Posted by: Bruce Einhorn on February 6, 2008
So much for that scare. Chinese regulators spooked the country’s would-be YouTubes last month with new rules that, on their face, seemed to require government ownership for any company showing video clips on the Net. At the time, I wrote about the worries that some of the operators had. (Here’s the link.)
But now it seems the entrepreneurs can enjoy their Year of the Rat celebrations in peace. The AP reports (here’s the story on BW.com) the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television and the Ministry of Information Industry, the two regulators that originally came out with the scary proposal, have issued a statement saying, essentially, never mind. “Companies that began operation legally before the regulation was issued and have not violated laws or regulations can be licensed and continue operating,” the statement said.
These sort of scares seem to happen every so often in China. A few rogue regulators come out with some draconian, impractical proposal. (Remember the one a few years ago when part of the government wanted all PC makers to dump WiFi and adopt a Chinese-made standard?) Then, after people complain and it becomes clear that the regulators didn’t take the time to check with those who would actually be affected by their policies, things go quiet for a while and eventually the regulators adjust their proposal or just allow it to disappear. The good news, often, is that in the end, the system works and bad ideas don’t become policy. But it’s not the most efficient way of doing business.