Online Streaming and Regulations
With the internet harmonizing the world into a global village, Internet speeds have improved, and online streaming has emerged as a result. It is now possible to watch and listen to live events, without the need for any downloads. Smartphones and tablets have overtaken computers as the best way to access the internet, and the global mobile video traffic hit a record 4, 375,000 terabytes per month. The trend has continued into 2017, and it is expected to hit 7,225,123 terabytes per month. China and the USA are the leading countries with users streaming content on the internet.
However, there is the need to have policies in place to regulate offensive and illegal content. This is the mandate of the Online Content Scheme under both Schedule 5 and 7 of the Broadcasting Services Act of 1992. This is a necessary move to protect users from exposure to harmful material such as child pornography, terrorist acts, et al.
Prohibited Content for Online Streaming
Schedule 7 of the Act outlines RC (refused classification), MA15+, X18+, R18+, unless offered on a restricted access site as prohibited content for streaming. Non-compliance is a serious misdemeanor, and it can lead to individuals facing criminal charges. China is the latest country to pass laws that seek to enforce control over its rapidly growing online streaming industry.
The new Chinese rules have made it mandatory for Streaming Service Providers to get a permit from the Provisional Culture Affairs Centers and to display their license number in a conspicuous place on their site. The move came after the Cyberspace Administration of China found300 entities running online streaming of dubious content, airing unlicensed news broadcasts, et al.
As a rule of thumb, all sites that provide streaming facilities without the consent of the content developers is unlawful, and you could face legal action. In most cases, many of the sites that offer streaming content free of charge are doing it illegally.
Despite different countries having various laws on online streaming, the penalties for violating the laws do not differ much between countries. If found in breach of these regulations, you could be jailed fined, or both. The relevant authorities will order major internet service producers to ban your site. The ban is severe given that the broadband providers have joined forces to stem illegal online streams and content quality control.
In conclusion, internet speeds will continue to get faster and online streaming will gain in popularity. It is best to know where the boundaries for legal streaming to avoid facing criminal prosecution.