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Regulations on Computer Software Protection (2001)

(Promulgated by Decree No. 339 of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, and

effective as of January 1, 2002)

General Provisions

Article 1.   These Regulations are formulated in accordance with the Copyright Law of the People's Republic of China, for the purposes of protecting the rights and interests of copyright owners of computer software, regulating the relationship of interests generated in the development, dissemination and use of computer software, encouraging the development and application of computer software, and promoting the development of software industry and the informatization of national economy.

Article 2.   For the purposes of these Regulations, the term "computer software" (hereinafter referred to as "software") means computer programs and relevant documents.

Article 3.   For the purposes of these Regulations, the following definitions apply:

(1) "computer program" means a coded instruction sequence which may be executed by devices with information processing capabilities such as computers, or a symbolic instruction sequence or symbolic statement sequence which may be automatically converted into a coded instruction sequence for the purpose of obtaining certain expected results; the source program and object program of a computer program shall be deemed as one and the same work;

(2) "documents" means literal descriptions or charts used to describe the content, structure, design, functional performance, historical development, test results and usage, such as program design instructions, flowcharts, and user's manuals;

(3) "software developer" means a legal entity or other organization that actually organizes, or directly carries out, the developments of a piece of software and assumes responsibility for the accomplished software, or a natural person who independently completes, relying on his own conditions, the development of a piece of software and assumes responsibility therefor;

(4) "software copyright owner" means a natural person, legal entity or other organization that enjoys software copyright in accordance with these Regulations.

Article 4.   The software protected under these Regulations must be developed independently by the developer and fixed on tangible medium.

Article 5.   Chinese citizens, legal entities or other organizations enjoy, in accordance with these Regulations, copyright in the software which they have developed, whether published or not.

Foreigners or stateless persons having software first published within the territory of the People's Republic of China enjoy copyright in accordance with these Regulations. Software copyright enjoyed by foreigners or stateless persons under an agreement concluded between China and the country to which they belong to or in which they have their habitual residences, or, under an international treaty acceded to by China, is protected in accordance with these Regulations.

Article 6.   The protection of software copyright under these Regulations shall not extend to the ideas, processing, operating methods, mathematical concepts or the like used in software development.

Article 7.   A software copyright owner may register with the software registration institution recognized by the copyright administration department of the State Council. A registration certificate issued by the software registration institution is a preliminary proof of the registered items.

Fees shall be paid for software registration. The charging standards for software registration shall be provided for by the copyright administration department of the State Council jointly with the competent department for pricing of the State Council.