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China bars most short video creators from using movie and TV content

Written by Jiaxing Li Published on   2 mins read

Major tech companies have already clashed in court over the usage of clips lifted from TV shows and video games in short videos.

China will ban edited content that contains scenes from movies and TV shows in short videos, industry supervisors said on Wednesday, effectively eliminating clusters of popular videos in a move that introduces a tighter regulatory environment for China’s video industry.

Short videos that compile or adapt clips from movies, TV shows, and web series will be taken offline if they were not produced with the copyright holders’ authorization, China Netcasting Services Association (CNSA) said when it released updated review guidelines for online short videos. CNSA said the new regulations will improve the content quality of the video industry and shape clean and clear online content.

Fan culture and crypto-related videos will also be blacklisted, according to the guidelines.

Videos involving scenes from movies and TV shows, such as compilations and fan-made contributions, account for around 20% of all content on Chinese short video platforms, Zhang Yi, an analyst from data compilation firm iiMedia Research, told KrASIA.

Major short video apps including Douyin and Kuaishou will implement stricter content reviews to avoid non-compliance, but significant portions of their content will be taken down.

Faced with an increasingly competitive market and a slew of new regulatory demands, China’s video platforms have stumbled this year. Kuaishou’s share price in Hong Kong has slumped by over 80% from a peak in February. iQiyi saw its number of subscribers drop this year as consumers stopped using the platform in favor of short videos.

Some companies have already clashed in court over intellectual property rights. ByteDance was involved in multiple copyright disputes with Tencent related to short video content that utilized clips from video games and TV shows. In August, ByteDance’s TikTok sibling Douyin took down thousands of user-generated videos related to a television series produced by Tencent Video.

Video streaming platforms are struggling to keep up with the popularity of short video apps. After releasing an underwhelming Q3 financial report, iQiyi reportedly cut over 30% of its workforce. To shore up revenue while its user base shrinks, iQiyi announced on Wednesday that it will increase its subscription fees by more than 10%.


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