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    Parodies, Remixes, Recaps Under Fire From Media Watchdog

    New regulation bans spoofs of ‘classic’ works, but does not specify what counts as a classic.

    Many comedic cover songs and fan videos could soon disappear from Chinese platforms following a new regulation on online content.

    The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT), has issued a notice tightening its grip on the country’s thriving video sector. The new regulation — dated March 16 but reported by state news agency Xinhua on Thursday — bans unauthorized reproductions that cut, mix, recaption, or redub original works.

    The notice targets online spoof videos, particularly those that “distort, parody, or vilify” classic works — though the document does not specify what constitutes a classic. Video-streaming platforms must not publish content with “problems in [ideological] orientation, copyright, or content,” the regulation says.

    Earlier this year, state media outlets including Xinhua and People’s Daily criticized an irreverent parody of the “Yellow River Cantata,” a patriotic song composed in 1939 during the Second Sino-Japanese War. In January, major platforms removed 3,898 videos that made fun of revolutionary anthems on orders from the Ministry of Culture, Xinhua reported.

    The new regulation also strengthens supervision over trailers and clips for new works, stressing that platforms must not air unlicensed, unregistered, or unapproved film and television programs, nor their trailers.

    Fans worry that vloggers and platforms known for such content will take a hit. Recappers, for example, rely on trailers for movies, television shows, and video games, over which they provide entertaining voiceover commentary. “Will you disappear?” one upvoted comment asked on a video by Taiwanese blogger Gu Amo that condenses the plot of 2013 fantasy movie “Pacific Rim” to four minutes.

    Others expressed their concerns about Bilibili, a streaming site that hosts many user-made spoofs of various media productions, though the wording of the official notice hasn’t made it clear whether such content would go against regulations. Bilibili remains online and has not made any public statements about the regulation.

    However, one production team called Yuehoujixia, which have more than 1.4 million followers on Bilibili, posted on their Weibo microblog on Thursday that they had deleted all their film review videos “to comply with relevant policies and regulations.” As of Friday, the team’s Bilibili profile shows only four videos.

    Editor: Qian Jinghua.

    (Header image: Visitors view paintings themed around the Sino-Japanese War at a museum in Wuhan, Hubei province, April 28, 2010. Sun Xinmin/VCG)