Investors that have poured $80 million into Chinese video site Youku can breathe a sigh of relief. The video sharing site, one of three vying to become the “Chinese YouTube,” was granted a video licence from the Chinese government this week, according to CEO Victor Koo.
This is a big deal: China’s State Administration of Radio, Film and Television granted 247 video licenses this spring to the likes of Sina.com and CCTV.com, but hadn’t yet granted licenses to any of the top-three video sharing sites: Tudou, Youku, or 56.com.
It means Youku is less likely to suffer the fate of 56.com, which has been shut down for more than a month. A notice on 56.com’s site blames server problems, but many suspect the Chinese government pulled the plug for pirated video or other content deemed innapropriate.
To avoid this problem, Koo says Youku inspects all uploaded video before it is offered for public view. He said the company is also working with state-owned CCTV to see that no official Olympics video appears on the site.
Weeks before the start of the Olympics, the Chinese government is stepping up enforcement. China Tech News reports that China’s National Copyright Administration ordered 20 sites to take down unauthorised video of the Olympic torch relay. The maximum fine is CNY 100,000 or $14,600 per violation, or if serious, criminal liability.
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