Administrative Provisions on Internet-based Audio-visual Program Services(Revised in 2015)

By Rich BishopPublished on Aug 3, 2021
Administrative Provisions on Internet-based Audio-visual Program Services(Revised in 2015)

Effective Date: 08/28/2015

Source: State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television

Chinese Title: 互联网视听节目服务管理规定(2015修订)

Administrative Provisions on Internet-based Audio-visual Program Services(Revised in 2015)

(Promulgated under Decree [2007] No. 56 of the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television and the Ministry of Information Industry on December 20, 2007, and revised on August 28, 2015 according to the Decision on Revisions to Some Regulations and Normative Documents)

Article 1 These Provisions are enacted in accordance with the relevant regulations of the state in order to safeguard national interests and public interests, protect the legitimate rights and interests of the general public and Internet-based audio-visual program service providers, regulate the Internet-based audio-visual program service order and promote its healthy and orderly development.

Article 2 These Provisions shall apply to the provision of audio-visual program services to the general public via the internet (including mobile internet, hereinafter referred to as the “internet”) within the territory of the People’s Republic of China.For the purpose of these Provisions, the term “Internet-based audio-visual program services” refers to the activities of producing, editing and integrating audio-visual programs, providing them to the general public via the internet, and providing people with the service of uploading and spreading audio-visual programs.

Article 3 As the competent department of the Internet-based audio-visual program service industry, the competent department of radio, film and television under the State Council is responsible for supervising and administering Internet-based audio-visual program services, and making overall arrangements on the industrial development, industrial management, content development and safety supervision regarding Internet-based audio-visual program services. As the competent department of the internet industry, the competent department of information industry under the State Council shall supervise and administer Internet-based audio-visual program services in accordance with its management responsibility in the telecommunication industry.The competent departments of radio, film and television under the local people’s governments and the local telecommunication administrative authorities shall ex officio supervise and administer Internet-based audio-visual program service entities and internet access services within their respective administrative areas.

Article 4 As an important force for the construction of the network culture undertaking the responsibility for building a network culture with Chinese characteristics and maintaining the safety of network cultural information, Internet-based audio-visual program service entities and network operators related thereto shall conscientiously abide by the constitution, laws and administrative regulations and subject themselves to the administration of the competent departments of the Internet-based audio-visual program service industry and the competent departments of the internet industry.

Article 5 The national social group that is composed of Internet-based audio-visual program service entities is responsible for formulating the self-regulation rules for the industry, advocating the people to surf and operate internet in a civilized manner, creating a civilized and healthy network environment, spreading healthy and beneficial audio-visual programs, resisting the spread of decadent and backward thoughts and culture, and carrying out activities under the guidance of the competent department of radio, film and television under the State Council.

Article 6 In developing Internet-based audio-visual program services, it is imperative to follow the principle of being conducive to the spread of the advanced socialist culture, pushing for the all-round progress of the society and all-round development of the people, and promoting social harmony. In engaging in Internet-based audio-visual program services, it is imperative to follow the principle of serving the people and socialism, sticking to correct directions, putting social benefits in the first place, building a socialist core value system, observing socialist moral norms, making great efforts to advocate the thoughts and culture that reflect the development of the era and social progress as well as excellent ethical cultural traditions, and providing more and better Internet-based audio-visual programs, so as to satisfy the people’s ever increasing demand, continuously enrich their spiritual culture life, give full play to the culture’s role in nourishing the people’s soul, cultivating their taste and pleasing their body and mind, create a network environment conducive to the growth of teenagers and forming a spiritual garden built and shared by all.

Article 7 Whoever intends to engage in Internet-based audio-visual program services shall, in accordance with these Provisions, obtain a Permit for Spreading Audio-Visual Programs via Information Network (hereinafter referred to as the “Permit”) issued by the competent department of radio, film and television, or go through the record-filing formalities.No entity or individual is allowed to engage in Internet-based audio-visual program services before obtaining the Permit issued by the competent department of radio, film and television or completing the record-filing formalities.

The catalogue for the guidance of Internet-based audio-visual program services shall be formulated by the competent department of radio, film and television under the State Council after consultation with the competent department of information industry under the State Council.

