Pseudonyms & Stage Names

When you complete a copyright application there is no legal requirement that the author be identified by his or her real name . A pseudonym or stage name may be used when registering a copyright.

A work is pseudonymous if the author is identified on that work by a fictitious name, although the pseudonym itself is not protected by copyright.

 

If you are writing under a pseudonym but want to be identified by your legal name in the records
of the Copyright Office, you should indicate your legal name followed by your pseudonym.

For example: “Judith Barton, whose pseudonym is Madeline Elster”. On the online application, you should check “yes” in the box which asks if the author using a pseudonym.

If the author is identified in the records of the Copyright Office, the term of the copyright is the
author’s life plus 70 years.

 

If you are writing under a pseudonym but do not want to have your identity revealed in the records of the Copyright Office, you should give your pseudonym and identify it as such.

For example: “Huntley Haverstock, pseudonym” or you may leave the “Name of Author” space blank.
You must, however, identify the citizenship or domicile of the author. If filing under a fictitious name, select “yes” in the Pseudonym box on the online application.

If the author is not identified in the records of the Copyright Office, the term of copyright is 95 years from publication of the work, or 120 years from its creation, whichever expires first. If the author’s identity is later revealed in the records of the Copyright Office, the copyright term then becomes the author’s life plus 70 years.

If using a pseudonym as the Copyright Claimant, be aware that if a copyright is held under a fictitious name, business dealings involving that property may raise questions of ownership of the copyright property. You should consult an attorney for legal advice on these matters.

 

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