8.2 Held an Online Dissemination License for entertainment or specialty programs for more than three years, or have been incorporated as a news agency in accordance with relevant legislation for three years or more.
Article 9 In addition to the conditions set forth in Article 7 hereof, the dissemination of movies and soap opera programs shall be required to also meet the following conditions:
9.1 Having held the Online Dissemination License for entertainment programs for two years or more;
9.2 Having been incorporated as a film and TELEVISION production business in accordance with the relevant legislation for three years or more.

Article 10 Any enterprise that commences the business of disseminating AV programs over information networks must be supervised by an administrative authority (above the regional level propaganda authorities in the fields of radio and television, current affairs, publishing or cultural affairs).

Article 11 Applications for commencing the business of disseminating AV programs over information networks must first be examined and approved by provincial administration authorities for radio, film and TELEVISION before being submitted to SARFT for further examination and approval. Enterprises that are directly under the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party or the State Council may submit the application directly to the SARFT.
The SARFT will issue the Online Dissemination License to qualified applicants. Once such a license is issued, the disseminators must only carry out the dissemination of program online in accordance with the logos, dissemination media and pattern, scope and categories of programs as prescribed in the On-line Dissemination License. Any modification of such details shall be required to undergo the examination and approval of modification procedures as described above.
Article 12 After the Online Dissemination License is issued, if the enterprise changes its name, address, URL or domain name of its websites, or its legal representatives, the enterprise must apply to the previous licensing issuing authorities for a new license embodying such change within 30 days of the date of such changes.

Article 13 The application procedures of launching the dissemination of AV programs over information networks shall be carried out by the sponsoring entities in accordance with the Rules. After obtaining the relevant approval from SARFT, enterprises undertaking such activities must register with industry and commerce administration authorities.

Article 14 The radio and TELEVISION stations are encouraged to disseminate their programs over the Internet.

Article 15 The entities that have been granted the Licenses shall commence the dissemination of programs within one year after the date of the License; the issuing authorities revoke the License if such entities fail to commence dissemination within this period of time.

Article 16 The state government shall undertake an annual review of all Online Dissemination Licenses.
The Online Dissemination License shall remain valid for a term of three years. During this term, the entities granted with Licenses shall submit their annual review reports and undergo the relevant review procedures within prescribed periods. If an entity is assessed as failing to meet License requirements in the annual review, it will be given a period of time to rectify the situation. If the rectifications are assessed as being inadequate, the License may be revoked. Any failure to participate in the annual review process will render the Licenses void and abated. Applications for the renewal of a License must be made sixty days before the existing License expires.aŁ¤
The detailed rules for annual reviews shall be promulgated separately by SARFT.

Article 17 Owners and/or operators of information networks must not in any manner rent or assign their networks to any unlicensed entities to disseminate AV programs to the general public, and must not provide unlicensed entities the network software and hardware platforms or other services related to the dissemination of AV programs.
Domestic Internet websites must not provide links to the AV programs of either domestic unlicensed websites or foreign websites.
Article 18 The current affairs AV programs disseminated over the information networks are limited to the programs that are produced and broadcast by domestic radio and TELEVISION stations, and broadcasting TELEVISION stations.
The movies and television drama programs disseminated over the information networks must be television dramas granted with TELEVISION Drama Distribution Licenses, or movies granted with Public Release Licenses for Dramatic Motion Pictures.
The entertainment and specialty programs disseminated by entities other than radio and TELEVISION stations, and broadcasting TELEVISION stations should, in principle, be such programs produced and broadcast by radio and TELEVISION stations, and broadcasting TELEVISION stations, or programs that are developed from the previous programs of radio and TELEVISION stations, and broadcasting TELEVISION stations and edited by the Disseminators. Live broadcast, rebroadcast, or other exploitation of the programs of radio stations, TELEVISION stations and broadcasting TELEVISION station shall be subject to the consent by such stations thereto.
If disseminators have been authorized by legally incorporated educational entities or approved by provincial educational authorities to establish online tertiary education or vocational education organizations, Disseminators may apply to disseminate self-produced educational programs on certain authorized subjects and for certain professions.
An application for online live broadcasts of sports events, performances, major social events or interview shows must be submitted to local provincial SARTF authorities for approval twenty days before the date of such broadcasts.
Article 19 Information networks are prohibited from disseminating programs that:
19.1 violate the basic principles of the Constitution;
19.2 are detrimental to the national unity and integrity of sovereignty and territory;
19.3 disclose national confidential information, are detrimental to national security national dignity and interests;
19.4 instigate racial hatred, discrimination and unity, or infract racial customs and norms;
19.5 advocate evil idolatry and superstition;
19.6 cause social disorder and instability
19.7 disseminate obscenity, eroticism, gambling, violence, terrorism and abetment of crimes;
19.8 defame and insult other individuals in violation of their rights;
19.9 are detrimental to public morals or national excellent culture;
19.10 disseminate false information;
19.11 disseminate foreign programs collected from the networks or overseas media;
19.12 disseminate other content and information prohibited by law.
Article 20 The entities that are granted Online Dissemination Licenses shall establish comprehensive management rules governing the production and broadcasting of programs.

Article 21 The Radio, Film and Television authorities shall supervise and administrate the dissemination of AV programs over information networks through online surveillance and supervision, as well as reviewing reports from the general public.

Article 22 Radio, film and television authorities above the county level shall suspend any entities from continuing to carry out any of the following activities in violation of the Rules, as well as admonish and fine such entities pecuniary penalties not exceeding RMB 30, 000. If the activities also violate Public Security Regulations, the entities will be charged by Public Security authorities. Where the activities constitute a criminal offence, criminal charges will be laid in accordance with the relevant legislation.
22.1 Dissemination of AV programs over information networks without a License;
22.2 Dissemination of AV programs in violation of Articles 17, 18 and 19 hereof.
Article 23 The Rules shall take effect as of February 10, 2003.

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