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.
Office: (410) 381-1656. This is NOT legal advice, is GENERAL INFORMATION ONLY, and does NOT establish an Attorney/Client Relationship with you because you have not yet retained me, and because you have not provided me with a COMPLETE set of all the FACTS in your legal situation. Therefore my answer cannot address your specific legal situation and you should not rely upon my answer in your legal matter. This answer is provided as GENERAL INFORMATION ONLY, and to assist you in beginning your own research or in finding an attorney to represent you. I am an attorney licensed in Maryland and California. If you want me to provide legal advice, then you must call for a Consultation. If you would like me to represent you, then a Retainer and a fully signed and dated Legal Services Agreement (a contract) will be required. Office: (410) 381-1656. David Mahood, Esq.
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.
The law firm of Natoli-Lapin, LLC (Home of Lantern Legal Services) offers our flat-rate legal services in the areas of business law and intellectual property to entrepreneurs, small-to-medium size businesses, independent inventors and artists across the nation and abroad.
DISCLAIMER: this is not intended to be specific legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. No attorney-client relationship is formed on the basis of this posting.