China Copyright | What you need to know about the Copyright law in China
Though China has acceded to major international copyright treaties, such as the Berne Convention, the Universal Copyright Convention, and the TRIPS Agreement, to protect your copyright in China, you need to get hold of China copyright laws.
Works that are protected under Chinese Copyright Law
Protected works include, works of literature, art, natural science, social science, engineering and technology, created in any of the following forms:
(a) Written works
(b) Oral works
(c) Works of the fine arts and architecture
(d) Musical, dramatic, choreographic and acrobatic works
(e) Graphic works such as drawings of engineering designs and product designs, maps and sketches, and model works
(f) Photographic works
(g) Computer software
Scope of China Copyright Protection
Copyrights that are protected under the Copyright Law in China include the right of publication, authorship, revision, distribution, integrity, rental, exhibition, presentation, performance, broadcast, cinema screening, communication through information network, adaptation, translation, compilation and other rights to be exercised by copyright owners.
Term of Protection of Copyrights in China
No time limit is set on the term of protection for an author's rights of authorship and revision and his right to protect the integrity of his work. If the work is owned by an individual, the term of protection for the right of publication and the related property rights is the lifetime of the author plus another 50 years; if the work belong to a legal entity, such term is fifty years from the first publication of such work; and likewise in respect of a cinematographic work.
China Copyright Licensing and Transfer Agreements
Anyone who uses another person's work shall enter into a copyright licensing agreement with the copyright owner, unless no permission needs to be obtained under the law. Anyone who transfers any copyright should conclude a written agreement. When a copyright is pledged, both the pledger and pledgee shall undergo the registration with the copyright administration department under the State Council.
How Strict are Chinese Copyright Laws?
A report by an international intellectual property organization found that 90% of the DVDs (music, movies and software) distributed in China are unauthorized copies. Music and literature copyright infringement is widely regarded as one of the highest in the world. Most Internet users in China have no legitimate online music service. Nearly all the novels of famous writers can be found online and downloaded for free. Moreover, there are also China-based peer-to-peer services such as Baidu Cloud Storage assisting in large-scale illegal file-sharing. However, the landscape of copyright protection in China is changing. In the third amendment to the Copyright Law, China shall authorize the copyright administration department the power of sequestration and the power of seizure, and will raise the amount of penalty for copyright infringement. China even has specialized intellectual property divisions within its courts, and we can therefore expect that China creates an increasingly more protective environment for all copyright owners.