Regulations of the Copyright Law of
People's Republic of China
by the State Council on May 24, 1991, and Promulgated by the State
Copyright Administration on May 30, 1991
Implementing Regulations (hereinafter referred to as "the
Regulations") are formulated pursuant to Article 54 of the Copyright
Law of the People's Republic of China (hereinafter referred to as
term "works" used in the Law shall mean original intellectual
creations in the literary, artistic and scientific domain, insofar as they
are capable of being reproduced in a certain tangible form.
term "creation" mentioned in the Law shall mean intellectual
activities from which literary, artistic and scientific works directly
works as mentioned in the Law and the Regulations shall mean the
written works are works expressed in written form, such as novels,
poems, essays and theses;
oral works are works which are created in spoken words and have not
been fixed on any material carrier, such as impromptu speeches, lectures
and court debates;
musical works are such works as symphonic works and songs, with or
without accompanying words, which can be sung or performed;
dramatic works are such works as dramas, operas and local art forms
which are used for stage performance;
"quyi" works include such works as "xiang sheng"
(cross talk), "kuaishu (clapper talk), "dagu" (ballad
singing with drum accompaniment) and "pingshu" (story-telling
based on classical novels), which are all used mainly for being performed
in a way involving recitation, singing, or both;
choreographic works are works which are or can be expressed in
successive body movements, gestures and facial movements;
works of fine art are two-or three-dimensional works created in
lines, colors or other medium which, when being viewed, impart aesthetic
effect, such as paintings, works of calligraphy, sculptures and works of
photographic works are the kind of artistic works created by
recording images on light-sensitive materials with the aid of devices;
cinematographic, television and videographic works are works which
are recorded on some materials consisting of a series of images, with or
without accompanying sound, and which can be projected or broadcast with
the aid of suitable devices;
drawings of engineering designs and product designs, and their
descriptions, are drawings designed for the purpose of actual construction
and manufacturing and the description contained in the said drawings;
maps. sketches and other graphic works refer to two- or
three-dimensional works showing geographical phenomena and demonstrating
the fundamentals or the structure of a thing or an object, such as
geographical maps, circuit plans or anatomical drawings.
means of exploitation of works referred to in the Law and in the
Regulations shall mean the following:
reproduction is the act of producing one or more copies of a work
by printing, photocopying, copying, lithographing, making a sound
recording or video recording, duplicating a recording, or duplicating a
photographic work, or by other means;
performance is the public presentation of a work by performing
music or drama, reciting a poem, or doing similar acts, through vocal
sound, facial movements and body movements, directly or with the aid of
broadcasting is the communication of works through wireless radio
waves and cable television system;
exhibition is the public display of the original copies or
reproductions of works of fine art and photography;
distribution is the provision of a certain number of copies of a
work to the public through selling, renting or other means, insofar as the
said number of copies satisfy the reasonable needs of the public;
publication is the public distribution of copies of the edited
version of a work;
the making of cinematographic, television and video works means the
fixation for the first time of a work on a certain carrier by way of
cinematographic production or similar means. The mere mechanical recording
of a performance or scenery shall not be regarded as the making of the
adaptation is the creation of new original works on the basis of
preexisting ones by changing their original forms of expression or their
purposes for use;
translation is the conversion of the language of a work into
annotation is the explanation of the characters, words and
sentences used in a written work;
compilation is the creation of a work by assembling a number of
selected preexisting works, in whole or in part, according to an
arrangement designed for a specific purpose;
arrangement is the re-editing of preexisting works or materials by
changing their state of being fragmented and poorly ordered into one of
being systematic and orderly, such as the glossing and repairing of
terms as mentioned in the Law and in the Regulations shall mean the
news on current events refers to the mere facts or happenings
conveyed by newspapers, periodivals and radio and television programmes;
sound recordings refer to the original recordation of any sounds;
video recordings refer to the original recordation of a series of
related images, with or without accompanying sounds, other than
cinematographic and television and videographic works;
radio and television broadcasts refer to the programme communicated
by a radio or television station by means of diffusing signals carrying
sound or images or both;
producer of sound recordings refers to a person who makes sound
producer of video recordings refers to a person who makes video
performer refers to an actor or any other person who performs
literary and artistic works.
