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Registering your software copyrights in China - China Copyright Lawyer


The rapid development of China's software industry is evidenced by the increasing amount of software copyright registration. Software copyright in China in Chinese Law means that creator or other oblige enjoys exclusive rights of the software under related copyright law. It is a civil right and has the common features of all the civil rights. Copyright is an exception in intellectual property right because it is owned without individual confirmation. This is usually called as principle of “automatic protection”. The copyright owner enjoys right of publication, right of authorship, right of consent to use, as well as right of being paid.

What is protected by copyright?

Copyright protects works such as written material, music, photographs, audio-visual works, graphics, architectural works and computer software.


Why is copyright important to my business?

When copyrights are mentioned, many people quickly think about scripts, music albums and movies. While these are certainly works that are protected by copyrights, for a typical international company not in the entertainment industry, copyrights are still relevant and important. For example, your company logo, product photographs on your website, instruction manuals, brochures and packaging designs are all things which can be protected by copyrights. For software companies, copyright is the main form of protection for software.

How do I obtain copyright protection in China?

In China, as with many other countries, it is not necessary to register your copyrights for protection; it is granted automatically upon completion of the work in a foreign country or China. It is possible, however, to register voluntarily through the Copyright Protection Center of China. Registration requires completing the application form and paying a fee. You can register directly or have an agent/lawyer make the application for you.

Why should I register for copyrights in China?

Registration is recommended for key copyrighted material as it provides an additional layer or protection and facilitates more cost-effective enforcement of your copyrights in China should a dispute arise. In China, a great emphasis is placed on having original documentation and proof of ownership. Completing the registration process for your important works will provide you with some additional flexibility in protecting your company’s intellectual property rights in China. Software companies, however, should carefully consider whether it makes sense to reveal parts of source code, a requirement for voluntary copyright registration of software.

Material needed for registering a software copyright

1. Completed application form of software copyright registration;
2. Materials for identifying software;
3. Related proof documents;
4. The program and document must consist of source program as well as the fist and last 30 pages of any kind of document. The whole source program and document must be provided if they are less than 60 pages. Except for particular cases, there are no less than 50 lines and 30 lines in every page of program and documents respectively;
5. Identity of natural person, legal person or other organization;
6. Contract on copyright owner or project assignment paper should be submitted if there are;
7. Proof of consent to modify original software from the copyright owner should be submitted if it is developed on the basis of original software;
8. Proof of inheritance or endorsement provided by inheritor or endorsee.
9. The first and last 30 pages of the source program, with the confidential parts that should not beyond 50% of the source program, are covered by black stripe.
10. The first 10 pages and any 50 consecutive pages of the source program.
11. The first and last 30 pages of the source program, as well as any 20 consecutive pages of the source program.

Contact China software copyright lawyer if you have any questions.

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