People in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa will have to register their names if they want to make photocopies.
City shopkeepers say the authorities are particularly concerned about material printed in Tibetan.
This appears to be an attempt to prevent ordinary people from printing political pamphlets and other documents.
It suggests the security forces still have a tight grip on the city, two years after serious riots.
Individuals wanting to photocopy documents will have to show their ID cards and have the information recorded.
Companies will have to register their names and addresses, the number of copies they want and provide the name of the manager in charge of the work.
The police say they will carry out checks and punish any shop that does not abide by the new regulation.
'Aimed at criminals'
Photocopying outlets in Lhasa told the BBC that the rule is primarily aimed at the Tibetan language.
One shopkeeper said she would not now make copies of documents in Tibetan without police approval first.
Material printed in Chinese does not seem to be too much of a problem.
The authorities say the change is aimed at stopping criminals carrying out illegal activities.
But the suspicion is that it is directed at those who might want to print political pamphlets critical of the Chinese government.
It suggests that more than two years after a major outbreak of unrest in Tibetan areas, security is still tight in Lhasa.