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Pseudonyms or Aliases

Posted: Tue Apr 30, 2013 1:01 pm
by Grayman
Hi everyone, fantastic site, just discovered it.

I have recently made steps to place music on a distribution site, which includes copyright by default. The thing I'm wondering is - should I give myself songwriter credits under my real name, or under my stage name? eg: Muddy Waters gives himself writer credit under the name M. Morganfield, which is his real name. I don't know if this is usual, or whether 'written by Muddy Waters' would hold the same legal clout. Is it possible to stay efectively anonymous by using your stage name everywhere, and still retain all rights?
Thanks, G

Posted: Tue Apr 30, 2013 3:31 pm
by AndyJ
Hi Grayman,
Yes using a pseudonym is perfectly possible, but there are drawbacks. For example unless you have some sort of web presence under your pseudonym, it is hard for potential users of your music to locate you to discuss licensing etc. There is also the danger, over time, that your work could become 'orphaned' which means that under legislation just passed by Parliament, your work could be licensed on your behalf by a licensing agency, after a diligent search failed to locate you. Although you would be entitled to the fees raised by this licensing, they may not value your work as highly you might have done yourself.
If you anticipate becoming well-known under your stage name, then the risks I have mentioned will be less of a problem. However once you get to the point of signing contracts (for instance with a record company or management agency) it will be necessary to use your legal name, or at least link your legal name to your stage name within any contract. This was one of the reasons behind Prince adopting the
Image symbol when he went through his 'The Artist formerly known as Prince' phase, since he felt Warner Bros had 'kidnapped' his real identity by taking out a trade mark in his name.

Posted: Wed May 01, 2013 6:15 am
by Grayman
Fantastic - thanks Sage