China Copyright: The Most Comprehensive and Quickest Guide


In today’s digital and globalized world, software has become a key bridge connecting different cultures, driving economic development, and fueling technological innovation. For multinational enterprises and individuals, entering the vast and opportunity-filled Chinese market means not only facing business opportunities but also the challenge of protecting intellectual property rights under a different legal system. Especially in China, the protection of computer software primarily follows the “Copyright Law of the People’s Republic of China,” which significantly differs from the legal system in the United States. A critical aspect is China’s software copyright. For instance, in the US, software protection can be achieved through both copyright and patent rights, with patents protecting the software’s unique functions and algorithms, and copyright mainly protecting the software’s code and expression. However, in China, software is primarily protected through copyright, focusing on the software’s expression, such as source code and interface design, rather than its functions or algorithms. This distinction makes understanding China’s software copyright laws an essential part of international software developers and enterprises entering the Chinese market. Below, we will provide you with a detailed explanation of China’s copyright.

China Copyright

The Legal Basis of Computer Software Copyright law in China

In Chinese copyright law, “work copyright” is a fundamental concept that refers to the protection of works of literature, art, and science that have a certain level of creativity and can be replicated in some tangible form. According to the law, work copyright grants authors or other rights holders a series of exclusive rights, including the right to copy, distribute, display, perform, project, broadcast, disseminate through information networks, film, adapt, translate, compile, and more.

China’s copyright law provides comprehensive protection for computer software, regardless of the nationality of the software developer. This protection aims to promote technological innovation and international exchange of intellectual property rights while ensuring that developers and enterprises’ interests are reasonably safeguarded. China’s copyright law offers extensive protection for computer software, including but not limited to program code and related documentation. This protection is not limited to domestically developed software; foreign developers can also apply. The copyright protection period typically begins from the day the work is completed and lasts until fifty years after the author’s death. The protection under copyright means that without authorization, no third party can copy, distribute, rent, or disseminate the software through information networks. The official platform in China is managed by the China Copyright Protection Center (CRPC). Currently, the website is only available in Chinese.

In the process of registering software copyright in China, choosing an experienced and comprehensive agency is crucial. Such an agency can not only help foreign applicants solve the issue of real-name authentication but also provide a full range of services from legal consultation to document preparation and application submission. The presence of an agency greatly simplifies the registration process, enabling overseas software developers and enterprises to smoothly complete the copyright registration and ensure their software is legally protected in the Chinese market.

Classification and Key Points of Application for China Computer Software Copyright


This section details the three types of computer software copyright: application software, embedded software, and middleware, along with their respective focus and requirements during registration. It emphasizes the importance and differences of source program files in different operating systems (such as Apple and Android) and explains why understanding these differences is crucial for copyright protection.

Three significant types of content:

Of course, the classification of computer software copyrights showcases three significant types of content and widespread applicability:

  • Application Software: Software that directly serves end-users, including desktop programs, mobile applications, etc. The core of this software type lies in addressing specific user needs.
  • Embedded Software: Typically embedded within hardware, providing control or enhanced functionalities for specific hardware devices.
  • Middleware: Sits between the operating system and application software, offering data management, application services, and other functionalities. It acts as a bridge connecting different software components.

Explanation of Source Program Files of China Computer Software Copyright:

The importance and diversity of source program files, especially across different operating systems such as Apple and Android, are emphasized. It explains why understanding these differences is critical for copyright registration. Certainly, GWBMA provides the most professional services to address this issue.

*The source program files shall be submitted in First and Last 30 consecutive pages, and if the pages less than 60 pages shall be submitted in full version. If there are primary and secondary modules, just need the primary modules. And each page cannot be less than 50 lines.
*Please note that the name and version number of the software shall be marked on the header of the files, which shall be completely consistent with the Software name, and the page number shall be marked on the upper right of the header of the files.
*The words of the files should be Black characters on the white background and the font size should be 6.5pt.
*Note that don’t insert the blank line in the Source Program file.
*Provide the Source Program files in Microsoft Office Word.

The Software manual files of China Computer Software Copyright:

The Software manual files refer to the written materials and diagrams used to describe the content, composition, design, functional specifications, development, test results and use methods of the program, such as program design instructions, flow charts, user manuals, etc.

*Add the software Screenshot in the Software manual files according to relevant functions.
*Provide the Source Program files in Microsoft Office Word.

