Search Engines Sign a Self-Discipline Pledge (2012 Edition)

On November 1, 2012, the Internet Society of China announced that Baidu, Qihoo, Sogou, Tencent, Netease, Sina, and other China-based websites had signed a "Internet Search Engine Services Self-Discipline Pledge." (Full Chinese text and my English translation below)

About once every couple of years China-based websites sign some kind of self-discpline pledge. In 2009, a similar group signed a similarly-titled "Commercial Search Engine Services Self-Discipline Pledge." (Full Chinese text and my English translation below)

In 2010 many of the same companies signed a "'Hongyan Declaration," and pledged to enable "positive and healthy red Internet cultural products to take a leading position online." (see here:

The 2012 Internet Search Engine Services Self-Discipline Pledge

Chapter I 
General Principles 
Article 1. This Pledge is formulated in order to regulate Internet search engine services, safeguard the legal rights and interests of Internet users, uphold fair competition and a rational and orderly market environment, and promote the healthy and continued development of China Internet search engine industry. 
Article 2. As used in this Pledge, Search engine services refers to Internet services providers operating dedicated computer programs providing users services to carry out online information inquiries by keywords and other search methods. 
Article 3. This Pledge applies members of the Internet Society of China and other Internet operators who voluntarily participate in the "China Internet Industry Self-Discipline Pledge," and advocates that other industry members actively abide by its provisions.  
Article 4. Internet search engine service providers should abide by the basic principles of legality, credibility, fairness, impartiality, and objectivity, and should comply with the spirit of an open, fair, cooperative, and sharing Internet, and should actively safeguard national interests, public interests, and industry interests, and respect the legal rights and interests of rights-holders. 
Chapter II 
Self-Discipline Content 
Article 5. Strictly abide by national laws, regulations, rules, and policies, develop Internet search engine services in accordance with the law, voluntarily obey industry Pledges and rules, active participate in Industry self-discipline, and work diligently to create a healthy and orderly Internet search engine service environment. 
Article 6. Voluntarily implement the provisions of the "Internet Search Engine Service Business Boycott Obscenity, Pornography, and other Illegal and Harmful Information Self-Discipline Pledge," and resolutely oppose the transmission of obscene or pornographic and other illegal and harmful information through search engines, and actively build a healthy, civilized, and progressive Internet search engine transmission order. 
Article 7. Abide by accepted international industry practices and commercial principles, and respect robots.txt agreements. 
Robots.txt agreements refers to the robots.txt files used by websites which are agreements instructing web robots. 
Web robots (also referred to as network tourists, crawler programs, and spider programs) are programs that automatically crawl websites. Search engines use these programs to search website content, spam senders use Web robots to scan and obtain  email addresses, and web robots have many other uses. 
Article 8. When setting up robots.txt files, website owners should abide by the principles of fairness, openness, and the free flow of information, and restrictions on search engine crawling should be based on reasons commonly recognized in the industry as reasonable and appropriate, and robots.txt files should not be used to engage in unfair competition, and an innovative, fair, just, and positive competition environment should be actively encouraged. 
Article 9. Respect and safeguard intellectual property, respect the legal rights and interests of rights holders, and actively boycott piracy and other infringing activities. With respect to content that was obtained in violation of robots.txt files prior to the announcement of this agreement, upon receipt of a legally compliant notice from a rights holder such content will be timely deleted, infringing links removed, and efforts will be made to maintain a healthy and orderly Internet environment.  
Article 10. Search engine service providers  have a duty to assist in protecting users' private and personal information security, and upon receipt of a legally compliant notice from a rights holder should timely delete and remove links to infringing content. 
Article 11. Pursue fair and rational competition, boycott unfair competition behavior, safeguard fair, open, competitive and orderly market order, and actively create a market environment with equal participation, rational competition, and continued development. 
Article 12. Encourage technological and commercial innovation, improve search services, optimize search results, conserve Internet resources, cultivate and uphold industry ecological systems for innovative dynamism, open win-win, and positive cycles. 
Article 13. Strengthen social responsibility, increase self-restraint, establish effective channels of reporting complaints, actively accept social oversight, and timely discover and improve service inadequacies, voluntarily regulate enterprise operating behavior of Internet search engine services. 
