Definition[edit | edit source]
U.S. copyright law[edit | edit source]
A pseudonym or pen name may be used by an author of a copyrighted work. Under Section 101 of the 1976 Copyright Act, a pseudonymous work is defined as "a work on the copies or phonorecords of which the author is identified under a fictitious name." Nicknames or other diminutive forms of one’s legal name are not considered "fictitious." As is the case with other names, the pseudonym itself is not protected by copyright.
If the author is not identified in the records of the Copyright Office, the copyright term is 95 years from publication of the work, or 120 years from its creation, whichever term 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.