China to curb illegal Olympic broadcasts

August 5th, 2008 - 3:46 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Aug 5 (DPA) China has set up a surveillance team which will monitor more than 200 websites round-the-clock to prevent illegal broadcast of Olympic events - a move it believes necessary in a country with a big piracy problem. The team will maintain watch on 216 Chinese websites, looking out for illegal webcast transmissions of the competitions, the China Daily quoted Yan Xiaohong, vice minister of the National Copyright Administration of China (NCAC) as saying.

If violations are detected, the administration will notify the copyright authorities to order the site to delete the content within half an hour or ask local Internet supervision management offices to shut down the website.

Only broadcasts authorised by the International Olympic Committee or, the official online broadcaster, will be allowed.

“China is in a transitional period in terms of IPR protection awareness, so we still face many challenges with regard to piracy,” Xu Chao, deputy director of the NCAC’s copyright management department, was quoted as saying.

Violators could also face fines or have their servers shut down, or equipment and facilities confiscated, Xu said.

Firms that earn more than $4,400 dollars from unauthorised broadcasts will be prosecuted and people involved could face prison sentences of one to seven years, said Xu.

Webcasts of Olympic-related programmes have become commonplace since the Olympic torch gathering ceremony on March 24 and the ensuing torch relay began.

More than 20 websites have been found engaging in illegal transmissions, according to a previous China Daily report.

Most of the websites immediately deleted the illegal content and those that failed to do so were shut down.

Games events that are protected include audio and video content of 3,800 hours of Olympic events, the opening and closing ceremonies, test events, cultural events before and after the Olympics, the Olympic flame gathering and torch relays.

The administration has encouraged the public to report Olympic piracy on its 12,390 anti-piracy telephone hotlines.

Piracy remains a serious problem although China’s government, under pressure from other countries, has made efforts in recent years to crack down.

Movies, clothes, tennis shoes and handbags are just some of the many things pirated in China.

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