Article 8 An applicant for engaging in Internet-based audio-visual program services shall meet all of the following conditions:

(1) it is a wholly state-owned entity or a state-controlled entity, and has not committed any illegality or irregularity within the three years before the date of application;

(2) it has a sound management system for the safe spread of programs and safety protection technology and measures;

(3) It has the audio-visual program resources that is compatible with the services it provides and in compliance with the relevant provision of the state;

(4) it has the technical capacity and network resources;

(5) it has the technical personnel that are compatible with the services it provides, and neither its major investors nor its operators have committed any illegality or irregularity within the three years before the date of application;

(6) its technical scheme meets the relevant national standards, industrial standards and technical norms;

(7) it conforms to the overall planning, layout and catalogue for the guidance of Internet-based audio-visual program services determined by the competent department of radio, film and television under the State Council; and

(8) other conditions as prescribed by laws, administrative regulations and other relevant provisions of the state.

Article 9 An applicant for engaging in radio, film and television modality service or audio-visual news service about current events and political affairs shall, in addition to meeting the conditions as specified in Article 8 herein, obtain a permit for radio and television broadcasting institutions or a permit for internet news information service. If audio-visual programs are to be broadcasted through a self-established channel, an application shall be filed by the broadcasting station, television station or central news entity at the prefecture (municipal) level or above.An applicant for engaging in audio-visual services about hosting, interviewing and reporting shall, in addition to meet the conditions as specified in Article 8 herein, obtain a permit for production and operation of radio and television programs and a permit for internet news information service; an applicant for engaging in self-produced network play (film) service shall obtain a permit for production and operation of radio and television programs.

Without approval, no organization or individual may provide services via the internet by using the proprietary name of any radio or television station.

Article 10 An application for the Permit shall be filed through the competent department of radio, film and television under the people’s government of the province, autonomous region or centrally-administered municipality with the competent department of radio, film and television under the State Council, and centrally-administered entities may directly file the application with the competent department of radio, film and television under the State Council.The competent department of radio, film and television under the people’s government of the province, autonomous region or centrally-administered municipality shall provide convenient services, and within 20 days from the date of receipt of the application, put forward the preliminary examination opinions and submit the same to the competent department of radio, film and television under the State Council for examination and approval; the competent department of radio, film and television under the State Council shall, within 40 days from the date of receipt of the application or preliminary examination opinions, make a decision on whether to approve the application or not, and among the said 40 days, the time limit for expert evaluation shall be 20 days. If the application is approved, a Permit shall be issued to the applicant and an announcement shall be made thereon; if the application is disproved, the applicant shall be notified of the result, with the reasons for disproval explained in writing. The items such as the broadcasting sign, name and service category of the Internet-based audio-visual program shall be stated in the Permit.

A Permit will remain valid for three years. If the holder intends to continue engaging in Internet-based audio-visual program services after the Permit expires, it shall, within 30 days prior to expiry of the Permit, apply to the original permit-issuing organ for renewal by presenting the materials proving that it meet the conditions as specified in Article 8 herein.

Where a radio or television station at the prefecture (municipal) level or above intends to engage in Internet-based audio-visual program re-broadcasting service, it shall go through the record-filing formalities at the competent department of radio, film and television at the provincial level or above. Where a central news entity intends to engage in such service, it shall go through the record-filing formalities at the competent department of radio, film and television under the State Council. The radio or television station or central new entity that has handled the record-filing formalities shall, 30 days before broadcasting its program, submit its website address, name of its website, radio or television channel to be re-broadcasted, name of its program and other relevant record-filing materials, and the competent department of radio, film and television shall announce the record-filing information to the public.

Article 11 An entity that has obtained the Permit shall, in accordance with the Administrative Measures on Internet-based Information Services, apply to the telecommunication administrative authority of the province (autonomous region, or centrally-administered municipality) or the competent department of information industry under the State Council (hereinafter referred to as the “competent department of telecommunication”) for obtaining a permit for telecommunication operation or handling the relevant record-filing formalities, and go through the formalities for registration or registration modification at the administrative department for industry and commerce according to law. The competent department of telecommunication shall, according to the permits issued by the competent department of radio, film and television, exercise strict administration over the domain names and IP addresses of Internet-based audio-visual program service entities.

