The West would dearly love China to clamp down on Internet piracy, so when 10 video sites were recently banned by the Chinese government and 17 others were issued with warnings, it looked like some progress may have been made. It wasn’t to be.
According to a report from Xinhuanet, China’s State Administration of Radio Film and Television has taken action against 17 sites it claims violated various regulations, including the publishing of horrific, violent or pornographic content, and operating a video site without proper approval. None of the sites appeared to have been warned or shuttered due to piracy issues.
One of the sites that has been warned, VeryCD, is China’s largest eDonkey indexing site. In operation for around 5 years, it claims to link to more than 30 terabytes of data. VeryCD also operates a service known as MP3! which aims to be the world’s largest index of MP3 files, which would understandably attract some copyright action.
However, a visit to VeryCD appears to show the site pretty much intact and packed with links to the latest movies, music, games and software. So, it appears the site was warned, rather than banned. Details are scarce, what might it have been warned about if it is not related to copyright infringement?
Of course, pornographic content is available on eDonkey, that is one option. Another possibility lies in the list of complaints about the various sites – there is one which reads “spreading video programs that violate national regulations”. VeryCD actually created their own version of eMule, which has been downloaded more than 30 million times. Could that be the cause of the warning?
Whatever the problem, unusually for a file-sharing site, it wasn’t piracy.