National Copyright Administration is the copyright administration
department under the State Council and shall be responsible for the
nationwide work of administration of copyright. Its main functions shall
to implement copyright-related laws and regulations and to
promulgate rules in relation to copyright administration;
to investigate and redress cases of infringement of copyright that
are of nationwide influence;
to approve the establishment of collective administration of
copyright, foreign-related copyright agencies and arbitration agencies on
disputes of copyright contracts, and to supervise and guide their work;
to be responsible for the administration of external copyright
to administer copyrights of which the State is the owner;
to provide guidance for the work of local copyright administration
to carry out other duties assigned by the State Council in relation
to copyright administration.
copyright administration departments under the local people's governments
shall be responsible for copyright administration within their respective
jurisdiction, whose duties shall be determined by the people's government
of each of the provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly
under the central government.
Ownership and Exercise of
the Law provided otherwise, copyright of a work shall belong to the
citizen who has created the work, or the legal entity or an entity without
legal personality which is deemed as the author of the work.
legal entity must be in conformity with the conditions laid down by the
General Principles of Civil Law of the People's Republic of China.
Registered social institutions and economic organizations which do not
meet the conditions of legal entities, and each of the relatively
independent departments forming a legal entity are entities without legal
who have glossed or rearranged others' preexisting works shall enjoy the
copyright in the works thus created, but shall not be entitled to
copyright in the original works and shall not prevent other persons from
glossing or rearranging the same preexisting works.
joint authors failed to reach an agreement on the exercise of copyright in
a work of their joint authorship which cannot be used separately, any
party may not unreasonably prevent the other parties from exercising the
the case of works of compilation, being in the form of encyclopedias,
dictionaries, textbooks or photo books of large size, as the case may be,
copyright in the work as a whole shall belong to the legal entities or
entities without legal personality which have sponsored the creation or
provided financial aid and material means for the creation and bear the
responsibility in relation to the said works.
the copyright owner has authorized others to make cinematographic.
television or videographic works based on his works, it is deemed that he
has permitted them to make necessary alteration of his works, insofar as
such alteration does not distort or mutilate the original work.
copyright in a work created in the course of employment belongs to the
author, the author may, in the case that the entity to which he belongs
has not exploited the work within the scope of its professional activities
within two years after the completion of the work, request the said entity
to permit a third party to exploit the work in the same manner as the
entity may have done, the said entity may not refuse the request, unless
it has justified reasons.
two years after the creation of the work, the author may, with the
permission of the entity to which he belongs, permit a third party to use
the work in the same manner as the entity may have done. Remunerations
thus obtained shall be divided between the author and the entity according
to agreed proportions. Even after the expiry of the said two years, the
entity may continue to exploit the work within the scope of its
aforementioned two years period after the creation of the work shall be
calculated from the date on which the work concerned was submitted to the
material and technical resources mentioned in item (1), second paragraph
of Article 16 of the Law shall mean the funds, equipments or materials
provided expressly for the creation of a work.
the case of a work of an unknown author, the copyright, except the right
of authorship, shall be exercised by the lawful holder of the original
copy of the work, Where the author has been identified, the copyright
shall be exercised by the author or his heir in title.
