Telecoms and Internet service providers (ISPs) that fail to comply with government regulations to block broadcasts from illegal over-the-top (OTT) service operators from China could face a fine of up to NT$5 million (US$1.69 million), according to a draft Internet audiovisual service management act passed by the National Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday.
Details of the draft act are scheduled to be announced next week after the wording of its articles is reviewed by NCC commissioners, it said, adding that the act would be subject to a 60-day public review period afterward.
Regarding Chinese Internet audiovisual service operators that operate in Taiwan illegally without securing permission in accordance with the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (臺灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例), the draft act states that Taiwanese telecoms and ISPs should not offer them telecommunication service or equipment, data center services, content delivery network services or cloud services, the commission said.
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They should also comply with government regulations to block the broadcast of Chinese operators’ content in the nation, it added.
Industry observers said that the draft act specifically targets Chinese OTT operators iQiyi.com (愛奇藝) and Tencent Video (騰訊視頻), which the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) had ruled as illegal audiovisual service operators based on the act regulating cross-strait affairs.
Although operating illegally in Taiwan, iQiyi has about 6 million subscribers across the nation, they said.
The nation’s ISPs and other relevant service providers must not help OTT operators transmit content so long as the MAC deems them as contravening the cross-strait act, NCC spokesperson Hsiao Chi-hung (蕭祈宏) said.
Those assisting them in doing so could face a fine of NT$500,000 to NT$5 million, he said.
Meanwhile, the draft act would require OTT operators with large-scale operations or significant market influence to register with the government, which would make public the names of the operators, the commission said.
Operators that fail to register with the government after their names are publicized would be fined between NT$100,000 and NT$1 million, it added.
In addition, OTT operators that have registered with the government would be obligated to regularly report key business information to the NCC, from the number of subscribers they have to their sales revenue, the commission said.
They must join or form an OTT service association and follow the ethical guidelines set by the association, it added.
“The OTT operators must annually disclose the percentages of local content on their platforms that are produced by themselves or through partnerships with local content providers. The Ministry of Culture would determine the subsidies and other incentives available to them based on the disclosed percentages,” the commission said.
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