Solutions for Real-Name Authentication in China Computer Software Copyright Applications

In China, the Mobile Phone number real-name authentication is an indispensable step in the application process for computer software copyrights. For enterprises or individuals within China, completing the Mobile Phone real-name authentication is relatively straightforward, as they can directly use local identification and contact information for verification. However, for those outside of China, the Mobile Phonereal-name authentication and acquiring a Chinese Mobile Phone number can pose significant barriers, severely limiting their ability to protect their intellectual property.

For foreign enterprises and individuals, due to the lack of Chinese identification documents and local contact numbers, completing Mobile Phone number real-name authentication directly is nearly impossible. This not only delays the copyright application process but may also prevent the protection of software innovations in the Chinese market. In this case, finding an effective solution becomes crucial.

In facing this challenge, choosing GWBMA as your representative is the key to solving the real-name authentication issue. As a professional agency, GWBMA possesses all the qualifications and experience required for applying for software copyrights in China. We can act as your representative, using our identity information and contact details to complete the real-name authentication process for you, ensuring that your application is not hindered by real-name authentication barriers.

Works Copyright of China

What are the types of Works Copyright Registration Online?

China Works Copyright 1

  • Written works (e.g., Novels, Fiction, Theses, Poetry, Scripts, Lyrics)
  • Art (e.g., Paintings, Packaging Drawings, Renderings, Toys, Cartoons, Sculptures)
  • Photography (e.g., Portrait, Recording, Commercial, Panoramic photography)
  • Music (e.g., Songs, Instrumental works)
  • Architecture (e.g., Civil, Industrial, Public, Agricultural Architecture)
  • Movies (Films)
  • Dramatic works (e.g., Modern Drama, Opera)
  • Others (e.g., Published Books, Compilation Works)

How can one view the Work Sample?

You can directly scan the QR code on the Copyright Certificate to view the work sample. However, only the copyright owner’s registered Chinese mobile phone can receive the Verification Code message from the China Copyright Protection Center (CPCC). Alternatively, you can fill out the prescribed application form and documents to apply for access to view the Work sample at the CPCC.

What is the duration of copyright protection?

The copyright of software by a natural person is protected for the lifetime of the creator plus 50 years after their death. For works developed in collaboration, protection ends on December 31 of the 50th year after the death of the last surviving creator. The copyright of legal entities or other organizations is protected for 50 years after the first publication of the Computer Software. However, if the Computer Software has not been published within 50 years from the date of completion of development, it will no longer be protected.

Note: If you are a foreign applicant for Works Copyright, you must have a mobile phone that has been real-name authenticated in China. If you have never visited mainland China, you are currently required to find a friend from mainland China who agrees and allows you to use their mobile phone number.

GWBMA’s Speed Advantage: Receiving China Computer Software Copyright at the Fastest Pace

Through its “COMPUTER SOFTWARE COPYRIGHT FILING ONLINE” system, GWBMA offers customers the following advantages:

  • Fast Submission: GWBMA’s system allows customers to quickly complete the Copyright Application, significantly shortening the time from preparation to submission.
  • Real-Time Tracking: Customers can check the status and progress of their application in real-time within their account, maintaining full control over the application process.
  • Official Document Download: During the service period, customers can also download official gazettes and other related documents, ensuring transparency and traceability.
  • Advanced Technology: GWBMA’s online application system represents the latest technology in the market, guaranteeing a smooth and efficient application process.

From online software copyright registration to follow-up after application, GWBMA provides comprehensive service support, ensuring each step complies with legal requirements and protects customer rights. The system offers fast, efficient, and transparent copyright application services with online support available at any moment.

GWBMA’s China Copyright Services

GWBMA, as one of the leading agencies in the industry, especially in providing computer software copyright registration services for foreign applicants, has extensive experience. Not only is GWBMA the first to introduce an English computer software copyright online application program, but its powerful service functions also include standardized translation services and correction of source program files to meet China’s legal requirements.

Among many agencies, GWBMA stands out for its professional knowledge and extensive experience in the field of computer software copyright registration, making it the preferred choice for foreign applicants. GWBMA’s advanced online application program and comprehensive service capabilities effectively assist foreign enterprises and individuals in navigating the challenges of the registration process. By providing standardized translation services and assisting in the correction of source program files to comply with Chinese legal standards, GWBMA ensures a convenient and efficient copyright registration process in China, protecting the intellectual property rights of clients.


In the global economy, software has become a frontier of innovation and competition. For international enterprises and individuals looking to protect and leverage their software innovations in the Chinese market, now is the best time to act. Collaborating with professional agencies like GWBMA not only makes the software copyright registration process smoother but also ensures that your innovative results are fully protected and commercially utilized in the important Chinese market.

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