I have an app that is essentially a game, but is based off different riddles. So the riddles are pretty much jokes with funny answers, and all are original. My questions is: is it possible to copyright all the jokes collectively so that no one would be able to use them commercially? The jokes are only a few sentences long. So besides getting a trademark on each joke individually, would there be anyway to just get a copyright of the entire app and all of its contents?
Because a joke is typically short, your are close to the blurry line of what is copyrightable and what is not. I would say each joke is copyrightable as long as it
On top of having copyright of each joke, you can also get copyright to a collection of jokes. You can do this even if not all of the jokes are original to you.
By merely publishing your app, you have copyright to the contents of your app. For additional protection, you could seek a copyright registration from the Copyright Office. This has several advantages (it will be required if you ever need to sue for infringement of a U.S. work), but it isn't immediately necessary.
The hard part is what to do if someone violates your copyright by using your jokes without your permission. That typically requires a lawyer and thus money.
You cannot trademark a joke as the purpose of a trademark is to identify your product or service and jokes do not do that.