Examination and Approval Of Publishing Electronic Games By Overseas Copyright Holders

By Todd KuhnsLast Updated on Apr 12, 2019
Examination and Approval Of Publishing Electronic Games By Overseas Copyright Holders

Release Date: 04-12-2019
Source: SAPPRFT Website (this info is also now posted on NPPA website)

Setting Basis

1. “Decision of the State Council on Establishing Administrative Licensing for Administrative Examination and Approval Projects That Must Be Retained” (State Council Decree No. 412) Annex No. 328: Examination and Approval of Publishing Electronic Publications (including Internet Game Works) Authorized by Overseas Copyright Owners. 

2. “Administrative Regulations on Audiovisual Products” (in accordance with the third revision of the “Decision of the State Council on Amending Certain Administrative Regulations” of February 6, 2016) Article 28: “Imported audiovisual products for publication, and imports for Finished audiovisual products such as wholesale, retail, and rental shall be reported to the competent administrative department of publishing under the State Council for content review. “Article 48:” Except for Article 35 of these regulations, the publication, production, reproduction, These regulations apply to activities such as import, wholesale and retail. “

License Conditions

1. The publishing unit must be an electronic publication publishing unit.

2. For electronic games authorized by overseas copyright holders issued by non-publishing units, the issuing unit must have a distribution license.

3. The electronic game authorized by the reported foreign copyright owner has fulfilled the copyright contract registration procedures at the National Copyright Administration.

4. The game contents conform to the laws and regulations such as the Regulations on Publishing Management.

Quantitative Restrictions

Meet the requirements of related aggregate, structure and layout planning.

Licensing Program

The application unit submits the publication approval application materials to the local provincial publishing management department, and the provincial publishing management department reviews and agrees to submit to the State Press and Publication Administration for approval.

Approval Period

80 working days from the date of acceptance of the application.

Materials To Submit

1. Request documents of the local provincial publication management department to the State Press and Publication Administration:

  1. Please indicate the language. The main sending unit is the National Press and Publication Administration. It should have a front page, be marked with a document number, and have a complete official seal.
  2. The text should clearly indicate the name of the game, the publishing unit, the issuing unit, and the content of the items to be declared. If it is a game console game, the type of game console and the type of game should be stated in the file.              
  3. The name of the game should be simple and clear, highly generalized, and reflecting the content of the game. In principle, the use of characters other than simplified Chinese characters is not allowed, and it is not allowed to have the same name as an already approved game. Articles 25 and 26 of the Regulations on the Administration of Publishing make clear that it must not contain vulgar, obscene, kitsch, and other content that violates the core values ​​of socialism.
  4. For each game, please request documents, and submit the materials in A4 paper size, 1 in 1 copy, without binding.

2. “Publishing an Application for Authorization of Electronic Game Publications by Overseas Copyright Owners” Form:

  1. This application is for the declaration of imported games.
  2. The “Detailed Content Introduction” should accurately describe the game content (including but not limited to: game background, role play, game characters [NPC], scene, main plot, gameplay, function [system], main features, game usage methods, etc.). Please be sure each item has a detailed description and accompanying pictures.
  3. The “review report” must include: The publishing unit’s review start time, the problems and revisions found during the review, and the final clear review opinions.
  4. The “review report” must be signed by the responsible editor in charge of the game review and the chief editor of the publishing unit, and then affixed with the official seal of the publishing unit. The responsible editor and the chief editor must meet the professional qualification requirements of the corresponding post. Relevant qualifications must be provided when submitting materials.

3. Reply to the Copyright Contract Registration of the National Copyright Administration (Photocopy):

  1. The publishing unit must appear in the reply, and the text should clearly indicate the name of the game, the name of the overseas copyright holder, and the content of the declaration, and it should be stamped with the copyright registration seal of the National Copyright Administration.
  2. If the name of the overseas copyright owner is not specified, the copyright contract registration form of the National Copyright Administration or a copy of the authorization contract of the overseas copyright owner must be submitted.
  3. Non-overseas IP-authorized games independently developed by domestic foreign-funded enterprises (including Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan-funded enterprises) can provide copyright certification materials and a copy of the authorization contract stamped with the copyright owner’s official seal. If they are overseas IP-authorized games, they must still provide the National Copyright Administration Copyright contract registration reply.

4. Publishing contract and business license of game agency (copy):

  • Copies must be stamped with the official seal of the publishing unit and the game agency.

5. Issuance contract and issuance license (copy) of the issuing unit:

  • The photocopy shall be stamped with the official seal of the issuing unit. If the issuer is the publishing unit itself, and it is clearly stated in the approval document of the Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television Bureau of the province, autonomous region, or municipality directly under the Central Government, a copy of the distribution license need not be provided.

6. Introduction to the levels of the video game or winning strategy:

  • The content should be complete, detailed, and effective, and must reflect the complete content of the game.

7. Color pictures (electronic files) of the main tasks and main scenes of the video game:

  • The number of pictures must not be less than 10, which must reflect the core content and basic appearance of the game work, including at least one picture of the main menu of the game which includes the game name.

8. Chinese script of game (electronic documents):

  • All Chinese characters that appear in the game, including but not limited to system prompts, NPC dialogues, mission plots, game props, etc., in electronic document on CD (3 copies).

9. Video game publication sample:

  1. 3 copies. The game name must be written on the disk. The content of the CD must be readable, include the game installation files, able to install and run normally. It must be completely consistent with the version to be published.
  2. If the game installation and operation requires special systems, software, and hardware environment, please provide 2 sets of corresponding equipment. These will be returned to the publishing unit after the game approval is completed.
  3. Provide any necessary serial numbers or activation codes necessary for installation.
  4. If a universal clearance mode (“God Mode”) is available in the game, please provide the information of how to access it.
  5. For game console games, two devices to run the game must be provided at the same time. They will be returned to the publishing unit after the game approval is completed.

10. A CD-ROM containing the materials from the second to the eighth items above:

  1. Three readable copies of the CD-ROM are necessary.
  2. The name of the game and the words “electronic documents” must be written on the disk, and the materials on the CD should be easy to read and arranged in a clear order.
  3. The game demonstration video must be at least 10 minutes in length. The video must show the Healthy Game Advice screen, game title, main menu of the game, all character images, all accessible scenes, and all systems that can be experienced. Those with combat systems must show the actual combat effect in the game, and the duration must be at least 2 minutes.

Note: On July 8, 2020, this document was linked to by Apple in a notice sent to developers regarding game licenses on the Apple App Store China:

As you may know, Chinese law requires games to obtain an approval number from China’s National Press and Publication Administration. In order to keep your paid game or game with in-app purchases available on the App Store in China mainland, enter your approval number and supporting documentation in the App Information section of your game’s page in App Store Connect and submit an update to App Review by July 31. After July 31, your game will no longer be available on the App Store in China mainland until an approval number is provided with your next submission.

You can find the full text of the regulation and download the form required to apply for an approval number here for developers based in China mainland or here for developers based elsewhere.