If You Are An Artist

If you are an artist, writer, YouTuber, musician, or other creator of digital content, what happens to that content when you've passed on? If you hold copyrights or distribution rights to your work, you may need to specifically include those rights in your estate plans so that your estate can continue to produce or distribute your art after your death and legitimately hold the rights to do so. Copyright lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years after their death. The copyrighted work does not fall into the public domain immediately after the author's death; it's simply that the copyright holder changes. Also be aware that for any unpublished works, the same terms apply. The clock only begins, so to speak, once the work has been published. So for an additional 70 years, your estate needs permission to reproduce and distribute your work. There are also the additional considerations of who you would wish to benefit from the sales income, how your work will be stored and archived, and what is considered part of your artist's estate and what isn't. Format Magazine interviewed a copyright expert on the topic and the article is enlightening. If you fall in this category, you may want to consult a copyright or estate planning attorney to find out more.