The protection of copyright applies the moment an author creates a work. One of the great things about applying for an official copyright protection is that this can give greater protection, statutory fees in case of infringement, and the burden of proof would shift to the infringer. Is this collection of short stories written by your son also? It is important that the publishing of your son's story identify him as the author and the date of copyright.
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The act of reducing a work of authorship to a tamgible medium is all that is required for copyright protection to attach to such a work. Such protection has already attached to your son's story.Ask a similar question
I would suggest that he speak to an IP lawyer and have the material registered with the US copyright office. It may be possible to file all the material together under a collection filing, but it will depend on whether some of the pieces have already been "published."
While your copyright (CR) affixes automatically when the work is reduced to a tangible expressive format (such as literary works or sound recording), CR registration is required before any enforcement action can be brought to court. It will also ensure the author's right to ask the court for statutory damages and in CR litigation sometimes the only damages available will be statutory because no real (compensatory) damages can be proved out. In short, no registration - no teeth.
I will link you to some general helpful info below and suggest that you discuss with a lawyer in private. Most of us here, including myself, offer a free phone consult.
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