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Q: Pen Names & Copyrighting ( Answered,   2 Comments )
Subject: Pen Names & Copyrighting
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: questionhub-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 13 Jul 2006 12:24 PDT
Expires: 12 Aug 2006 12:24 PDT
Question ID: 746030
I'm creating a book and video and would like to publish with the use
of a pen name. My question is how do you copyright a piece of work
with a pen name? Do I have to register the pen name with someone? Or
just copyright it the same as always with my original name?
Subject: Re: Pen Names & Copyrighting
Answered By: pafalafa-ga on 13 Jul 2006 12:54 PDT

In the US, copyright exists as soon as you create a written (or video)
work--there is no special need to register, nor is there a particular
need to use your real name.  Even works created under pen names are
protected by copyright as soon as they are created.

However, you CAN register with the copyright office if you so choose,
and there are certain advantages to doing so, especially if you ever
get into a legal dispute over a work.

You can read the basics about copyright at the US Copyright Office's FAQs page:

and in particular, take note of the specific Q&A having to do with pen names:
Do I have to use my real name on the form? Can I use a stage name or a pen name?

...There is no legal requirement that the author be identified by his
or her real name on the application form. For further information, see
FL 101, Pseudonyms. If filing under a fictitious name, check the
?Pseudonymous? box at space 2.

FL101 can bew found here:

Hope that does the trick, but if there's anything else I can do for
you, just let me know.


search strategy -- Knowledge of copyright, and bookmarked pages
Subject: Re: Pen Names & Copyrighting
From: kriswrite-ga on 13 Jul 2006 14:44 PDT
There IS a real need to obtain a filing with the copyright office if
the copyright ever comes into dispute. The only true way to establish
that you're the copyright holder of particular work is to register
with the copyright office; tricks like mailing yourself the work won't
hold up in a courtroom. Hopefully, you will never have to prove that
you're the original copyright owner. But if a day comes when you must,
you'll be thankful that you took the trouble to file with the U.S.
Copyright Office.

Subject: Re: Pen Names & Copyrighting
From: probonopublico-ga on 13 Jul 2006 22:38 PDT
Interesting Question & Responses!

I am currently researching a guy who, according to his grandchildren,
wrote 3 novels, all under different pseudonyms. Period: Late 20's;
Early 30's. Place: UK.

I am absolutely sure that he wrote the first but I am now completely
convinced that he didn't write the others.

But how to prove these things when he died in 1983 and all the
publishers are now out of business?

In this case, it is no big deal but it does occur to me that it would
have been a good idea for him to have got his ownership in the
copyright established for the possible benefit of future generations.

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