The Complete Guide to Software Copyright Certificates in China

A Software Copyright Certificate (SCC) is required for every mobile app published in China. It is a legal document registered with the Chinese Copyright Administration Bureau, proving ownership of the app and copyrighting it.

What is a Software Copyright Certificate?

The SCC is used to prove and protect the copyright of your mobile app in China. It contains a unique identification number, the name of the app, and the company that owns the certificate. The name of the app must match the name on the certificate. If the app name changes, a new certificate must be applied. This isn’t a trademark, but it proves the ownership of the app to the Chinese app stores.

Why do I need a Software Copyright Certificate?

We use this certificate to post apps on Chinese app stores and remove unauthorized copies of your app using the same or similar names.

Will my current copyright registration be enough?

No. China isn’t covered by intellectual property registration in the rest of the world. It has its own copyright and trademark registration systems and protections.

Who can apply for a Software Copyright Certificate?

Any company, Chinese or non-Chinese, can apply for an SCC, though it is easier for a Chinese company to do so. Even though we register many apps on behalf of our clients, our agreement makes it clear that the sole copyright for the app rests with the app owner and not us.

How many Software Copyright Certificates do I need?

You need one SCC per app. Please remember that if the names of either your company or app change, you will need a new certificate.

How long does it take to receive a Software Copyright Certificate?

About 2 to 4 weeks.

What materials are required to register a Software Copyright Certificate?

  • Basic information about your company – Including name, address and business license number.
  • Operation manual – This is a document that shows how users will use your app.
  • Source code sample – A document containing the first 2,000 lines and last 2,000 lines of your app’s source code.

Why do I need to provide a source code sample to register a Software Copyright Certificate?

By providing a small sample of your source code, you receive an additional layer of protection. This small snippet can be used to prove ownership in a copyright dispute. This is the only reason any entity would review your code sample. There is no need to worry about your code sample being copied by another party.

Can I get a Software Copyright Certificate if I’m not a Chinese company?

There are three options for foreign companies to register an SCC:

  1. Register with your Chinese subsidiary if you already have one. The process is a little cumbersome, though we can solve that by applying for it on your behalf. We can do all the necessary paperwork and coordination with the authorities while ensuring that your Chinese subsidiary is the legal owner of the SCC.
  2. AppInChina can apply for your SCC under our license as we are a Wholly Foreign-Owned Enterprise based in Beijing. In this circumstance, we would be listed as the official publisher of your app in China, but do not worry: We have a detailed contract which ensures that while we are holding the SCC on your behalf, you retain full control, ownership, and copyright of your app. The majority of our clients prefer this method because it’s generally easier and less complicated.
  3. It is possible to apply for the SCC under a foreign entity by notarizing your company’s business license through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Chinese Embassy in the U.S. (for U.S.-based companies), which can take at least 2 to 3 months. However, we do not recommend this because many of the top Chinese app stores require the name on the app store account and the Software Copyright Certificate to match each other. So although it can be done, your app can not be published on many of the major Chinese app stores which defeats the purpose of registering your app in China.

How can AppInChina help?

As part of our standard suite of services, AppInChina provides a dashboard and personalized service that makes it as simple and easy as possible to apply for and receive your Software Copyright Certificate.

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