CHINA TOPIX

Updated 11:29 AM EDT, Tue, Jun 16, 2020

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Living in a Boom Box? China Announces New Censorship Rules for Online Music

Chinese government will soon control songs available online

(Photo : Reuters)

If you are living in a boom box and constantly updating your playlists with new music, then better do it now before China hushes up some songs from online music services.

On Monday, China's Ministry of Culture (MoC) announced its new plan for the country's online music industry that will take effect from January 1 next year. As per the announcement, all online music services have been directed to eliminate songs in their libraries that contain sensitive materials. The MoC has clled for the formation of internal censorship departments in all Internet music or streaming platform companies. 

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The departments will be responsible for assessing all songs according to the regulations before they are released online. For content creators and uploaders, who repeatedly fail to comply with their rules, the censorship departments will create and maintain a "warning" list and a blacklist for them.

Companies will shoulder all the expenses this process entails such as hiring and training internal censors. If any company fails to adhere, it will be prosecuted under the new law. Companies like Sina Weibo are already quite acquainted to the new system as internal censorship has already been implemented in the social media sector.

No further details have been released about what type of content will be deemed acceptable or otherwise. However, companies that would most likely be affected include Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent and Apple - which launched a Music service in China two months ago.

The People's Republic has increased its control over the Internet. Steps taken by the authorities including censoring user content on social networks, mandating web service registration, blocking VPN services and placing police inside big technology companies.  It can be recalled that back in August, the government ordered the removal of 100 rap songs from the web as they allegedly "promote obscenity, violence, crime, or threaten public morality."

Despite these developments, experts in the music industry believe that China is becoming an important market particularly with the music streaming industry coming into the limelight and the growth of the country's middle class.

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