Managing Your Copyrights After You're Gone

Photographers may think that their most important property items are their expensive digital SLR and lenses. But their copyrights last much longer and can be more valuable. Sadly, photographers rarely protect and manage their copyrights as well as they do their equipment, including in their estate planning. Fortunately, there is an easy way to correct that deficiency.

Copyrights are one form of intellectual property (“IP”). IP rights may be protected at law in the same way as any other form of property, such as your house, car and camera equipment. Because copyrights created since 1978 last 70 years after the photographer’s death, they can have significant value. If you include them in your will, you can direct their use after you’re gone.

Recently, a famous book author failed to plan for the management of his copyright upon his death. After hearing of the situation, a concerned lawyer prepared a simple will that may help creatives, including photographers, to more easily make plans for their IP after their death. The details are available at

Not to decide to protect your work is to decide that your work won’t be protected. Do what you can today to make sure that your heirs benefit from your hard work and talent.

Take my advice; get professional help.

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