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Unread 24th February 2011, 01:56 PM   #1
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Default Is it legal to use a Fake Name / Pen Name to sell products?

Is it legal to use a Fake Name / Pen Name to sell products?

I know that tons of people use pen names when writing articles and there are plenty of people that use pen names on their sales pages when selling products on Clickbank etc.

Does anyone know if it is legal to use and sign your sales page with a pen name?

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Unread 24th February 2011, 02:04 PM   #2
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Default Re: Is it legal to use a Fake Name / Pen Name to sell products?

Well since people are allowed to sell printed books using a pen name I don't think its illegal to sell a product under a pen name. I know if you want to accept payments via PayPal online you better use your real name, because if anything goes wrong its going to be hell.

When I promote affiliate products I always use a pen name, but my check is made to my real name. When I sell an IM product I use my real name.

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Unread 24th February 2011, 02:05 PM   #3
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Default Re: Is it legal to use a Fake Name / Pen Name to sell products?

No you will go to jail.

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Unread 24th February 2011, 02:07 PM   #4
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Default Re: Is it legal to use a Fake Name / Pen Name to sell products?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BloggingPro View Post
Well since people are allowed to sell printed books using a pen name I don't think its illegal to sell a product under a pen name. I know if you want to accept payments via PayPal online you better use your real name, because if anything goes wrong its going to be hell.

When I promote affiliate products I always use a pen name, but my check is made to my real name. When I sell an IM product I use my real name.
I sell all of my products through Clickbank so Paypal isn't an issue.

I know that very famous people do sell actual books in stores using pen names.

I just didn't know if there was any way that it could be misrepresentation or fraud.

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Unread 24th February 2011, 02:58 PM   #5
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Default Re: Is it legal to use a Fake Name / Pen Name to sell products?

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Originally Posted by Rich Struck View Post
No you will go to jail.
I'm not sure if you're being serious or if you're joking, but I know that big-time marketers like Frank Kern and Eben Pagan do it. I'm not saying it's legal, I'm just saying they do it.

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Unread 24th February 2011, 07:02 PM   #6
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Default Re: Is it legal to use a Fake Name / Pen Name to sell products?

Does anybody else know anything about this subject?

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Unread 24th February 2011, 07:19 PM   #7
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Default Re: Is it legal to use a Fake Name / Pen Name to sell products?

Plenty of people use Pen Names and I don't believe there's anything wrong with it. There are benefits to both sides and I suppose it depends on what you're selling. If you're promoting dog products it may not be beneficial to take the role of an expert on dogs with a picture of you fishing, on the contrary it will be much easier to take on that role if you have a picture of you (or your pen) at the front of a dog class, or in a dog store. You get the point.

Hopefully that helps,

David

ps. I think Rich was being sarcastic. If he wasn't, say goodbye to a good portion of IMers
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Unread 24th February 2011, 07:26 PM   #8
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Default Re: Is it legal to use a Fake Name / Pen Name to sell products?

Pen names can be an acceptable thing given one consideration: are you using the pen name to defraud or deceive the party you're selling to? If the answer is no (and in almost every case it would be) then there's no problem. If you are, however, then that would be fraud.

A good example would be if you were publishing a book or article about politics under the name Bill O'Reilly, it could be construed that you were cashing in on the real Bill O'Reilly's fame by tricking buyers to think the book was written by the actual celebrity. You'd also get a lot of heat from O'Reilly's lawyers because I'm sure he's filed a copyright on his name...

But, for everyone on here, for the most part, there should be absolutely no trouble using a pen name.
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Unread 24th February 2011, 07:40 PM   #9
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Default Re: Is it legal to use a Fake Name / Pen Name to sell products?

This is a little off the subject but it is against federal law to register a domain name using a fake name.
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Unread 24th February 2011, 07:42 PM   #10
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Default Re: Is it legal to use a Fake Name / Pen Name to sell products?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich Struck View Post
No you will go to jail.
Yep, you don't pass Go, and straight to Jail! LOL

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Unread 24th February 2011, 07:47 PM   #11
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Default Re: Is it legal to use a Fake Name / Pen Name to sell products?