Chapter III 
Pledge Implementation 
Article 14. The Internet Society of China  Self-Discipline Working Committee shall be the implementing agency of this Pledge, and shall be responsible for organizing the signing and implementation of this Pledge, and shall publicize relevant national policies, laws, and regulations to the signatories. 
Article 15. Signatories shall voluntarily abide by all provisions of this Pledge, and where violations of this Pledge have harmful effects, any company or individual shall have the right to report it to the implementing agency. After the implementing agency conducts an investigation or organizes a review it shall, based on the circumstances, give an internal warning or make public censure in the national mainstream media. 
Article 16. When a controversy or dispute occurs between signatories, they should, in accordance with the principle of safeguarding the overall interests of the industry,  and strive to resolve the situation in a mutually agreeable manner through consultation. They may also request the implementation agency for this Pledge to conduct mediation, and the implementation agency for this Pledge shall have the duty to rapidly undertake mediation work in a reasonable fashion, and report the results of the mediation to the relevant bodies. If it is not possible to reach a resolution through commercial mediation, then it may propose suggestions to the relevant administrative agencies.  
Chapter IV 
Supplementary Provisions 
Article 17. This Pledge shall become effective after it has been signed by two-thirds of the sponsoring companies, and shall be publicized by the Internet Society of China. 
Article 18. This Pledge adheres to the principle of "gradually improve as circumstances change," and the implementing agency for this Pledge may undertake to revise this pledge upon a proposal of 1/3 of the signatories and approval by 2/3
of the signatories.  
Article 19. All Internet search engine service providers who accept the self-discipline provisions of this Pledge may sign this Pledge. Signatories may withdraw from this Pledge, and shall notify the implementing agency for this Pledge in writing. The implementing agency for this Pledge shall publicize the signatories and those who have withdrawn at regular intervals. 
Article 20. The implementing agency for this Pledge shall assemble Internet search engine service enterprises to hold research conferences to discuss the implementation provisions for this Pledge and any matters that may easily lead to disputes. For those matters where there is consensus, they shall be publicly announced as supplemental provisions by the Internet Society of China and signatories shall abide by them together. Where a consensus cannot be achieved, the implementing agency for this Pledge shall organize a vote by the Internet search engine service enterprises based on the principles of openness, fairness, and impartiality, and the result of the vote shall serve as a major basis for the the implementing agency for this Pledge to submit opinions for addressing the issue to relevant administrative agencies. 
Article 21. The Internet Society of China Industry Self-Discipline Working Group shall be responsible for interpreting this Pledge. 
Article 22. This Pledge shall be implemented from the day of its publication. 
第一章  总则
第一条  为规范互联网搜索引擎服务,保护互联网用户的合法权益,维护公平竞争、合理有序的市场环境,促进我国互联网搜索引擎行业健康可持续发展,制定本公约。
第二条  本公约所称互联网搜索引擎服务是指互联网服务提供者运用特定的计算机程序向用户提供的通过关键词等检索方法进行网上信息查询的服务。
第三条  本公约适用于中国互联网协会会员单位和自愿加入《中国互联网行业自律公约》的互联网从业单位,并且倡议其他从业单位积极遵守。
第四条  互联网搜索引擎服务提供者应当遵循守法、诚信、公平、中立、客观的基本原则,遵从开放、平等、协作、分享的互联网精神,积极维护国家利益、公共利益和行业利益,尊重权利人的合法权益。
第二章  自律内容
第五条  严格遵守国家有关法律、法规、规章和政策,依法开展互联网搜索引擎服务,自觉遵守行业公约和规范,主动加强行业自律,努力营造健康有序的互联网搜索引擎服务环境。
第六条  自觉执行《互联网搜索引擎服务商抵制淫秽、色情等违法和不良信息自律规范》的规定,坚决抵制淫秽、色情等违法和不良信息通过搜索引擎传播,积极构建健康、文明、向上的互联网搜索引擎传播秩序。
第七条  遵循国际通行的行业惯例与商业规则,遵守机器人协议(robots协议)。
机器人协议(robots协议)是指互联网站所有者使用robots.txt文件,向网络机器人(Web robots)给出网站指令的协议。
网络机器人(Web robots也叫网络游客、爬虫程序、蜘蛛程序),是自动爬行网络的程序。搜索引擎利用这些程序索引网站内容,垃圾邮件发送者使用网络机器人扫描获取电子邮件地址,网络机器人还有很多其他用途。
第八条  互联网站所有者设置机器人协议应遵循公平、开放和促进信息自由流动的原则,限制搜索引擎抓取应有行业公认合理的正当理由,不利用机器人协议进行不正当竞争行为,积极营造鼓励创新、公平公正的良性竞争环境。
第九条  尊重和保护知识产权,尊重权利人的合法权益,积极抵制盗版等侵权行为;对于本公约公布前违反robots协议抓取的内容,在收到权利人符合法律规定的通知后,及时删除、断开侵权链接,努力维护健康有序的网络环境。
第十条  搜索引擎服务提供者有义务协助保护用户隐私和个人信息安全,收到权利人符合法律规定的通知后,应及时删除、断开侵权内容链接。
第十一条  倡导公平理性竞争,抵制不正当竞争行为,维护公平、开放、竞争、有序的市场秩序,积极营造平等参与、理性竞争、持续发展的市场环境。
第十二条  鼓励技术和商业模式创新,完善搜索服务,优化搜索结果,节省网络资源,培育和维护创新活跃、开放共赢、良性循环的行业生态体系。
第十三条  增强社会责任,加强自我约束,设立有效的举报投诉通道,主动接受社会监督,及时发现并改善服务中的不足,自觉规范互联网搜索引擎服务企业经营行为。
第三章  公约的执行
第十四条  中国互联网协会行业自律工作委员会为本公约的执行机构,负责组织本公约的签署和实施,并及时向签署单位宣传国家相关政策、法律和法规。
第十五条  签署单位应当自觉遵守本公约各项规定,违反本公约并造成不良影响的,任何单位和个人均有权向本公约执行机构举报。本公约执行机构在查证核实或者组织测评后,视情况给予内部警告和在全国多数主流媒体公开谴责等处理。
第十六条  签署单位之间发生争议和纠纷时,应当本着维护行业整体利益的原则,争取以协商方式解决,经双方同意,也可以提请本公约执行机构进行调解,本公约执行机构有义务通过合理合规的方式尽快组织相关调解工作,并将调解结果通报各相关单位;通过行业调解无法解决的,可以向有关管理部门提出处理建议。
第四章  附则
第十七条  本公约经三分之二以上发起单位签署后生效,并由中国互联网协会向社会公布。
第十八条  本公约遵循“动态修订、逐步完善”的原则,经本公约执行机构或者本公约三分之一以上签署单位提议,并经三分之二以上签署单位同意,可以对本公约进行修订。
第十九条  凡接受本公约自律规定的互联网搜索引擎服务提供者,均可以签署本公约;签署单位可以退出本公约,并书面通知本公约执行机构;本公约执行机构定期公布签署及退出单位名单。
第二十条  本公约的相关实施细则和容易引起争议的事项,由公约执行机构组织互联网搜索引擎企业集中研究讨论,达成共识的部分,作为公约附则由中国互联网协会公开发布,签约单位应当共同遵守。如达不成一致意见,在公开、公平、公正的原则下,由公约执行机构组织互联网搜索引擎服务企业投票表决,表决结果作为公约执行机构向有关管理部门提出处理建议的重要依据。
第二十一条  本公约由中国互联网协会行业自律工作委员会负责解释。
第二十二条  本公约自公布之日起施行。

