Copyright and Using a Pseudonym

I have not yet reached the stage of finishing my novel, and then other writing projects I will go on to, so I have not yet had to register / copyright any work I have done.

When I do register, I presume that I will do so under my real name, so do I then only use a pseudonym (which I want to do) in the publications, or do I need to include my real name in the publications, too?

I am asking because in the past I have often seen in the fly leaf of a book a note to the effect, ‘Fred Smith is a pseudonym for Chris Jones’.

If possible, I would prefer to not use my real name.

I realize that different ‘territories’ have different attitudes towards copyright, so a secondary issue in which I am interested is the degree to which having copyrighted a literary work in one territory/jurisdiction is recognized in other jurisdictions.

Any advice, suggestions, information about this would be most welcome.

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What do you mean by register? Maybe I’m getting it all wrong, but usually your work should be copyrighted “by default” (unless you make it public domain or sell certain rights to others).

Back in the late 1990s I copyrighted a book in the USA under a nom de plume so it can be done. But, since laws change all the time contact the copyright office in your jurisdiction to find out the current status.

These are the current rules in the USA.

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Thanks for the reply, November_Sierra.

When I said “register” (and that terminology might not apply everywhere), I was thinking of the process in the U.S…

I had a reply (posted on another forum) which said, in part,
'you can register copyright under a pseudonym and not use your real name on the application.

“If you are registering a pseudonymous work, you are not required to provide the author’s full name in the application.” '.

Although the works are copyrighted by default, I am of the strong belief that (like verbal contracts which are often not worth the proverbial paper on which they are written), if ever copyright is violated or disputed in some way, it is best to have as much evidence as possible of proof of authorship.

I am also aware that some people mail their works to themselves, with a clear postmark, via some kind of registered post/mail.

So, I am wondering how people here register their works for copyright, and how pseudonyms are dealt with, particularly if self-publishing. I came across one reply elsewhere in which the author was ‘traditionally’ published, under a pseudonym, and the publisher entered into a strict agreement to only use the pseudonym, and to not reveal the author’s real name to others.

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Many thanks for your reply, Orpheus.

Thank you :grinning:

Another alternative is to create a corporate entity (probably an LLC, in the US), and assign the copyright to that entity.

There’s a bit of information on the topic here:

But you should consult a lawyer and possibly an accountant regarding your specific case.


Thanks very much.

After I had posted, the thought did occur to me that, when the time comes, consulting a lawyer will probably be the best thing to do.

It’s sort of like consulting a plumber before trying to fix your own pipes. It’s a lot easier (and cheaper) to bring them in up front than to get their help fixing a mess after the fact.

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Great analogy, Katherine.

Thank you :slight_smile: :slightly_smiling_face:

Thanks for the links, provide great information. I may have to spend more time on marketing and licensce rights then writing the book. Just retired, so will not have any time for mind to not be busy with all this.

Lot of good information on that page as well as other links on it. Thanks for sharing.

If your experience of retirement is anything like mine has been, you will be busier than when you were working!

I think that marketing and registering/licencing/copyrighting are important subjects to spend time on, and to get ‘right’.

When you work for yourself there are no set times and you go way beyond 9-5, 7 days a week.

Depending on how you choose to structure your time/business, of course.

True, but if you love what you do then it doesn’t seem like work. For me, when it starts to feel like work that is when I take a break and do other things.

That is true, if you are one of the people who can continue to be inspired by your work.

I felt that way about my former career, but after just over 20 years, things had changed, so I got out of that line of work (and that was a vocation, of sorts, so very disappointing for things to end that way).

Regarding the process of writing, I tend to struggle with the process, but, after the fact, I am pleased that I have written, so the struggle seems worth it.

I am glad you have the relationship you do with the process of writing.

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Hmm, I wonder how that would work if you ever needed to lay claim to that copyright in order to protect the work. How would you establish that you are the one who holds the copyright? “Yes, it is I, Theother Stephenking. Honest.”

Better to read the official government laws on the subject rather than what you heard on the grapevine.