Do I need a register my pseudonym? 2 Answers as of July 14, 2011

Do I need to register the pseudonym that I use as a book author? I collect my royalties under my legal name. The pseudonym only appears on the books, the book sales site (Amazon), and my social networking sites. Also, if I invent a "virtual" publishing company that does no business other than appear on social networks, do I need to make it a legal entity?

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Prometheus Legal, LLC
Prometheus Legal, LLC | Chad Mathis
There is no copyright protection afforded an individual's name, whether it be legal or a pen name. However, trademark protection may apply should the pen name become imbedded in the mind of the public to a degree that the use of it by someone else would cause confusion for consumers. This is a complicated area of law, and there is not a black and white answer without having more information. There are state and federal laws in place that may protect your pen name, depending on the state in which you live. It is unusual for a pen name to receive trademark protection, although it is possible. I highly suggest speaking with an intellectual property or entertainment lawyer so you can provide more detail and determine the best course of action. As for the "virtual" publishing company, as a general rule it is a good idea to have an entity in place to protect yourself from legal liability. If this "company" is not actually doing any kind of business, but is rather some type of marketing gimmick, I suggest speaking with your attorney so the two of you can flesh out in more detail what your goals are and how to best protect yourself.
Answer Applies to: New Mexico
Replied: 7/14/2011
Law Office of Bert W Gieseman Jr
Law Office of Bert W Gieseman Jr | Albert W. Gieseman Jr.
You do not need to register your pseudonym. I am not sure where you could do that if you wanted to, unless you register it as a trademark. Once you create a business, it is a legal entity even if it is a sole proprietorship.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 6/23/2011
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