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The People’s Republic of China has issued its first set of laws to protect computer software copyrights, but they have not gone down too well in the US: they say that both Chinese and foreign individuals and organisations may apply to copyright software and copyrights can be requested for a total period of not more than 50 years, with liability to fines or imprisonment for breaches – but copyrights have to be registered by October for existing software; there are also exceptions, including the copying in limited amounts of software for educational, research or state purposes and despite the limitations, Ashton-Tate Corp has responded by starting to ship dBase IV version 1.1 in Chinese, saying it is the first software product to qualify for protection under the new law.

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