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Crackdown draws industry concerns

THE latest attempt by the government authorities to crack down on "low-brow" cyber content by banning Western films and TV shows from Internet sites drew immediate concern from site hosts, which said the rule could crimp the country's booming online audio and video industry.

"We have been notified of the new regulation, but we are still unclear about some details in its implementation," said an employee at, a popular video site much like, who would only give his surname, Zhang.

Zhang said had not yet deleted or banned uploads of foreign TV series or movie clips.

But some regular visitors to the site claimed that clips of some American TV series, such as "Desperate Housewives," had "temporarily vanished" on

Under a regulation issued by the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television last Tuesday, all domestic and foreign films, TV series, animation shows and documentaries transmitted online must be licensed by the media regulator.

Hearing of the regulator's move, fans began to sulk online. On, an online forum for foreign TV series, fans criticized the move.

The download page of the Website had earlier been closed during a crackdown on "low-brow" content in January.

"If I cannot watch American dramas on the Internet video Websites, the sites are of little interest to me," said a Netizen known as "Kenshin."

Other Netizens, however, supported the administration's regulation, calling it a good chance to crack down on illegal video sites, raise public awareness of copyright issues and try to protect intellectual property rights. and, another major site, both said they supported the regulation.

Zhang said the Website had been buying rights to TV series and films directly from distributors long before the regulation was issued.

"I sure hope banning foreign TV dramas is not the only step. Maybe the authorities would consider officially importing such TV series and giving them licenses to broadcast so that copyrights are protected and we fans can have our fun," he said.


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