18 of the Law, which says that transfer of ownership of the original copy
of a work of fine art or other works shall not be deemed as transfer of
copyright in the work. is applicable to all works of which the ownership
of the original copy can be transferred.
of property rights contained in copyright shall be executed in accordance
with the Law of Inheritance.
the case where one of the co-authors of a work of joint authorship dies
without heir in title or other behested beneficiary, the right of
exploitation and the economic rights he enjoyed in the work shall be
exercised by the other co-authors.
right of authorship, right of revision an right of integrity shall, after
the death of the author, be protected by the heir in title and other
behested beneficiary, In the absence of an heir in title or other behested
beneficiary, the right of authorship. the right of revision and the right
of integrity shall be protected by copyright administration departments.
enjoyed by the State shall be enforced by the copyright administration
departments on behalf of the State.
the case of posthumous works, the right of publication may be exercised by
the author's heir in title or other behested beneficiary within a period
of fifty years, unless the author expressly had stated otherwise. In the
absence of an heir in title or other behested beneficiary, the said right
shall be exercised by the lawful holder of the original copy of the work.
shall occur on the date when a work is created and shall be protected
under the Law.
the case of a work of an unknown author, the term of protection in
relation to the right of exploitation and the right to remuneration shall
be fifty years ending on December 31 of the fiftieth year after the first
publication of the work. Article 21 of the Law shall be applicable after
the author of the work has been identified.
a work of a foreigner has first been published in the territory of China,
the term of protection shall be calculated from the date of the first
publication of the work.
first publication of a work of a foreigner in the territory of China
mentioned in the second paragraph of Article 2 of the Law refers to the
situation where an unpublished work of a foreigner has been published for
the first time in the territory of China by lawful means.
of foreigners first published outside China shall be deemed first
published in China if they are published in the territory of China within
thirty days after their first publication.
works of foreigners shall also be deemed first published in China if their
authorized adaptations or translations are first published in the
territory of China.
published work as mentioned in the Law refers to a work which has been
made available by the copyright owner to the public by means stipulated in
following conditions have to be conformed with for an act to be deemed
appropriate quotation of published works by others. as mentioned in
Article 22 (2) of the Law:
the quotation is made solely for the purpose of introduction to, or
comment on. a work or demonstration of a point;
the quotation shall not form a major or substantial part of the
work of the quoter;
the interests of the copyright owner of the work being quoted shall
not be prejudiced.
22 (3) of the Law refers to unavoidable inclusion of published works as is
justified by the purpose of reporting current events.
use of published works of other persons by virtue of Article 22 (6) and
(7) shall not harm the normal exploitation of the works concerned and
shall not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the copyright
a published work is performed by virtue of Article 22 (9) of the Law, no
fees shall be charged on the audience and no payment shall be made to the
22 (11) of the Law shall be applicable only to works originally created in
contracts with copyright owners and the license obtained for using their
works shall be made in written form, except in cases where works are to be
published by newspapers and periodicals.
default of a clear indication in a contract in relation to the grant of
exclusive right to use, only a non-exclusive right to use by the licensee
shall be granted, unless the Law stipulated otherwise.
provision of standard forms of various copyright licensing contracts shall
be the responsibility of the National Copyright Administration.
person who has obtained the exclusive right in relation to the use in a
certain way of a work shall have the right to prevent any other person,
including the copyright owner, from using the work in the same way.
However, the sublicensing of the same right to a third party shall be
subject to permission by the copyright owner, unless the contracting
parties agreed otherwise.
Exercise of and
Limitations on Right Related to Copyright
related to copyright, as mentioned in the Law and the Regulations, mean
the right enjoyed by publishers in their publications, the right enjoyed
by performers in their performances, the right enjoyed by producers of
audio and video recordings in their products and the right enjoyed by
radio and television stations in their broadcasts.
performers, producers of audio and video recordings and radio and
television stations, in the course of exercising their rights, shall not
prejudice the rights of the copyright owner of the works being used and of
the original work.
shall enjoy exclusive right of exploitation in the typographical design of
the books, newspapers and periodicals which they have published.
virtue of Article 30 of the Law, legal protection shall be available for
the exclusive right which a publisher obtained to publish, within the term
of validity of and the territory of execution defined by the contract, a
work in its original language and in the form of original edition, revised
version or abridged version.
the case where a manuscript was submitted to a publisher on the author's
own initiative, the publisher shall, within six months, notify the author
whether he will publish the work or not. In the case of acceptance, a
contract shall be made; in the case of refusal, notification shall be sent
to the author in a timely manner. Where no notification is served and no
contract is made, the author may, upon expiry of the said six months,
demand that the manuscript be returned and economic compensation be made.
