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Copyright Registration

Software Copyright Registraion

Software copyright is the extension of copyright law to machine-readable software. Software copyright is used by proprietary software companies to prevent the unauthorized copying of their software. Open source licenses also rely on copyright law to enforce their terms.

Software copyright owners shall enjoy the rights of publication, authorship, revision, duplication, publishing, lease, translation, etc.

What materials should the applicant provide for application of software copyright registration?
  • Application for software copyright registration filled in according to the requirements;
  • Identification materials of the software, including the identification materials of the program and files. The identification materials of the program and files shall consist of 30 successive pages respectively from the beginning and the end of the source program or any kind of file. Where the whole program and files have less than 60 pages, the whole source program and files shall be submitted. Except in special situations, each page of the program shall have no less than 50 rows and each page of file shall have no less than 30 rows.
  • Other relevant certifications:

Including identity certification of the natural person, legal person or other organization;

Where there is a written contract of the copyright ownership or a project task letter, the contract or the project task letter shall be submitted; For the software developed from the original software upon the permit of the original software copyright owner, the license certification of the original copyright owner shall be submitted;

The inheritor, assignee or receiver of the right shall submit the certifications of the inheritance, acquirement or receiving.

What fees should be paid when applying for software registration?

One shall pay the following fees when applying for software registration or transacting other matters:
  • Registration fees of software copyright;
  • Registration fees of software copyright contract;
  • Registration alteration or supplementation fees;
  • Registration certificate fees;
  • Sealing and keeping fees;
  • Exceptional submission and keeping fees;
  • Searching fees;
  • Applications fees for cancellation of registration;
  • Other fees need to be paid.

Copyright protection

We briefly introduce three routes for copyright protection in China as below,

Administrative protection --- Clients who found infringement on its copyright can apply to copyright administration department authorities for copyright protection by requesting for investigation. The copyright administration department has rights to order the infringer to cease the infringement, confiscate the illegal gains, confiscate and destroy the reproductions and impose a fine. If the infringement is serious, the department may also confiscate the production equipments.

Criminal protection --- If the infringement meets a criminal threshold, the rights holder can directly report to the public security authorities.

Civil court protection --- Clients can also resort to civil court solution. The infringers shall bear the civil liabilities, ceasing the infringement, eliminating the negative influences, making a public apology, monetary compensation, etc.

Software Protection

Do Chinese laws protect the copyright of software which is developed by foreigners?

Software of foreigners or stateless persons shall enjoy copyright in China and protection under these regulations according to a bilateral agreement signed between China and the country to which the developer belongs or in which the developer habitually resides, or according to an international treaty to which China is a party.

What are the acts of infringing software copyright according to Chinese law?
  • Publishing or registering the software without the approval of the software copyright owner;
  • Publishing or registering the software developed by others in one's own name;
  • Publishing or registering the software developed in cooperation with another person as a work completed by oneself alone, without the approval of the cooperating developer;
  • Signing one's name to the software developed by another person or altering the signature on the software developed by another person;
  • Revising or translating the software without the approval of the software copyright owner;
  • Without the approval of the software copyright owner, Copying or partially copying the software of the copyright owner;
  • Without the approval of the software copyright owner, releasing, leasing or disseminating through information networks the software of the copyright owner;
  • Without the approval of the software copyright owner, intentionally avoiding or breaching the technical measures adopted by the copyright owner to protect his software copyright;
  • Without the approval of the software copyright owner, intentionally deleting or altering the electronic information of software right management;
  • Without the approval of the software copyright owner, transferring or licensing others to exploit the software copyright of the copyright owner.
  • Other acts infringing upon the software copyright.

What legal responsibilities shall infringers bear?

Anyone who has committed any of the infringing acts without the approval of the software copyright owner shall, according to the circumstances, bear the civil responsibilities of stopping the infringement, eliminating the effects, making apologies, compensating for loss, etc;

For anyone who damages the public interests at the same time, the administrative department of copyright shall order the offender to stop the infringing acts, confiscate the illegal gains, confiscate and destroy the infringing copies, and may impose a fine on him at the same time;

If the circumstances are serious, the administrative department of copyright may also confiscate the materials, tools, equipment, etc. that are mainly used in the making of the infringing copies; if there is any violation of criminal laws, the criminal responsibilities shall be investigated for according to the provisions of the Criminal Law on the crime of infringing upon copyright law and the crime of selling infringing copies.

How to calculate the amount of compensation for infringing the software copyright?

The infringer shall, when having infringed upon the copyright or the rights related to copyright, make a compensation on the basis of the right holders' actual loss;

Where the actual loss is difficult to be calculated, the compensation may be made on the basis of the infringer's illegal gains. The amount of compensation shall also include the reasonable expenses paid by the obligee for stopping the act of tort.

Where the obligee's actual losses or the infringer's illegal gains cannot be determined, the court shall, on the basis of the seriousness of the act of tort, adjudicate a compensation of 500,000 Yuan or less. (Remark: Chinese Copyright Law is being amended and the compensation is expected to be raised.)

Copyright Administrative Protection