China Copyright

China Copyright



According to the Copyright Law of China, copyright of a work is inherent upon its completion. The duration of copyright lasts for 50 years. Currently, the National Copyright Administration is in charge of China copyright registration matters.


The Copyright Law of China protects copyrights of both visible and invisible works (such as verbal and musical works).


There are several benefits of registering China copyrights.

    • For the registration of computer software copyrights: To improve national development, the Chinese government bestows preferential policies for copyright owners who have registered the copyrights. For example, according to the Circular on VAT Policies for Software Products, taxpayers who have obtained the “Software Products Registration Certificate” or the “Computer Software Copyright Registration Certificate” are able to enjoy VAT tax refunds.
    • For other types of China copyright registration: A China copyright registration reinforces protection on the author. For instance, in business transactions, having copyright registration promotes trust for the buyer or licensee towards the copyright owner. Also, copyright registration strengthens legal protections for the author. It assists with the prevention of piracy and counterfeit product sales, it streamlines coordination with law enforcement agencies, and it helps the copyright owner provide evidentiary proof during copyright litigation and lawsuits.


If the author of the work is a foreign person or a foreign business entity:

  1. A foreign author has copyright protection in view of any agreement between China and the country to which the author belongs, or any international treaty of which both countries are members.
  2. If the work of the foreign author is first published in China, the work is under the protection of the Copyright Law of China.
  3. Even if there are no any agreements signed between China and the country to which the author belongs, or any international treaties both countries take part in, the work may still be under the protection of the China Copyright Law if the work is first published in a member country of an international treaty in which China participates or the work is published synchronously in both a member and a non-member country.


In China, a copyright owner can authorize a copyright collective management organization to manage the owner’s rights on their behalf.


According to the Copyright Collective Management Regulations, “a copyright collective management organization is an organization established in accordance with laws for the rights of the copyright owner, managing collectively the copyright owner’s copyright or the rights relating to copyright according to the authorization of the copyright owner”.


A copyright collective management organization can bring a lawsuit or submit a dispute involving copyright or rights relating to copyright on behalf of the copyright owner.


The copyright management department of the State Council of China is in charge of all affairs related to copyright collective management in China.


Furthermore, the copyrights for computer software and the Digital Copyright Identifier (DCI) can also be registered. The National Copyright Administration is also in charge of these copyright registrations. According to the Measures for the Registration of Computer Software Copyright, to register a China software copyright, “software under application for copyright registration shall be developed independently, or software with significant improvement in functionality or performance shall be developed from the modification of the original software with permission from the original copyright owner”.



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