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ILN Today Post

GAPP Tightens Supervision of Web Publishing Services

On 19 December 2012, China’s General Administration of Press and Publication (“GAPP”) issued the Notice on the “Administrative Measures for Web Publishing Services” for Soliciting Public Opinions (Revised Draft for Comments) (“Draft Measures”) and set a deadline for submitting opinions no later than 10 January 2013.  Once the Draft Measures take effect, they will abolish the Interim Provisions on the Administration of Internet Publishing (Interim Provisions), issued in 2002.  The Draft Measures expand the scope of GAAP’s administrative purview to include potentially any information disseminated on the internet for public consumption (including, for example, online gaming) and are intended to enable GAAP to crack down on what it perceives as rampant unlawful web publishing in China (including, for example, Sino-foreign businesses using a “variable interest entity” structure).  An internet publishing service provider must have a valid Web Publishing Services License from GAAP, a fixed domain name and place of business and a clearly defined scope of business; its legal representative must be a Chinese national; it must satisfy certain personnel and capitalization requirements; its server(s) must be located in the PRC; and it must submit to an annual inspection procedure.  Foreign invested “operators” are expressly prohibited from engaging in the provision of web publishing services in China, and cooperation between a licensed web publishing service provider and an onshore or offshore enterprise with foreign investment involving web publishing services must submit to a security appraisal by GAAP.  The DraftMeasures significantly expand the content management requirements under the Interim Provisions, as well as the legal liability and penalties to which an internet publishing service provider is subject. More…

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