The said six months shall be calculated from the date of receipt of the
manuscript by the publisher.
Articles 29, 30, 31 and 33 of the Law shall not be applicable
where the cost of publication of a work is borne by the author.
state of being out of print in relation to a work mentioned in Article 31
of the Law shall be established if a period of six months, after two
subscription forms were mailed by the author to the publisher, expires
without action being taken to satisfy the subscription.
object to the reprinting of his work in whole or in part by virtue of the
second paragraph of Article 32 of the Law, the copyright owner is required
to make a statement to that effect at the same time when the work is first
published in a newspaper or a periodical.
time limit shall be set on the term of protection in relation to the
rights provided for in Article 36 (1) and (2) of the Law.
the case of the term of protection in relation to the right to
remuneration which the performers enjoyed by virtue of the second
paragraph of Article 39 and the third paragraph of Article 42 of the Law,
the first paragraph of Article 39 and the second paragraph of Article 42
of the Law shall apply.
accordance with Article 35 of the Law. payment of remuneration by
performers to the copyright owner shall be made through the person who has
organized the performance.
by foreign performers taking place in the territory of China shall be
protected by the Law.
and video recordings produced and distributed in the terriry of China by
foreign producers shall be protected by the Law.
object to the performance, recording or making broadcasts of his work by
virtue of the second paragraph of Article 35, first paragraph of Article
37 and second paragraph of Article 40 of the Law, the copyright owner is
required to make a statement to that effect at the same time when his work
is published, or have the statement carried in the copyright bulletin
issued by the National Copyright Administration.
use publisher works of other persons by virtue of the second paragraph of
Article 32, the second paragraph of Article 35, the first paragraph of
Article 37 and the second paragraph of Article 40 of the Law, the user
shall pay remuneration to the copyright owner. In the case where the
copyright owner is not identifiable or the address of the copyright owner
is not available, the remuneration payable shall be remitted, within one
month, to the body designated by the National Copyright Administration for
further transfer to the due copyright owner.
against copyright enumerated in Article 46 of the Law shall be liable to
the administrative sanctions to be imposed by copyright administration
departments in the form of warning, injunction in relation to the
production and distribution of infringing copies, confiscation of unlawful
gains and seizure of infringing copies and equipments used for making
infringing copies, as well as fine.
amount of the fine to be imposed for infringements against copyright
enumerated in Article 46 of the Law shall be the following , depending on
the situation of each of the cases:
an infringing act as mentioned in Article 46 (1) of the Law shall
be liable to a fine of 100 to 5, 000 yuan in RMB;
infringing acts as mentioned in Article 46 (2), (3), (4), (5) and
(6) of the Law shall be liable to a fine of 10,000 to 100,000 yuan in RMB,
or an amount of two to five times as much as the total value of the
an infringing act as mentioned in Article 46 (7) of the Law shall
be liable to a fine of 1,000 to 50,000 yuan in RMB.
administration departments under the local governments shall be
responsible to investigate and handle the infringements against copyright
enumerated in Article 46 of the Law;
National copyright Administration shall investigate and handle the
following infringements against copyright:
infringements against copyright that are of nationwide influence;
infringements against copyright where a foreign party is involved;
infringements against copyright that should be investigated and
handled by the National Copyright Administration.
exercising its right of imposing administrative sanctions, a copyright
administration department may order the infringer to compensate the loss
which the infringed party suffered.
owners may exercise their copyrights by way of collective administration.
interpretation of these Regulations shall be the responsibility of the
National Copyright Administration.
These Implementing Regulations shall enter into force on June 1. 1991.