What I want to ask is if we can have product copyrighted without the public knowing our identity (only the government would know) or we can be traced back by our copyrighted product? Example like does GPL can be traced back to my identity? P/s:Sorry, guy with copyright condition like something like you can do anything to my work but leave the sentence on that when you done :'If you like it please support me to donate to me at xxx.xxx.xxx(many way to donate without identity (sorry because I'm wasting your time). Anyone ro im going to accept One of the answe

  • One practical issue is that a tax ID number must be made available to anyone who is paying royalties under a licensing agreement. This is easily solved with a company owning the copyright, but if more problematic if a mere pseudonym or anonymous ownership is used.
    – ohwilleke
    Mar 1 '18 at 7:48
  • Ahh, Banksy bingo. Guess how many answers before a reference.
    – mckenzm
    Jan 20 at 21:53

Anonymous/pseudonymous works are still copyrighted. See, for example, 17 U.S. Code § 302(c), which provides for the length of copyright for an anonymous or pseudonymous work - obviously, they wouldn't have such a clause if these works did not have copyright. And you don't need to register a copyright to have copyright.

The copyright office has instructions on how to register an anonymous work. I'm not quite sure how that works; presumably you could keep the author secret, but I'm not sure if you can keep your registration secret.

But even if you can somehow register while remaining anonymous, what if someone infringes your copyright? What are you going to do - sue them? You'll be listed as the plaintiff. Courts usually won't allow anonymous plaintiffs in lawsuits unless there is a very good reason.

One thing you might try is creating a corporation to own the copyright. If you could somehow arrange the work to be a work-for-hire for the corporation, then only the corporation would appear in the copyright records. Then it's just a matter of making sure you aren't publicly linked with the corporation. You could probably get an attorney to help you with that.

  • 1
    If you register a copyright as a work for hire, be aware that (in the US) the duration of the copyright changes from life+70 years to 120 years from creation (or 95 years after publication, whichever is shorter). Things are similar in other countries.
    – ErikF
    Mar 1 '18 at 7:38
  • @ErikF : Of course, for most people over 50, that will extend the period their heirs own the copyright, and there are only a handful of people who could be personally affected. Mar 1 '18 at 14:23
  • It just that I want to recognize as the person owning copyrighted of my stuff I don't planning to sue anyone I even will register it as general purpose license but I want to be the person owning it
    – AlphaBetA
    Mar 1 '18 at 15:26
  • And be private !
    – AlphaBetA
    Mar 1 '18 at 15:26
  • The government will know my identity but the public don't
    – AlphaBetA
    Mar 1 '18 at 15:27

What you propose is already the default scenario. Any newly created work is copyrighted, even if there is no explicit author. Registration is not necessary to own a copyright.

The problem is that you can't do a lot with the copyrighted work in that case. You apparently want to share the work, and have conditions attached to its use. This requires a license. A license is a legal contract, and the parties in a legal contract must be identified.

(And as D M notes, what are you going to do if someone breaches the license of violates your copyright?)

  • Nothing I just want people to don't sue me and only have 1 condition is add the word I'm the author please donate to me to support me at xxx.xxx.xxx(many way to transactions without knowing identity)
    – AlphaBetA
    Mar 1 '18 at 22:57
  • Like does LGPL(like GPL) can be traced back ?
    – AlphaBetA
    Mar 1 '18 at 23:03
  • @AlphaBetA: From the FSF : "If several people helped write the code, use all their names". Even with multiple authors, you cannot leave out some names.
    – MSalters
    Mar 2 '18 at 11:21
  • I know only me and can use GPL can the pupublic traced back my identity from the license ? You didn't answer it .
    – AlphaBetA
    Mar 2 '18 at 13:29
  • @AlphaBetA: The point is, you have to list all authors who are granting the license (GPL = General Public License). It's trivial to "trace back" your name when that name must be explicitly stated !
    – MSalters
    Mar 2 '18 at 13:55

In Canada, you don't have to register copyright while staying anonymous, but if you do this, copyright will only extend to the lesser of (publication+50 years) or (creation+75 years) (Copyright Act R.S.C. 1985, c. C-42, s. 6(1)-(2)). Registration is where you'll hit a bit of a problem: The registration form requires a valid address even if you use a pseudonym (so that people can contact you for licensing!) Post office box addresses are acceptable, so you could probably use that. All registered copyrights are searchable.

You will have to make sure that you can be contacted during this time, or else someone can make application to the Copyright Board under s. 77 to get a licence from them (as an "orphan work"), where the Board gets to make the conditions of licence.

How you want to licence your work is your choice: This is a separate matter from copyright registration.

  • you can't have a registering agent (an attorney who keeps your identity secret)? their address would be the point of contact.
    – grovkin
    Mar 16 at 15:25

Hypothetical, leaving out a few minor things, but this covers the main points to accomplish the end goal:

  1. I would form a private trust with a business attorney

  2. I would have a 2nd business attorney form a business entity, perhaps a 401c or an S Corp or an LLC, depending on laws in the state the entity is formed in. The business or non profit would be setup as an entity for lawyer 2 in his name, and caused to be filed by only him, and of course he’d be the only name listed on the business entity state docs filled

  3. I would purchase stake in the newly formed business entity, majority share holder, in the company with it being legally binding through a private deal, with a private contract between yourself and the lawyer; which only you and the lawyer retain copies of this agreement

  4. Then I’d go back and have business lawyer 1, set up the private trust with the only listed member being the company name of the company owned and filed for formation of by your other lawyer #2

  5. I’d then have the private trust listed in the registration of the copyright; and the tax ID associated with the business listed as well. Of course the tax ID being obtained by the owner and creator of the company, lawyer #2

  6. Amy royalties or pursuit of copyright infringement can be filed on behalf of the private trust, and the money would come back to you, and your name would never appear, except in 2 private contracts between yourself and 2 separate attorneys

  7. If the lawyers both cannot be retained on an ongoing basis, then I’d have them sign NDAs related to the business they created, but which you own stake in and gave pre-arranged signed contracts on how money made by this company is handled in terms of it all funneling back to you, minus attorney fees, and business associated fees and taxes, etc..

In summary:

The Copyright is now in private trusts name, with a business listed as private trusts sole beneficiary, then that business listed in the trust shows ownership and formation of by attorney; you have a legally binding contract that gives you ownership stake in the company through a private deal and private contract between lawyer 1 and yourself and lawyer 2 and yourself; all money going to trust which has one sole beneficiary, the business you have private and legally binding ownership in.

Not perfect, but close. hopefully you get the gist of this tact

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