I'm thinking of releasing my iOS game without formally registering a company at all. I'm not sure I even want to create a company.

ITunes wants to know the copyright holder of my title. I have 2 questions regarding this:

1) Can I use my (already decided upon if will exist) company name and just register it later (if the need arises)?

2) Or should I just use my NAME as the copyright holder, regardless if I plan to formally register the company later or not?


Do I have to say that I'm not a lawyer? I'm not a lawyer.

In some/most countries, you can use a pseudonym of your choosing called a Trade Name. You just can't use "Incorporated", "Limited" or any other legal label in the name though. This type of business is called a Sole Proprietorship, and I would highly recommend it because it's easy to create (you already have), dissolve (any time), and do any taxes for (It's just personal taxes, nothing special). At any time, you can Incorporate a business by paying a bunch of money to the government and paying someone to handle the complicated taxes, but unless you're making a lot of money or have multiple employees, I'd stick with the Sole Proprietorship.

I'm a sole proprietor in Canada and work under the legal name "John McDonald Consulting". Since I charge my customers GST, I have to have a GST number registered with the government where I pay them the GST that I collect each quarter. Your country of residence may be different, check their website.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Sure you're not a lawyer? \$\endgroup\$ – MichaelHouse Mar 27 '13 at 19:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ If he said he isn't a lawyer than he isn't a lawyer because liars can't be lawyers otherwise their little sons would wish they can't lie. I learned a lot about law from hollywood. \$\endgroup\$ – petervaz Mar 27 '13 at 19:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ GST = en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goods_and_Services_Tax_(Canada) \$\endgroup\$ – MichaelHouse Mar 27 '13 at 22:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ You mean everyone doesn't use GST???!? j/k, Thanks for the link. \$\endgroup\$ – John McDonald Mar 27 '13 at 22:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ Non-Canadians call it VAT. I'm an Italian and could talk you about IVA ìnstead, but you know... there's no point in using weird foreign acronyms in such an exquisite congregation of gentlemen. :monocle: \$\endgroup\$ – ZJR Mar 28 '13 at 2:58

Not a lawyer, here's my personal interpretation.

I'd think that using the name of a company that doesn't exist could be considered fraud. The copyright holder should be you for now. This covers the contingency where you don't form that company, or you don't form it soon. A copyright is property that you can transfer to your company later if you wish.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ What if you think about the "company name" as your "nickname"? Many has created companies named by their nicknames. Is it fraud to use your name? I guess no, therefore is it fraud to use your nickname as "copyright holder"? \$\endgroup\$ – Buksy Mar 28 '13 at 13:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Buksy I couldn't tell you if it was fraud or not. However, most things legal require you to use your legal name. I imagine a company name could be pretty far removed from a real name. Likely, as long as you can prove you are the owner of the "nickname" company, you wouldn't have problems. However, in this situation, I don't see any benefit to adding additional layers. Unless the OP wants some kind of anonymity, there's no reason to add potential confusion about who owns what. \$\endgroup\$ – MichaelHouse Mar 28 '13 at 13:58

I am not a lawyer either... :)

TBH, it really depends on what the laws are. I know here in United States, the city has its own laws, the state has its own laws, and the country has its own laws for doing business. You have to abide by them all. Certain permits you need from state, certain permits from city, and certain permits from country.

My recommendation would be to do a Sole Proprietorship. It is fairly inexpensive, easy to setup, and will have you covered from the legal perspective. There are some permits you'll also have to get.

Good news is: You probably won't have to worry about many permits/other paperwork. Unless you get an office or start hiring people.

There's a reason why United States isn't so small-business friendly. The laws make is quite hard for someone to setup a business.

Also, don't forget to file earnings from your game when you file taxes. :)

P.S: Don't get discouraged from this whole legal thing! Trust me, it'll be all worth it once you start getting good reviews, and when the $ starts coming in. This legal stuff is just so you can be covered.

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