The 2009 Commercial Search Engine Services Self Discipline Pledge

Article 1. This Pledge has been formulated in order to promote the healthy development of Internet search engine businesses and to restrain the dissemination of pornographic and other illegal and harmful information through search engines.  
Article 2. Commercial search engine services should abide by the basic principles of obeying the law and acting credibly, and take as their starting point the protection of social morals and safeguarding the physical and mental wellbeing of children and the overall interests of the industry in voluntarily obeying relevant national laws, regulations, and policies and devoting themselves to building a healthy, civilized, and safe Internet search environment.  
Article 3. Do not employ any means to proactively disseminate, aggregate, or link to any website or web page with obscene, pornographic or otherwise illegal or harmful content.  
Article 4. Do not provide any network services for any website or web page with obscene, pornographic or otherwise illegal or harmful content through search navigation, advertising, ranking, access, or other methods.  
Article 5. Do not establish any cooperative relationship with any illegal website.  
Article 6. Adopt forceful technical measures to block illegal and harmful information.  
Article 7. Have the duty to report to the government executive administration and law enforcement agencies any website discovered to contain illegal or harmful information.  
Article 8. Accept the oversight of the media and the public, perfect [do an outstanding job of creating] mechanism for the timely handling of issues, carry out immediate investigation as soon as a report is received, and upon confirmation, immediate deletion.  
Article 9. The Beijing Internet Media Association and the Beijing Internet News Information Advisory Council shall have responsibility for the oversight and implementation of this Pledge.  
Article 10. This Pledge shall become effective upon the day of issue.  
第一条 为促进互联网搜索引擎行业的健康发展,遏制淫秽、色情等违法和不良信息通过搜索引擎传播,特制订本公约。
第二条 搜索引擎服务商应当遵循守法、诚信的基本原则,从维护社会公德、保护未成年人身心健康及全行业整体利益出发,自觉遵守国家有关法律、法规和政策,致力于营造健康、文明、安全的网络搜索环境。
第三条 不以任何方式主动传播、收录、链接含有淫秽、色情等违法和不良信息内容的网站、网页。
第四条 不为含有淫秽、色情等违法和不良信息内容的网站、网页提供搜索导航、广告、排名、接入等任何形式的网络服务。
第五条 不与非法网站建立任何性质的合作关系。
第六条 采取有力的技术手段阻止违法和不良信息。
第七条 有义务向政府行政管理和执法部门举报发现的含有违法和不良信息的网站。
第八条 接受媒体监督和公众监督,完善及时处理的机制,一旦获得举报立刻进行核查,经确认后立刻删除。
第九条 本公约由北京网络媒体协会和北京网络新闻信息评议会负责监督执行。
第十条 本公约自发布之日起执行。
新浪 搜狐 网易 百度 中搜 中国雅虎 奇虎

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