Article 12 Where an Internet-based audio-visual program service entity changes its shareholder or equity structure, or undergoes a major change in its assets, or it is listed or has any other important fund-raising acts, and its businesses after such change go beyond the scope of business indicated in its Permit, it shall go through the formalities for examination and approval in accordance with these Provisions. Where the business place or legal representative of an internet audio-video program service entity or the website address or name of an internet-based information service entity is changed according to law, the entity shall file such change for record with the competent department of radio, film and television and the competent department of telecommunication at the provincial level or above within 15 days after the change, and if the change involves industrial and commercial registration, it shall go through the registration modification formalities with the administrative department for industry and commerce in accordance with the law.

Article 13 An Internet-based audio-visual program service entity shall, within 90 days after obtaining the Permit, provide Internet-based audio-visual program services. If it fails to do so within the prescribed time limit, its Permit shall be deregistered by the original permit-issuing organ. If the entity cannot provide such services due to special reasons, it shall obtain the consent of the original permit-issuing organ. To apply for terminating its services, the entity shall apply to the original permit-issuing organ 60 days in advance, and its Permit shall be deregistered by the original permit-issuing organ. If the entity has suspended its services for over 60 consecutive days, the original permit-issuing organ shall treat the act as an application for terminating its services, and its Permit shall be deregistered by the original permit-issuing organ.

Article 14 An Internet-based audio-visual program service entity shall, according to the items as stated in the Permit or filed for record, provide Internet-based audio-visual program services, and show at an eye-catching place of the broadcasting interface the broadcasting sign approved by the competent department of radio, film and television under the State Council, name of the program, and the serial number of the Permit or the record-filing number.No entity is allowed to provide any entities which have obtained the Permit or have not been filed for record with any financial and technical services related to Internet-based audio-visual program services such as collection of fees on an agency basis, signal transmission or server custody.

Article 15 Domestic strategic investors are encouraged to invest in Internet-based audio-visual program service providers; Internet-based audio-visual program service providers are encouraged to actively develop new services adaptable to the characteristics of the new generation of internet and mobile communication, produce positive and healthy audio-visual programs for mobile multimedia and multimedia websites and strive to enhance the capacity of providing Internet-based audio-visual programs; film and television production bases and television program production entities are encouraged to produce more films, television dramas and entertainment programs suitable for being transmitted online and actively develop the domestic online film and television industry; Internet-based audio-visual program service providers are encouraged to transmit public welfare audio-visual programs.Internet-based audio-visual program service providers shall abide by the laws and administrative regulations governing copyrights and take copyright protection measures to protect the legitimate rights and interests of copyright owners.

Article 16 Audio-visual programs provided by Internet-based audio-visual program service providers and to which network operators have access shall be in compliance with laws, administrative regulations and ministerial rules. Audio-visual programs that have been broadcasted shall be retained intact for at least sixty days. An audio-visual program shall not contain any of the following contents:

(1) content in violation of the fundamental principles established in the Constitution;

(2) content endangering the unification, sovereignty, or territorial integrity of the state;

(3) content divulging state secrets, endangering national security, or damaging the honor and interests of the state;

(4) content inciting ethnic hatred or racial discrimination, undermining unity among ethnic groups, or violating the customs and habits of minority ethnic groups;

(5) content propagating heresy or superstition;

(6) content disrupting social order, or undermining social stability;

(7) content inducing minors to commit an illegal act or crime or advocating any violent, pornographic, gambling or terrorist acts;

(8) content insulting or slandering others, or infringing upon the legitimate rights and interest of others such as the personal privacy of citizens;

(9) endangering the social morality, or damaging the fine cultural traditions of the state; and

(10) other contents prohibited by relevant laws, administrative regulations and provisions of the state.

