The National Copyright Administration (NCAC) recently announced at the National Copyright Social Service Conference that the total number of copyright registrations issued between January and October 2015 reached a record high of 689,700, marking a significant achievement in China’s 12th five-year plan.

In terms of the total number of copyright registrations in China, between 2011 and 2014 the NCAC handled over 2.8 billion copyright registrations – a 47.6% increase on the previous five-year plan period. This demonstrates that the importance of copyright registration to rights holders has increased significantly in recent years.

In China, copyright registration is filed on a voluntary basis and is not a prerequisite for enforcement of a copyright. Nevertheless, the advantages of copyright registration in China are manifold, including the following:

  • Copyright registration is not restricted to any particular class of goods or services, as opposed to trademark registration. Thus, a trademark owner may register a device mark as a copyrighted work for supplemental protection against unauthorised registration and/or use in other classes.
  • The owner of a copyrighted work may further record the registered work with the General Customs to stop the import or export of goods that infringe the copyright.
  • In China, a copyright registration certificate is usually required to support a complaint lodged with online business-to-business or businesss-to-consumer platforms based in China (eg, Alibaba and Taobao).
  • When enforcing copyright through legal proceedings before the Chinese courts, a copyright registration certificate serves as prima facie evidence of copyright ownership, and does not require notarisation or legalisation.

Therefore, the growth in the number and importance of copyright registrations is expected to continue.

Kwok Yue So

This article first appeared in IAM. For further information please visit www.iam-media.com.