The Chinese Ministry of Culture has issued guidelines on the development and management of "network music", saying that all the imported network music products distributed in China must be approved and registered by the ministry.
The term "network music" refers to music products distributed by wired or wireless means. It is mainly online music, played or downloaded from the internet, and mobile music provided by mobile phone servers.
The guidelines state that network music must be imported by legal units approved by the ministry. Any person or organization which distributes imported network music without approval will be punished by cultural authorities, and their websites investigated by communication departments.
Domestic music products aiming for network distribution only must register with the Ministry of Culture.
The guidelines ban the establishment of network entertainment firms funded by foreign investors. Other business engaged in network music must get approval from the ministry.
It says network music based on music products copied or composed by netizens for non-profit purposes must be monitored more closely, and calls for a civilized and healthy network culture.
Network music businesses which are already engaged in distributing music must register with the ministry by March 1, 2007.