Sunday, September 9, 2012

Who Inherits Your itunes Library?

Recently the Wall Street Journal published a small piece on bequeathing digital media along with other personal property.  The article examines the increasing trend of our accumulation of more and more digital media such as mp3’s, mp4’s, and digital books and magazines.  And, we spend a lot of money on these things.  But, what happens to them when we die?  Can they be passed down or do they die with us?

The crux of this issue is – what do we actually own?  In most circumstances, when it comes to digital content, we own a license to use the digital file but we do not own the content itself.  The case law concerning this issue is virtually non-existent – but it is coming.  Estate planners are beginning to see this issue crop up and a few are getting creative.  According to the WSJ, David Goldman, a lawyer in Jacksonville, says he will launch software next month called DapTrust that will help estate planners create a legal trust for their clients’ online accounts that hold music, e-books, and movies.  This is only one potential solution in what may be becoming a digital nightmare.  Tech pros are calling for regulation reform and digital giants like Apple and Amazon are looking to lock down their property.  The key will become licensing agreements and increasing consumer demand to hold onto property that may be ready to die with them.

See also, itunes Library.