Will porn shut down free online TV at Tudou?

Tudou is a sprawling Chinese video website and a haven for free streaming TV, but a failure to keep it perfectly clear of porn may have spelled its doom at the hands of China's SARFT.

Rumors are flying: Tudou, a hugely popular streaming video site based in China, has been instructed to shut down by a Chinese government authority. Tudou is still online as of this writing, but if it goes down, a major haven for streaming television will be gone.

The rumor can be summarized quickly. China's State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television (SARFT) supposedly instructed Tudou to close its doors, and word is it's because the people responsible for taking down illegal material missed some porn.

Anyone who has looked through sites such as SurfTheChannel is probably familiar with Tudou, which means potato and is named with "couch potato" in mind. Whereas YouTube tends to take down copyrighted material relatively quickly, Tudou is less vigilant about copyright.

As for its potential shutdown, Danwei, one of the most reliable sources on Chinese internet news, tracked down some facts but nothing conclusive. One unnamed Tudou source told a Chinese source that they haven't been asked to shut down.

Meanwhile, Marbridge Consulting, whose staff watch the Chinese tech industry closely for a variety of clients claims to have confirmed with unnamed authorities that Tudou has been ordered to shut down, but they don't say whether the report they've translated is accurate in saying that the shut-down may be temporary.

About the author

    Formerly a journalist and consultant in Beijing, Graham Webster is a graduate student studying East Asia at Harvard University. At Sinobyte, he follows the effects of technology on Chinese politics, the environment, and global affairs. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network, and is not an employee of CNET. Disclosure.

     

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