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buckaroo
02-18-2017, 08:46 PM
Hello,

My last name is complicated, so I use a simple, phoneticized version of my last name.

I haven't legally changed my last name.

When publishing my book on Amazon using CreateSpace, I'm referencing a Microsoft Word template that includes "Copyright 2017 author's name" at the beginning of the book.

I'd prefer to use the simple version of my last name for "author's name". If I do so, will that create any potential legal issues?

ironmikezero
02-18-2017, 11:43 PM
Under U.S law, you cannot copyright a proper name, to include an alias or pseudonym (see link).

https://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ34.pdf

buckaroo
02-19-2017, 12:21 AM
Ironmikezero,

Thanks for the link, but I'm not interested in copyrighting my psudonym. I'm interested in copyrighting my book, but I would like to use my pseudonym when referencing the copyright at the beginning of the book.

Old Hack
02-19-2017, 12:21 AM
I don't think the OP is hoping to copyright their name: I think they're asking if they can say "copyright pseudonym" rather than "copyright my legal name" for their books. I'd welcome a clarification.

ETA: cross-posted! Sorry. Take a look in books from trade-published authors who use pseudonyms.

Haggis
02-19-2017, 12:26 AM
Jack Ketchum is a pseudonym for horror writer Dallas Mayr. I have a copy of one of his books in front of me. He uses the pseudonym (Jack Ketchum) as the author, but the copyright is in his real name (Dallas Mayr). If it's good enough for him...

BenPanced
02-19-2017, 03:07 AM
On the copyright form, there are spaces for your pseudonym and your legal name, which is required.

veinglory
02-19-2017, 05:32 AM
Actually that changed a few years back. You can register your copyright under your pen name only. For online registration you just leave the legal name field blank.

M. H. Lee
02-19-2017, 07:39 AM
Last time I looked into it you could copyright under either your pen name or your real name but the term of copyright was different. It's shorter if you copyright under a pen name.

BenPanced
02-19-2017, 10:51 AM
Ah. It's been a while since I filled out the form; I seem to remember a previous version.

Old Hack
02-19-2017, 12:24 PM
It's probably wiser to use your legal name because if you do have trouble down the line, using a pseudonym here will add a layer of complication to the proceedings. But if you have a good reason for needing that pseudonym then it's usually reasonable to do so. Just check, because we don't all live in the same country and things are different in different parts of the world.

ironmikezero
02-19-2017, 10:12 PM
It's probably wiser to use your legal name because if you do have trouble down the line, using a pseudonym here will add a layer of complication to the proceedings. But if you have a good reason for needing that pseudonym then it's usually reasonable to do so. Just check, because we don't all live in the same country and things are different in different parts of the world.

Oops, my apologies, buckaroo . . . I misunderstood your question. However, I do agree with Old Hack's above advice; it is usually wise to proactively avoid potential legal pitfalls.

buckaroo
02-21-2017, 12:43 AM
Thanks, everyone!

stephenf
02-21-2017, 10:04 PM
Hi
I can only talk about the law in the UK . Your name is the name that you wish to be known by. You don't need to register your name to make it legal , but passports and some other documents will only allow you to use the name that is on your birth certificate. As a writer you can publish a book using any name you like , and retain the copyright. Books published by Currer , Ellis and Acton Bell were quite successful . They republished the same book using thier birth names and are better know as Anne , Emily and Charlotte Bronte