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Register copyrights

– Is it compulsory to register the copyright?

No. Copyright is not compulsorily registered in China as copyright can be enjoyed upon any work being completed. However, as China applies a formal approach for enforcing intellectual property rights, it is complicated to prove your ownership unless you have a proper intellectual property registration certificate.

– What is protected by copyright registration?

A copyright registration is a voluntary registration of the work created by the owner, and it entitles the owner to be protected in case of copyright transaction or dispute.

This registration does not need approval from the authorities but shall comply with formalities stipulated by the authorities.

– What kind of work is covered by a copyright registration?

The “work” provided in the PRC Copyright Law includes literature, art and natural science, social science, engineering and technical works created in the following forms:

  1. Written works;
  2. Oral works;
  3. Musical, dramatic, opera, dance, acrobatic artistic works;
  4. Art, architectural works;
  5. Photographic works;
  6. Film works and works created using methods similar to film making;
  7. Graphic works and model works such as engineering design plan, product design plan, map, schematic diagram, etc.;
  8. Computer software; and
  9. Any other works stipulated by laws and administrative regulations.

All works as mentioned above can be registered with the Copyright Protection Center of China (CPCC), the authority which deal with the copyright registration matters.

All kinds of designs can be registered under a copyright anytime. Copyright registration proves to be a useful alternative to design patents which require more restrictive conditions to be registered.

– What is the procedure to register a computer software as a copyright in China?

The registration shall be filed with the Copyright Protection Center of China (“CPCC”) which will issue a copyright registration certificate. This certificate is the evidence of validity of ownership of the copyright in the software, especially for defensive and enforcement purposes.

The registration procedure usually takes from 2 to 3 months.

The main documents to be submitted for registration include:

  • software copyright registration application forms;
  • software (project or documents) verification documents;
  • applicant’s and the representative’s ID documents;
  • documents to prove the ownership of right (eg: commissioned development contract or cooperative development contract);
  • proof of approval from the original copyright owner (if applicable); and
  • proof of succession, transfer or assignment of such rights (if applicable).

– Which rights does a software copyright owner enjoy?

A software copyright owner shall enjoy the following rights:

  • Right of publication;
  • Right of authorship to claim developer’s identity and to have the developer’s name mentioned in connection with the software;
  • Right of alteration;
  • Right of reproduction;
  • Right of distribution;
  • Right of rental;
  • Right of dissemination via information network;
  • Right of translation.
  • What is the procedure to register artworks as a copyright in China?

The procedure to register artworks as a copyright is similar to the one to register computer software. The procedure may generally take about 1-2 months.

To know more, download our legal handbook related to the intellectual property rights legal regime in China …

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