Stephen King

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Let's move to the IM world with the next one...

Travis Sago is....

T.W. Jackson = Magic of Making Up

Happens a lot.

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Unread 24th February 2011, 07:52 PM   #12
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Default Re: Is it legal to use a Fake Name / Pen Name to sell products?

Eban Pagal used a fake one for double your dating

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Unread 24th February 2011, 07:55 PM   #13
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Default Re: Is it legal to use a Fake Name / Pen Name to sell products?

You have to register a DBA (Doing Business As) with your county. Then you can receive payments under your nom de plume.

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Unread 24th February 2011, 07:58 PM   #14
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Default Re: Is it legal to use a Fake Name / Pen Name to sell products?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Money View Post
I'm not sure if you're being serious or if you're joking, but I know that big-time marketers like Frank Kern and Eben Pagan do it. I'm not saying it's legal, I'm just saying they do it.
Pen names are for authors and artists. Business identities are another thing altogether.

Those who operate businesses under assumed names often have corporations or LLCs, and that may be the case with messieurs Kern & Pagan. Anyone doing business under an assumed identity can stay on the right side of the law by registering the name with their local licensing authorities as a d/b/a (doing business as) and then posting their business name & address on their accounts.

Check your local/state laws, but here in the US businesses are allowed to operate in almost any name they choose, as long as it is properly registered.

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Unread 24th February 2011, 08:55 PM   #15
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Default Re: Is it legal to use a Fake Name / Pen Name to sell products?

If it were a crime, then 'Betty Crocker' would be on the FBI's 10 most wanted list.
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Unread 24th February 2011, 08:58 PM   #16
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Default Re: Is it legal to use a Fake Name / Pen Name to sell products?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BruceWood View Post
Pen names are for authors and artists. Business identities are another thing altogether.

Those who operate businesses under assumed names often have corporations or LLCs, and that may be the case with messieurs Kern & Pagan. Anyone doing business under an assumed identity can stay on the right side of the law by registering the name with their local licensing authorities as a d/b/a (doing business as) and then posting their business name & address on their accounts.

Check your local/state laws, but here in the US businesses are allowed to operate in almost any name they choose, as long as it is properly registered.
I still get paid under my real name and my domains and everything else are registered under my real name. I have so many different sites in different niches and each niche I use a different name. I would hate to file and have to pay for a different dba for each site, are you sure this is necessary just for using the name on the site?

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Unread 24th February 2011, 09:05 PM   #17
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Default Re: Is it legal to use a Fake Name / Pen Name to sell products?

Any financial transaction like selling, trading, buying must be made using your real name otherwise you can be prosecuted for fraud if anything goes wrong with the transaction.

I think you can go to your county courthouse and file a DBA (DBA means "doing business as," and allows a person to legally do business under a different name/Assumed Name. It normally costs $4-20 to file one depending on the location.

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Unread 24th February 2011, 09:19 PM   #18
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Default Re: Is it legal to use a Fake Name / Pen Name to sell products?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Jordan View Post
Any financial transaction like selling, trading, buying must be made using your real name otherwise you can be prosecuted for fraud if anything goes wrong with the transaction.

I think you can go to your county courthouse and file a DBA (DBA means "doing business as," and allows a person to legally do business under a different name/Assumed Name. It normally costs $4-20 to file one depending on the location.
You may not know the answer to this but if I file a dba and sell under the dba do I then have to have the money going into the bank account under my dba name or can I use my real name bank account.

I would hate to file a different dba for every niche and then have to also open a different bank account for each one.

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Unread 24th February 2011, 10:17 PM   #19
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Default Re: Is it legal to use a Fake Name / Pen Name to sell products?

Here's one relevant thread:


I had just heard from a dark marketer who starts fresh adwords accounts and sets up hosting with gift cards registered to a false name and address, he likes to point out the distinction between the laws of the land and google rules, and is big enough to have a lawyer to help him avoid making dumb moves.

