As a member of Berne Convention and the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), in China the copyright protection can be automatically enjoyed by the author once the work is created.
Therefore in order to obtain copyright protection, the registration of it is not necessary in China since there is a voluntary registration system. However, the registration is strongly recommended as a part of the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) protection strategy to create a strong case against any disputes concerning IP rights. Registration is likely to play an essential role when claiming ownership on any work.
China Copyright Law protects works of:
- natural sciences
- social sciences
- engineering and technology created in any forms of written, oral, musical, dramatic, choreographic and acrobatic works
- works of fine arts and architecture
- photographic works
- cinematographic works
- graphic works
- computer software
- and other works by law (Article 3)
The authority in charge for the copyright registration in China is Copyright Protection Center of China (CPCC).
The period of copyright protection is generally 50 years from the date of creation or publication, or in the case of individuals, the term of protection shall be the lifetime of the author and 50 years after his death.
Where a copyright is infringed, the owner can enforce its right through a lawsuit or an administrative procedure. In the judicial enforcement case, the courts can order to the infringer to cease the infringement, eliminate the bad effects of the act, make an apology or pay compensation for any damages. While the copyright administration department (the National Copyright Administration of China) may impose the penalties as ceasing the infringement, confiscating unlawful income from the act, confiscating and destroying infringing reproductions and materials and imposing a fine. Where the act constitutes a crime, the infringer shall be prosecuted for his criminal liability.
According to the Article 47 of the Copyright Law, the following acts shall be defined as copyright infringement:
- publishing other’s work without the prior permission;
- publishing the joint work without prior permission of other co-authors;
- involving other’s name beyond the author to seek personal fame;
- distorting or tampering other’s work; copying other’s work;
- using the other’s work by exhibition, film-making and so on, without prior permission of the owner;
- using other’s work unpaid but contrary to what agreed;
- renting other’s film work, sound- or video-recording production and software without prior permission of the copyright owner;
- using other’s typographic design of a book or publication without prior permission of the publisher;
- broadcasting or promulgating or recording other’s live performance to the public without prior permission of the performer.
HFG's most common services in the copyright acquisition area are listed below
To obtain a copyright registration in China, a foreign applicant should entrust a Chinese agency to file an application with the Chinese Copyright Office.
The procedures for copyright registration of works are as below:
The examiner of CPCC will have a preliminary examination once the filing documents submitted by the applicant are received, then the applicant will receive the Notification of acceptance while the application enters into examination phase. Upon the examination, a certificate of registration will be issued.
The procedure takes around two months.
Computer software is one of the objects protected by the Copyright Law of the People's Republication of China.
The State Council promulgated the Regulations on Protection of Computer Software on December 12, 2001, which became effective on January 1, 2002. The Regulations set clear and regulated details of protection to copyright of computer software and gives detailed implementing procedures for software registration.
The object of the copyright protection is the computer program and their relevant documents. The subject of the copyright protection is the developer who enjoys the copyright, or other kind of right owners obtained right through assignment, in heritage or licensee.