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PRC Registration of Copyright in Computer

The Measures for Registration of Copyright in Computer Software ("the Measures 2002") was issued by the National Copyright Administration on 20th February 2002 and was effective on the same day. Apparently, the Measures 2002 replace the Measures on Administration of Software Products which was promulgated on 27th October 2000, although no express provisions state so. The Measures 2002 are meant to bring the Regulations on Protection of Computer Software (which came into force on 1st January 2002) in line with China's obligations under the WTO Agreement and the GATT TRIPS Agreement. In particular, it removes the prerequisite that computer software had to be registered before legal or administrative proceedings on infringement could be brought.

Under the Measures 2002, registration of copyright in the computer software is not mandatory but the State will give priority protection to registered computer software. Registration should also help to reduce litigation fees and ensure more certainty in transactions.

The Measures 2002 apply to the registration of (a) copyright; (b) exclusive licenses; and (c) assignments of copyright, all relating to computer software.

The following documents must be submitted:
(a) an application form;
(b) software authentication materials (including the first 30 consecutive pages and the last 30 consecutive pages of the source codes and any one type of file. Confidential parts could be blackened out and the documents could be sealed);
(c) relevant supporting documents (e.g. documents showing the identity of the owners or the exclusive licensees, assignments etc.).

The Copyright Protection Center of China will examine the application within 60 days to see if the application complies with the Regulation on Protection of Computer Software and the Measures 2002. Once approved, the registration certificate will be issued and a public notice will be made.

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