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December 14, 2006

China Culture Ministry Releases Rules for Web 2.0 Music and Online Games

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 12/14/2006 05:07:00 PM
China is increasingly looking anti-Web 2.0, which bodes poorly for the likes of MySpace, with its hopes of opening in China sometime next year. On Tuesday, the government said it's tightening controls over the online music and game industries, demanding that distributors report imported products directly to censors for approval.

The move, officially meant to encourage a "civilized and healthy" Internet, comes amid greater efforts to control media in general. The Culture Ministry, which posted the note on its Web site, says it's partly trying to protect Chinese companies from losing market share to foreign rivals. Sure.

The new rules apply to Web sites and mobile-phone companies that distribute foreign music. Chinese music doesn't have to be reported. Foreign-backed distributors have also been completely banned--so no iTunes and presumably, no MySpace Music, either. As for online games, distributors must also receive approval before releasing imported titles, filing monthly reports with censors to make sure they haven't added forbidden content. Politically sensitive, violent and sexually suggestive material are banned. Forget "Grand Theft Auto," but what about Second Life, the anything-goes-online world created by users? China has 23 million online game players, and revenue is supposed to be $850 million this year.

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