EzineArticles seems to endorse the use of multiple pen names.

Certainly any financial transactions have to be done under a name that can be tracked down, should any legal issues come up.
Tried to find other references to this on the web, all states seem to require a DBA filing, although the term for it varies, some also require a public announcement in a local newspaper.

Ran across a couple of interesting threads regarding anonymous defamation.

Troubling decision in matter involving anonymous bloggers | Internet Cases - Evan Brown, Chicago attorney internet and intellectual property
Should "Venting Online" lead to people being sued? | LinkedIn Answers | LinkedIn

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Unread 24th February 2011, 10:30 PM   #20
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Default Re: Is it legal to use a Fake Name / Pen Name to sell products?

Quote:
Originally Posted by webapex View Post
Here's one relevant thread:


I had just heard from a dark marketer who starts fresh adwords accounts and sets up hosting with gift cards registered to a false name and address, he likes to point out the distinction between the laws of the land and google rules, and is big enough to have a lawyer to help him avoid making dumb moves.

EzineArticles seems to endorse the use of multiple pen names.

Certainly any financial transactions have to be done under a name that can be tracked down, should any legal issues come up.
Tried to find other references to this on the web, all states seem to require a DBA filing, although the term for it varies, some also require a public announcement in a local newspaper.

Ran across a couple of interesting threads regarding anonymous defamation.

Troubling decision in matter involving anonymous bloggers | Internet Cases - Evan Brown, Chicago attorney internet and intellectual property
Should "Venting Online" lead to people being sued? | LinkedIn Answers | LinkedIn

Thanks for the threads. I accept all payments though Clickbank so I use my real information for that.

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Unread 24th February 2011, 10:38 PM   #21
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Default Re: Is it legal to use a Fake Name / Pen Name to sell products?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Money View Post
You may not know the answer to this but if I file a dba and sell under the dba do I then have to have the money going into the bank account under my dba name or can I use my real name bank account.

I would hate to file a different dba for every niche and then have to also open a different bank account for each one.
As my lawyer says, "you'll never know if you did it right until something goes wrong" (He's the voice of doom.)

If you receive money in the d/b/a names, open one commercial account as "Your Real Name" d/b/a/ name 1, name 2, name 3 & etc. The bank will want to see proof of the registered d/b/as.

(By the way- even to open a commercial account in your own name you may have to register it as a d/b/a!)

(If you're an affiliate marketer just tell clickbank or whoever to make your check out to whatever name you want)

But hey-- if you're doing business, you should have a business account and keep things separate from your personal stuff. Ask your accountant, check with a lawyer, and pray.

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Unread 24th February 2011, 10:57 PM   #22
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Default Re: Is it legal to use a Fake Name / Pen Name to sell products?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BruceWood View Post
As my lawyer says, "you'll never know if you did it right until something goes wrong" (He's the voice of doom.)

If you receive money in the d/b/a names, open one commercial account as "Your Real Name" d/b/a/ name 1, name 2, name 3 & etc. The bank will want to see proof of the registered d/b/as.

(By the way- even to open a commercial account in your own name you may have to register it as a d/b/a!)

(If you're an affiliate marketer just tell clickbank or whoever to make your check out to whatever name you want)

But hey-- if you're doing business, you should have a business account and keep things separate from your personal stuff. Ask your accountant, check with a lawyer, and pray.
I guess I'm going to set up some dba's. I'vebeen thinking about doing it anyway.

...and yeah you got it, just pray nothing happens. You can run into somebody that's sue happy at anytime.

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Unread 8th August 2011, 09:31 PM   #23
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Default Re: Is it legal to use a Fake Name / Pen Name to sell products?

How about the company Fake Name Generator? They generate fake social security numbers,credit card numbers, families, birthdays the whole nine yards. They say that it is legal and people use their services but it feels weird to me.
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Unread 8th August 2011, 09:59 PM   #24
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Default Re: Is it legal to use a Fake Name / Pen Name to sell products?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bloomingrose View Post
How about the company Fake Name Generator? They generate fake social security numbers,credit card numbers, families, birthdays the whole nine yards. They say that it is legal and people use their services but it feels weird to me.
They say it's legal - well gee their word is good enough. I assume the FBI will have plenty to say about using fake SS #s and fake CC #s just before they throw your *** in jail for it.

