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U.S. seeks talks with China on film, music regulations

July 19, 2007|From the Associated Press

GENEVA — The U.S. is seeking consultations with China over rules on music downloading and cinema rights that appear to discriminate against foreign sound recordings and films, a U.S. trade official said Wednesday.

Hollywood studios and U.S. Internet music providers such as Apple Inc.'s iTunes store could be among the groups that suffer from "less favorable distribution opportunities" for imported films and foreign suppliers of music recordings in China, which the U.S. cited in a World Trade Organization request earlier this week.

Stephen Norton, a spokesman for the U.S. trade representative's office, said the issues would be addressed as part of a continuing WTO complaint over restrictions on the sale of American movies, music and books.

"Music from foreign sources needs to undergo content review before being distributed in China," Norton told the Associated Press. "Chinese music doesn't have to face that process. The review delays Chinese Internet providers and Chinese consumers from accessing foreign music."

The same discrimination exists when Chinese consumers seek to download music onto mobile phones, he said.

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