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Q&As: Register the Computer Software Copyright in China

Q: Where is the registration authority for computer software copyright registration in China?

A: The Copyright Protection Center of China (CPCC). CPCC is the unique computer software copyright registration institution in China.

Q: How should I apply for the computer software copyright registration?

A: There are two options: (1) apply on-site in CPCC registration hall; or (2) deliver application documents to CPCC via registered mail or express mail.

Q: Who can apply for the computer software copyright registration?

A: Copyright holders of the software have the right to apply. Copyright holders may be Chinese citizens, corporations or other institutions, and may also be individuals, corporations or organisations from other countries.

Q: If I am not a developer of the computer software, but obtained the copyright via contract, assignment or inheritance. Can I apply for the registration in my own name?

A: Yes, you can.

Q: How long is the protection period of software copyright in China?

A: Individual's software copyright will be protected during his/her life and for 50 years after his/her death.

If the software is developed in cooperation of several individuals, the copyright will be protected during their life and until the Dec. 31st  of the 50th year after the last cooperator passes away.

If the software copyright holder is a corporation or other organizations, then the copyright will be protected for 50 years after the first publication of the software, but if the software has not been published within 50 years from the date of completion of the development, it shall no longer be protected.

Q: Should a game work be registered?

A: A game work can be divided into two parts: game engine and game resources. The game engine is made up of programme codes, which can apply for the software copyright registration. While the game resources include images, sounds, animations and so on, and these belong to other works other than a programme or software, so the pictures, videos, animations etc. cannot apply for the software copyright registration.

Q: Should an algorithm software be registered?

A: Algorithms are mathematical methods, and are implemented in computer programming language during the software development. The expression forms of algorithms are protected by copyright, and can be registered.

Q: Does software has the copyright only after it has been registered?

A: Per Chinese Intellectual Property laws, the copyright of a software is automatically entitled after the completion of development. The software copyright holder has the title no matter registered or not.

Q: Since I can acquire the software copyright automatically, why should I apply for register?

A: Software Copyright Registration Certificate is a preliminary proof of registered items, which can help the holder to reduce the burden of proof in arbitration or lawsuit which may possible occur in the future.

Q: How long does it take to apply for computer software copyright registration?

A: The processing time limit is thirty (30) working days from the date of accept an application by CPCC.