If you are planning to use different DBAs - make sure your purposes aren't self defeating. First off I assume that you aren't using them for malicious purposes (such as fraud). Second of all - - how are you going to brand yourself if you have several DBA's?

You can't brand yourself if people don't know who you are. If there is any similarities in those businesses, you are way ahead of the game if you keep your real name and network yourself as yourself. If you have wildly diverging businesses you might want the DBA, but it's going to be much harder networking and branding separately than if you work on branding yourself as a person with a few different fields of interest.

Think hard what the advantages are going to be before you bother with assuming a DBA.

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Unread 8th August 2011, 10:16 PM   #25
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Default Re: Is it legal to use a Fake Name / Pen Name to sell products?

Its not illegal, just might lose some credibility if they find out who you really are.

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Unread 8th August 2011, 10:22 PM   #26
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Default Re: Is it legal to use a Fake Name / Pen Name to sell products?

Yeah, I am a little stunned at the business model myself. I guess I'm not too black hat, I think I'll give it a pass.
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Unread 8th August 2011, 10:45 PM   #27
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Default Re: Is it legal to use a Fake Name / Pen Name to sell products?

below is a similar thread i started on the subject. i was more interested if the claims made by a fictitious name had to be true, and as i'm understanding it they don't. "testimonials" however do.

Using a different name instead of your own???
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Unread 8th August 2011, 10:52 PM   #28
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Default Re: Is it legal to use a Fake Name / Pen Name to sell products?

I think if you disclose your pen and real name in your disclaimer you should be fine, that way you're not hiding anything.

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Unread 8th August 2011, 11:03 PM   #29
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Default Re: Is it legal to use a Fake Name / Pen Name to sell products?

Lots of people have used pen names before. It's not against the law to do it.

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Unread 8th August 2011, 11:03 PM   #30
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Default Re: Is it legal to use a Fake Name / Pen Name to sell products?

I think its called ghost writing in the real world. I'm not sure how you would accept payment unless someone knows your real name. There are however ways you can use an assumed name. Movie stars do it all the time. Google serach it . I wouldnt do it ppersonally but I'm sure you have your reasons.

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Unread 8th August 2011, 11:52 PM   #31
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Default Re: Is it legal to use a Fake Name / Pen Name to sell products?

Right now I am thinking about evan pagan.

His DYD site and his pen name : david deangelo

Who cares about you name, as long as you are giving high quality stuff and helping people reach their goal....a name is useless. Just a title really.

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Unread 8th August 2011, 11:56 PM   #32
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Default Re: Is it legal to use a Fake Name / Pen Name to sell products?

I would just use your own name... I mean it is personal branding right

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Unread 9th August 2011, 12:19 AM   #33
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Default Re: Is it legal to use a Fake Name / Pen Name to sell products?

It's illegal, as all these people found out:

11 Things: Famous pen names - SFGate

Oh and Mrs. Butterworth and the Geico lizard are real people.

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Unread 9th August 2011, 01:04 AM   #34
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Default Re: Is it legal to use a Fake Name / Pen Name to sell products?

Quote:
Originally Posted by celente View Post
Who cares about you name, as long as you are giving high quality stuff and helping people reach their goal....a name is useless. Just a title really.
It doesn't exactly build a lot of trust.
But I guess we can expect that kind of comment
from someone using a fake name themself.
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Unread 24th November 2011, 04:46 AM   #35
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Default Re: Is it legal to use a Fake Name / Pen Name to sell products?

I truly think writing would be completely boring for me if I couldn't pick a few pen names.
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Unread 24th November 2011, 04:48 AM   #36
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Default Re: Is it legal to use a Fake Name / Pen Name to sell products?