Article 17 Film and television drama programs and other programs used for Internet-based audio-visual program services shall be in compliance with the provisions of the state regarding the administration of radio, film and television programs. Audio-visual programs about current political news to be broadcasted by Internet-based audio-visual program service providers shall be the programs produced or broadcasted by radio or television stations at the prefecture (municipal) level or above or the audio-visual programs about current political news published on the websites of central news agencies.Any entity not holding the permit shall not provide any individuals with the service of uploading and spreading audio-visual programs. Internet-based audio-visual programs service providers shall not allow any individuals to upload audio-visual programs about current political news and shall, at the time of providing the service of uploading and spreading audio-visual programs such as podcasting and video sharing, remind all uploaders not to upload any audio-visual programs that violate these Provisions. No entity or individual is allowed to rebroadcast, create links for, aggregate or integrate any programs on illegal radio or television channels or audio-visual program websites.

Article 18 In the event of finding that an Internet-based audio-visual program service provider transmits any audio-visual program which violates these Provisions, the competent department of radio, film and television shall take necessary measures to stop the act. The Internet-based audio-visual program service provider shall immediately delete the audio-visual program which violates these Provisions, keep the relevant records, perform its reporting obligation and implement the administrative requirements of the relevant competent department.Major investors and operators of Internet-based audio-visual program service providers shall be responsible for the contents of audio-visual programs that are broadcasted and uploaded.

Article 19 Internet-based audio-visual program service providers shall provide services to the network operators that have obtained a permit for engaging in internet access services and telecommunication services or a permit for engaging in radio and television program transmission services; Internet-based audio-visual program service providers shall protect the rights of users according to law, fulfill the commitments they have made to their users and keep confidential the information about their users, and shall not engage in false publicity, mislead their users, or make any provisions which are unfair or unreasonable for their users, damaging the legitimate rights or interests of their users; Internet-based audio-visual program service providers shall, at the time of providing any paid services, publicize in a notable manner the types, scope and charge standards of as well as the time limits for broadcasting of audio-visual programs and inform the users of the conditions and manners to suspend or cancel Internet-based audio-visual program services.

Article 20 At the time of providing Internet-based audio-visual program signal transmission services, network operators shall safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of audio-visual program service providers and ensure the security of transmission and shall not insert or intercept any audio-visual program signals without approval. Before providing such services, network operators shall examine the Permit or supporting documents for record-filing of audio-visual program service providers and provide internet access services according to the items stated in the Permit or within the scope of services filed for record.

Article 21 The competent departments of radio, film and television and the competent departments of telecommunication shall establish a system for supervision and reporting. The public is entitled to report any illegalities or irregularities committed by audio-visual program service providers, and upon receipt of the reports, the relevant competent departments shall deal with such acts in a timely manner without any prevarication. Where regulatory departments of radio, film and television, telecommunication, etc. find that a violation of these Provisions is beyond their authority, they shall transfer the case to the department which have the power to handle.The competent departments of telecommunication shall, according to the relevant provisions of the state, provide the competent departments of radio, film and television with the necessary technical system interface and information on website data inquiry.

Article 22 Relevant entities and individuals shall cooperate in the on-site inspections conducted by the competent departments of radio, film and television over Internet-based audio-visual program service providers in accordance with the law, while the staff members of the competent departments of radio, film and television shall voluntarily present their documents.

Article 23 Where an entity commits any of the following acts in violation of these Provisions, the competent department of radio, film and television at the county level or above shall give the entity a warning and order it to make correction, and may impose on it a fine of not more than 30,000 yuan; in addition, the competent department of radio, film and television may give a warning to the major investors and operators of the entity and impose on them a fine of not more than 20,000 yuan:

(1) providing services via the internet by using the proprietary name of any radio or television station without approval;

(2) failing to go through the formalities for examination and approval in the event of changing its shareholders or equity structure, seeking financing by listing on the stock market, or undergoes a major change in its assets;

(3) failing to establish sound program operation rules, take copyright protection measures or perform the obligation of hinting, deleting or reporting any harmful content to be transmitted;

(4) failing to show in an eye-catching place of the broadcasting interface the broadcasting sign, the name of the program, the serial number of the Permit and the record-filing number;

(5) failing to perform the obligations of keeping the program records and providing the competent departments with easy access to such records;

(6) providing any entities that have obtained the Permit or have not been filed for record with any services relating to Internet-based audio-visual program services such as collection of fees on an agency basis, signal transmission or server custody;

(7) failing to perform the obligation of inspection, or providing any Internet-based audio-visual program service providers with access services beyond the scope of items specified in its Permit or record-filing documents;

(8) engaging in false publicity or misleading its users;

(9) divulging the private information of its users without their consent;

(10) an Internet-based audio-visual service provider has committed irregularities for three times within a year;

(11) refusing to cooperate with, obstructing, delaying the competent department of radio, film and television in conducting supervision and inspection according to law or practicing fraud during the said competent department’s supervision and inspection; or

(12) obtaining the Permit by providing false certificates or documents or other fraudulent means.Where an entity commits the practice specified in Item (12) of this Article, the permit-issuing authority shall revoke its Permit.

