As an improvement to the implementation of the Regulation on the Administration of Commercial Performance (the Regulation), the Ministry of Culture (MOC) of the People’s Republic of China issued new Detailed Rules for the Implementation of the Regulation on the Administration of Commercial Performances (the New Detailed Rules) on September 3, 2009 to replace and supersede the previous version of Detailed Rules of Implementation (the Old Detailed Rules) issued in August 2008. The New Detailed Rules came into effect on October 1, 2009, at which point the Old Detailed Rules were annulled. The New Detailed Rules consist of 61 articles; the following is a summary and analysis of the major changes made in the New Detailed Rules:

Article 3 of the New Detailed Rules, in offering a more clear-cut definition for the term “performance broker”, makes it clear that broker practices such as “signing, marketing promotions and acting as an agency for actors” shall be subject to the Regulation. When the New Detailed Rules take effect, entities that engage in signing, marketing promotions and act as an agency for actors shall apply for Commercial Performance Permits in accordance with the Regulation and the New Detailed Rules.

The Old Detailed Rules of Implementation stipulated that self-employed actors and brokers had to apply for business licenses with the relevant industry and commerce administrations and register with the competent cultural authorities. Section 2 of the New Detailed Rules provides that a business license is not a must for self-employed actors and self-employed performance brokers. Instead, self-employed actors and self-employed performance brokers with PRC Personal ID Cards and Performance Capability Certificates or Broker Qualification Certificates, respectively, may apply for records filing with the competent culture authorities.

The Old Detailed Rules provided that performance brokers in Hong Kong and Macau may apply to establish branches in mainland China, but failed to specify the relevant procedures and required documentation for Hong Kong and Macau investors to establish wholly-owned mainland subsidiaries. Article 14 under the New Detailed Rules specifies the relevant procedures and documentation for Hong Kong and Macau investors to establish wholly-owned performance brokers in mainland.

Under Articles 24 and 25 of the New Detailed Rules, (1) performances by foreign artists at venues such as places of entertainment, resorts, theme parks, amusement parks, hotels, restaurants and bars; and (2) commercial performances presented jointly by mainland actors and actors from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan are subject to examination and approval by the local counterpart of MOC at the provincial level rather than by MOC at the central level as required under the Old Detailed Rules. In addition, Article 22 under the New Detailed Rules provides that if additional rounds of commercial performances by foreign actors approved by the MOC are to be presented at additional venues, the organizers only need to file records with the provincial counterpart of MOC of the province where the extra performances are scheduled.

To avoid lip-synching and fake musical performances, the New Detailed Rules, based upon the original provisions under the Old Detailed Rules, further specify the responsibilities of the organizer of the performance and call for special supervision for the singing and performance by the organizers. The competent cultural authorities may prevent and stop lip-synching and fake performances accomplished through technical means.

The New Detailed Rules reflect MOC’s intention to further open the local performance market, to simplify the formalities for examination and approval and to reduce administrative costs. The New Detailed Rules are also part of MOC’s effort to regulate business practices and develop a healthy domestic performance market.