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It's illegal, as all these people found out:

11 Things: Famous pen names - SFGate
Dude I hope you weren't being serious about this
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Unread 24th November 2011, 05:56 AM   #37
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Default Re: Is it legal to use a Fake Name / Pen Name to sell products?

I don't think it's illegal, just you should somewhere have your real business address and contact... in my opinion, the most important thing is that customer can reach you or your business if something is wrong... if you have that allowed, I don't think there will be any problems... but if you are hiding behind the fake name / pen name to screw your customers, than that's a problem...

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Unread 24th November 2011, 06:05 AM   #38
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Default Re: Is it legal to use a Fake Name / Pen Name to sell products?

Hi!

Pen names are regularly used by internet marketers. But bear in mind that you're not branding your own name by using a pen name. In other words: if you choose a pen name, stick to it!

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Unread 24th November 2011, 06:47 PM   #39
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Default Re: Is it legal to use a Fake Name / Pen Name to sell products?

Excellent article here by Michel Fortin you may want to check out. Hope it helps. When And How To Use An Alias In Business | Michel Fortin on Copywriting, Marketing, Business, and Life

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Unread 24th November 2011, 07:19 PM   #40
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Default Re: Is it legal to use a Fake Name / Pen Name to sell products?

Legal is dependent on country. That being said it is completly commonplace in the publishing world. In the wild west that is the internet I am sure that there is no harm. Representing yourself as something, as opposed to someONE, that your not is wrong and immoral. However that does mean that its done or not effective.
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Unread 24th November 2011, 07:35 PM   #41
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Default Re: Is it legal to use a Fake Name / Pen Name to sell products?

I have read of people going to jail for many years recently for making an extra Facebook profile.

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Unread 24th November 2011, 08:14 PM   #42
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Default Re: Is it legal to use a Fake Name / Pen Name to sell products?

While the mechanics of staying on the right side of the law vary by locality, the broad brush strokes seem to be the same all over.

And it usually tracks back to intent. Are you trying to defraud or trick people?

The O'Reilly example above was a good one.

Another would be tacking a title you didn't earn (especially 'Doctor') onto a pen name to lend legitimacy where none exists. Peddling a health book by 'Joe Blow' is different than the same book by 'Dr. Joseph Blow'.

One thing to check into for your locality is setting up an umbrella company/DBA and using that to accept payments and publish/distribute products.

Get this one thing right and it will be like you are the only one they are listening to. Probably because you will be the only one they are listening to.

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Unread 24th November 2011, 08:18 PM   #43
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Default Re: Is it legal to use a Fake Name / Pen Name to sell products?

I was interested in this at one point as well. It should be no problem in my opinion, but unfortunately it is. Clickbank updated their policy to include a line that says something like "you must not misrepresent yourself or mislead your customers to believe that you are someone else".
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Unread 24th November 2011, 08:28 PM   #44
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Try not to use fake name to be safe. You might end up in jail if you do.
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Unread 24th November 2011, 08:52 PM   #45
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Default Re: Is it legal to use a Fake Name / Pen Name to sell products?

I am using pen name and it is not because I want to "misrepresent" something, but because my original non-english name/surename would confuse too much the potential prospects....
To add on this - my original name according to gramar is changing endings depending on usage , what would be completely misrepresented in english...or would take too much attention just for a name....

I guess many are using pen names, and especially the chinesse / malaysian marketers....I am european, but I still think the real name would be just misleading, if I wish to discuss IM not grammar...
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Unread 24th November 2011, 08:55 PM   #46
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Default Re: Is it legal to use a Fake Name / Pen Name to sell products?

Quote:
Originally Posted by philiptrav View Post
I have read of people going to jail for many years recently for making an extra Facebook profile.
I really hope your trolling.

There is only one case I can find which is about identity theft. That is completely different as I stated in my above post.
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Unread 24th November 2011, 09:05 PM   #47
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Unread 24th November 2011, 09:17 PM   #48
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I think using a pen name is okay, as long as the seller uses his/her real name in the payment processes.

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Unread 15th February 2012, 12:08 PM   #49
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i think better used real name
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Unread 15th February 2012, 12:15 PM   #50
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