The Basics of China Copyright Law

China copyright law is not that much different from USA copyright law. Most of the cases in China, copyrights arise as soon as an original work is created, even if the work executes outside of China. The executor needs not to register the copyright issue in China to be secured in that country. But it is always recommended to register because it is far easier and faster to get websites like Tmall and Taobao to take down infringing goods and to get China customs to stop infringing goods from leaving the nation.

Let’s go through some key things to know about China copyright law:

  1. Between the below mentioned fields an operator can register a copyright in China-
    1. Photographs
    2. Written works
    3. Music
    4. Art
    5. Movies
    6. Toy
    7. Multimedia
    8. Software & hardware
    9. Engineering
  2. China copyrights last for 50 years.
  3. Just as in The USA, copyrights may be licensed, sold, or assigned, but certain “moral rights” need to be carefully dealt with in China. Note that, few of the copyright licensing or sales agreement are required to be registered with Chinese Government.
  4. China grants the “fair use” of author’s copyright works just like USA.
  5. In the event that you employ somebody to make a work for you, that individual can claims the copyright in the completed work unless you have an agreement. If you pay your joint venture element to make s/w for you and you don’t have an agreement (ideally in Chinese) with the joint venture element clarifying to you and not the joint venture element claim the copyrights in that product, the mentioned element will possess the copyrights, not you. Also it makes sense to be clear – in writing – with your representatives in the matter of who claims the copyrightable works the representatives make as amongst you and them.
  6. Enroll China copyrights with the CPCC (Copyright Protection Center of China). The amount to be payable for doing so are all over the sketch, depending on the nature of the work for which the registration is needed.
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