China's government warned Internet sites and mobile content providers to steer clear of broadcasting any video of Olympic events without permission, including the torch relay and opening ceremony, saying that anyone who infringes the rights of the state-owned broadcaster to these events will face severe penalties.
"Any unauthorized broadcast of Olympic events and related activities by Internet sites and mobile platforms will be severely punished according to the law," said a joint statement (in Chinese) issued by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), the State Copyright Bureau, and the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT).
The Summer Olympic Games get underway in Beijing on August 8, capping years of government preparation and construction. The right to host the Olympics is a source of pride across China, and the games will be the center of the country's attention for much of August.
China Central Television (CCTV), China's largest broadcaster, is the only company with broadcast rights in China for the upcoming Olympic Games. Web sites and mobile providers that want to broadcast Olympic events are able to secure rights to this content from CCTV, the statement said.
The statement called on local governments to "strengthen their supervision" of Web sites and mobile providers to catch any violators, giving them to shut down any site caught carrying Olympic content without rights.