Could the Copyright Safe Replace the System of Copyright Registration?

—Comparison between Copyright safe and copyright registration system

Highlight: Bridge IP Law Commentary today will introduce you the newly adopted system of the Copyright Safe, and also we will analyze the difference between the new system and the copyright registration system.

Recently, the Beijing International Copyright Trade Center released the country’s first “copyright safe” (the Safe) for the soonest electronic notarization by internet on works. Meanwhile, the Asia’s largest music database of the Center is also established and put into operation.

It is introduced in the news that to use the Safe the applicant shall submit their work to the system of the administrative department through internet, choose the term of protection and pay the fees. All of these data will be synchronized to the cooperated notary office, and an electronic notary certificate will be issued after the office’s review.

The Safe is much similar to the existing copyright registration system (the System) in the current legal system in China, though they are legally different to some extent. Bridge IP Law Commentary thinks the Safe could only be the supplement to the System’s defects instead of its replacement for the following reasons:

I. The System has higher legal effect, and the Safe could help to prove the right belonging. 

In China copyright law, the System, which is mainly used to prove the owner of the copyright, is expressly stipulated in the laws and regulations, including the “the Measures for Voluntary Registration of Works”, “the Interim Measures for Computer Software Copyright Registration”. Therefore, the copyright registration certificate can be used as the preliminary evidence in copyright registration conflict, and the court tends to judge the author documented shall be the legal owner of the copyright.

The Safe is kind of notarization in essence despite it claims to be the method to protect the author’s copyright. As we know, the notarization can only prove the event itself, but not the legal relationship behind it. In other words, the so-called “copyright safe” and the electronic notarization hereby made can only prove that the applicant uploaded works at specific time and the applicants claim to be the owner of the copyright, while it could not demonstrate who shall be the authentic owner of the copyright either in the notary effect or the legal validity. That means such notarization could not be the sole base on which the court determines the copyright owner.

However, the Safe could be the supplementary evidence to the copyright belonging. For example, the author can record the creation process through the notarization of several times which can be used to prove the ownership, or as the contrary evidence to opposite the documented issues in the copyright registration certificate.

II.  The higher efficiency of the Safe 

Nevertheless, the Safe still has its own value with the most advantage of its high efficiency. We take the computer software copyright registration as the example, according to the “Measures for Computer Software Copyright Registration”, the computer software copyright registration is required the review period up to 60 days. In addition, for the computer software registration, it’s demanded of the compilation and execution by the administrative departments. That means it’s impossible to register a semifinished software, and for each update, the developer have to endure the review period of 60 days.

By the introduction on the Safe in the report, the developer could upload the software code in development to the relevant server at any time, namely the electronic notary, which will still be reviewed. However, such review is kind of formal examination rather than the compilation or execution of the software. In this way, the safe could secure the copyright against ant possible infringement.

Author: Mr. Luo Yanjie
Attorney-at-law of DeBund Law Offices
Co-author: Mr. You Yunting
Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Bridge IP Law Commentary
Partner & Attorney-at-law of Shanghai DeBund Law Offices
Email: Bridge@chinaiplawyer.com, Tel: 8621-5213-4900,
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Bridge IP Law Commentary is a website focus on the introduction of commercial laws in China, especially the intellectual property laws. All the posts here are our original works. And all news or cases referred here are from public reports, and our comments or analysis are of due diligence, neutrality and impartiality, representing our own opinions only and are our original works. You may contact us shall you have any opinions or suggestions.


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