Article 24 Where an entity engages in Internet-based audio-visual program services without approval, the competent department of radio, film and television at the county level or above shall give the entity a warning and order it to make correction, and may impose on it a fine of not more than 30,000 yuan; if the circumstances are serious, penalties shall be imposed on the entity in accordance with Article 47 of the Administrative Rules on Radio and Television.Where the content of an audio-visual program transmitted by an entity is in violation of these Provisions, the competent department of radio, film and television at the county level or above shall give the entity a warning and order it to make correction, and may impose on it a fine of not more than 30,000 yuan; if the circumstances are serious, penalties shall be imposed on the entity in accordance with Article 49 of the Administrative Rules on Radio and Television.

Where an entity fails to engage in Internet-based audio-visual program services according to the items specified in its Permit or record-filing documents or broadcasts an audio-visual program about current political news in violation of the relevant provisions, the competent department of radio, film and television at the county level or above shall give the entity a warning and order it to make correction, and may impose on it a fine of not more than 30,000 yuan; if the circumstances are serious, penalties shall be imposed on the entity in accordance with Article 50 of the Administrative Rules on Radio and Television.

Where an entity rebroadcasts, creates links for, aggregates or integrates the content on any illegal radio or television channels or audio-visual program websites, or insert or intercept any audio-visual program signals without approval, the competent department of radio, film and television at the county level or above shall give the entity a warning and order it to make correction, and may impose on it a fine of not more than 30,000 yuan; if the circumstances are serious, penalties shall be imposed on the entity in accordance with Article 51 of the Administrative Rules on Radio and Television.

Article 25 Where an Internet-based audio-visual program service provider violates these Provisions, the competent department of telecommunication shall, on the basis of the written opinions given by the competent department of radio, film and television and according to the laws and administrative regulations governing telecommunication management and internet management, close down its website, revoke its Permit or cancel its record-filing, and order the network operator that provide the entity with signal access services to cease such services; if the said network operator refuses to implement the decision on cessation of such services, which is in violation of Article 57 of the Telecommunication Regulations, the competent department of telecommunication shall revoke its Permit in accordance with Article 78 of the Telecommunication Regulations.Where an entity violates the provisions on public security administration, the public security organ shall impose penalties on the entity in accordance with the law; if a crime is constituted, the judicial organ shall investigate the entity for criminal liability in accordance with the law.

Article 26 Where the competent department of radio, film and television or telecommunication, or any other competent department fails to perform the duties assigned to it or abuses its power, the relevant responsible persons shall be punished in accordance with the law; and if a crime is constituted, the judicial organ shall investigate such persons for criminal liability.

Article 27 Where an Internet-based audio-visual program service provider commits any serious illegality or irregularity, in addition to penalties imposed according to the relevant provisions, its major investors and operators will not be allowed to invest or engage in Internet-based audio-visual program services within five years from the date on which the Internet-based audio-visual program service provider is penalized.

Article 28 The provision of instant audio-visual communication services via the internet shall be supervised and administered by the competent department of information industry under the State Council.Where an entity intends to provide network audio-visual program services by making use of intranet or virtual private network set up via the internet, it shall file an application with the competent department of the relevant industry. The application shall be subject to ex-anti approval by the competent department of information industry under the State Council and then subject to examination and approval by the competent department of radio, film and television under the State Council. The services provided by the said entity shall be supervised and administered in accordance with the relevant provisions of the state.

Article 29 These Provisions shall take effect on 31 January 2008. In case of any discrepancy between the provisions previously issued and these Provisions, these Provisions shall prevail.

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