In civic honor of our nation’s Election Day, Attorney Report re-posts this valuable information from FindLaw on employee-protected rights by state for voting time off. Use the information wisely, but above all, get out and vote!
Digital Estate Planning for All Your Digital Assets
An emerging practice area has estate and will planning attorneys incorporating their clients’ digital assets for transfer to beneficiaries upon their demise.
What kinds of digital assets? Actually, there’s a growing list. Many have some form of digital asset that can be considered of value either by monetary measures or by virtue of their perpetuity. Consider the following list for starters:
- Email account(s)
- Social network account(s)
- Website URLs/domains
- Digital libraries
- Internet profiles
For example, you may have an iTunes or Amazon account with a ‘digital library’ of content in it that you amassed over the years which includes paid-for assets like songs, movies, ebooks and other content.
But before you start thinking about passing these valuable libraries along to a beneficiary, know your licensing rights to that content first. Content sites like Amazon and Apple’s iTunes Store don’t actually transfer ownership of downloadable content to their paid subscribers in most cases.
Rather, they transfer a limited-use license to you in exchange for your payments. This is in contra-distinction to buying a DVD after which you own the material outright.
Content licensing is a multi-million dollar industry for sites like the Apple Store, and Amazon’s Prime. Users can spend a sizable sum to gain access to digital content over time, so wanting to pass that value along is not surprising.
Rumors of actor Bruce Willis taking objection to not being able to do so were rampant over the summer via weblines that read “Actor Bruce Willis May Sue Apple Over iTunes Library Rights.”
Creative legal minds in the field of estate planning have come up with a feasible solution: Create a Living Trust.
Not only might you be able to provide access to your digital assets like your music and movie collections, but you could also keep other assets in the family like your domain, Facebook account, e-mail and gravatar accounts.
If for no other reason, estate planning for the legal transfer and protection of your digital assets after you’re gone lessens the likelihood they’ll be hijacked, stolen or used for undesirable purposes.