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Copyright

How to Obtain Copyright Protection in China for Foreign Authors

 

The region characteristicof copyright determines copyright law of one country only protects authors’ works in their homeland or works first published in their homeland. If any work of an author desires to obtain full and effective copyright protection in other countries, the government shall conclude bilateral agreement with foreign countries, or that is a party to any international treaty to which foreign country is a party. Art.2 of Copyright Law of People's Republic of China issued on Jun 01, 1991 stipulates that “Foreigners whose works are first published in the territory of China shall enjoy the copyright in accordance with this Law. Any work of an author of a country that has concluded any agreement with China or that is a party to any international treaty to which China is a party shall be protected by this Law.” Besides, other laws and stipulations also provide legal protection for foreign authors’ copyright protection in China, such as Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary Artistic Works (effective on Oct 15, 1992), and Universal Copyright Convention (effective on Oct 30, 1992), Copyright Law of People's Republic of China and Implementing Regulations of Copyright Law of People's Republic of China (effective on Sep 30, 1992) and so on.

 

Foreign authors who can enjoy copyright in China

 

In accordance with Copyright Law of Peoples’ Republic of China and Implementing Regulations, foreign authors involved in one of the following situations can enjoy copyright in China:

 

1.    Works first published in China, including the works first published outside China and published in the territory of China within 30 days, and unpublished works first published in China through authorized adaptation and translation. Whether such authors’ country is a party to Berne Convention and Universal Copyright Convention or not shall enjoy copyright in China for works first published in China;

 

2.    Created and published jointly with Chinese authors (namely, co-author of a works with Chinese). Whether such authors’ country is a party to Berne Convention and Universal Copyright Convention or not shall enjoy copyright in China for works created jointly with Chinese authors, except those waive copyright or transfer copyright to others;

 

3.    National identity of a party of Berne Convention and Universal Copyright Convention. Such authors, whether the works is first published in parties of above conventions, shall enjoy copyright in China for all works.

 

In accordance with stipulations of Berne Convention and Universal Copyright Convention, foreign authors’ copyright shall be protected in China in following cases:

 

1.    Authors who are not citizens but have habitual residence in member countries of convention shall be regarded as the citizen of this country and the copyright shall be protected in China;

 

2.    Authors who are not citizens in member countries of convention, but the works is first published in some member countries or is simultaneously published in member countries  and non-member countries (within 30 days) shall enjoy copyright protection in China for works first published in some member countries or simultaneously published in member countries and non-member countries;

 

3.    For cinematographic work, if the producers are not a citizen of member countries of convention, but the headquarter or habitual residence is within some member countries, the country shall be regarded as “ origin of country” of the cinematographic work, and the copyright for the cinematographic work of producers and other authors shall be protected in China.

 

4.    For architecture work, if it is established in the member countries of convention, or the architecture work constitutes a part of the architecture in the member countries, the country shall be regarded as "origin of country"  of the architecture work, and the copyright for the architecture work of authors shall be protected in China.

 

Works which can enjoy copyright in China

 

In accordance with Copyright Law of Peoples’ Republic of China and Implementing Regulations, intellectual creative achievement with originality and can be reproduced in some visible form within the domain of literature, art and science is called works. Based on works creation and form of expression, Copyright Law of China divides the works into literary works, oral works, such as music, drama and Chinese folk art forms, choreographic work, such as work of art and photography works, engineering design, drawings of product design and description, map, schematic diagram and other graphic works, computer software, folk literary and artistic works, and other works stipulated by law, administrative laws and regulations. For above works with originality and can be reproduced in some visible form shall be protected by copyright law no matter in the form of original works, or deductive forms such as translation and adaptation, except those forbidden to be published and disseminated according to law.

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