Laws and Regulations

Chinese Law

Source: Ministry of Commerce Website, PRC


Wednesday, March 04, 1998 Posted: 14:37 BJT(0637 GMT)

(Valid From:1998.03.04)



Article One — The promulgation of the provisional regulation aims at enhancing the software products management, promoting the development of the software industry and wider computer application, and accelerating the computerization of the national economy.

Article Two — The regulation is applicable to the replication of software carried by all kinds of devices which are provided to the public by way of selling, renting or licensing. These devices include paper, tape, disc, VCD, semi-transistor storage device, integrated circuit chip and any other form which has the capacity to store information. The regulation is not applicable to those software designed or entrusted to be designed by units or individuals for self-use.

Article Three — The development, production and marketing of software are encouraged for the purpose of carrying forward the development of the software industry, and satisfying the increasing demand for computerization.

Article Four — Software development, production, management and import and export must not contradict the relevant laws and regulations, and the following is banned:

1. violating intellectual property right.

2. carrying computer virus endangering the computer system.

3. carrying contents forbidden by the government.

Article Five — The Ministry of the Electronic Industry is in charge of the national software administration.


Article Six — The state exercises a system of registration and filing over software products. The National Software Product Management Center under the Ministry of Electronic Industry shall be responsible for the registration numbers and certificates as well as other relevant management affairs.

Article Seven — Application for the registration and filing of software products shall be submitted by the relevant manufacturer together with the following documents:

1. a copy of legal person business license issued by the Administration of Industry and Commerce.

2. the identity certificate of the legal representative and the relevant materials.

3. the valid copyright certificate of the software product, including the valid certificate for holding the copyright by the relevant institution or enterprise or the contract by which the copyright owner gives approval to the relevant organization to produce the software product and the valid copyright certificate for the software.

4. the name, contents, function, the copyright holder, materials concerning the registration and filing of the software copyright as well as the sample and test result of the software product.

5. when the registration is applied for through the delegation of a software manufacturer, the certificate of authorization shall be provided at the same time.

Article Eight — Application for the registration and filling of an imported software product shall be undertaken by the relevant importer, and apart from the documents stipulated in Article 7 of this regulation, relevant materials granting permission to the importer of the software product shall be provided at the same time.

Article Nine — Application for the registration and filing of a foreign software product made domestically shall be undertaken by the relevant software manufacturer, and apart from the documents stipulated in Article 7 of this regulation, relevant materials granting permission to the import of the software product shall be submitted at the same time.

Article Ten — In case of the change of the registered software items, the applicant shall go through the formalities of the change of the registration at the original issuing authorities.

Article Eleven — Producers of software shall meet the following requirements:

1. They shall be corporate bodies, established under the approval of the Administration of Industry and Commerce, and the operation of computer software (including software technology development and production) shall be included in their business range.

2. They shall have the necessary conditions and technical ability, for software production.

3. They shall have a fixed place for production.

4. They shall have the means and capability to guarantee the quality of both the product and the production.

Article Twelve — The producer shall hold or be franchised or licensed the copyright of the software they produce.

Article Thirteen — The software producers shall be responsible for the examination of the contents of their products.

Article Fourteen — The quality of the relevant software shall comply with the relative technology and software standard, and the quality certification system promulgated by the state, as well as the provisions of relevant laws and regulations.

Article Fifteen — Software for the users shall be marked on the outer package with the name, version number, copyright owner, registration number of the software, as well as the name and address of the producers (or the importer) and the date of production.

Article Sixteen — The software products provided to users (including foreign software imported or produced locally) shall be accompanied with adequate operation literature in Chinese, such as instructions, operation manuals etc.. The content, mode of technological service as well as its suppliers shall be indicated on the product or in the above- mentioned operation literature, or in other written forms.

Article Seventeen — All foreign software products imported or produced locally shall comply with stipulations of relevant laws, the technology standards and norms of the state and of this regulation. Import or production of foreign software listed in article 4 of this regulation is prohibited. For foreign software products that do not comply with the nation’s technology standards, norms or this regulation, or evidenced to be inferior in operation, or not up to their promised functions, the competent agencies in charge of software, according to the specific situations, have the authority to decide either to restrict or forbid their importation or local production.

Article Eighteen — Production of pirated software, software for deciphering secret and software with the main function of removing technology-protection measures are prohibited. Production of software containing contents listed in article 4 of this regulation is prohibited.

Article Nineteen — Laser-disc producers approved by the competent agencies are not allowed to produce software items that have not been registered or filed.


Article Twenty — The management of software products mainly takes the form of agency. Agency agreements in written form shall be signed between agents (sellers of software products) and principals (developers and producers of software products), and between general agents and sub- agent. Agency agreements shall specify the authority limit, geographical limit, time limit and technical services of the agency relationship, and other necessary contents stipulated by the Ministry of Electronic Industry. Developers and producers may also directly engage in the sale of their software products.

Article Twenty-One — Agents are required to put up their agency qualification certificates in a conspicuous position in their business places. The certificates shall include he terms of reference, time limit, geographical limit of agency and agency grading, etc., which are to be accordingly conveyed in the advertisements and other means of publicity run by the agent.

Article Twenty-Two — Managing institution of software products shall conduct he management in the form of licensing. A written licensing contract shall be signed between the managing and producing institutions. Managing institutions shall notify users to consult licensing files before the sale of software products, and require them to indicate whether to give their approval.

Article Twenty-Three — The software sellers shall sell the software products according to the stipulations of Article 15 and Article 16 and inform the user of the content, means, the fees and the provider of the relevant technical services in written form or on file. In case providers of technical services are not specified, the software sellers shall be regarded as the providers of the relative technical services. In case there is no indication of the extra service charges and the specified sum shall be regarded that the relative charges have been included in the price of the products.

Article Twenty-Four — No organizations are permitted to deal in software products which have not been registered and filed or software products are with contents provide by Article 4 of this regulation or sell or provide free-of-charge pirated software products deciphering secrets.

Article Twenty-Five — Software products provided together with hardware, such as computers, shall comply with the relative stipulations of this regulation.

Article Twenty-Six — The testing edition of the software products shall be marked clearly and provided free of charge, and shall not be sold for profit.

Article Twenty-Seven — The Software Product Management Departments are entitled to supervise and inspect such activities concerning software products as [………..]