Writers are accustomed to wondering what happens to their work after their death in terms of copyrights. In fact, this issue is addressed by federal law. Here’s the link:
Essentially, copyright law “…automatically protects a work that is created and fixed in a tangible medium of expression on or after January 1, 1978, from the moment of its creation and gives it a term lasting for the author’s life plus an additional 70 years.” Joint works with two or more authors can be even longer and prior to the 1976 law change the years varied depending on when the work was created. There’s a nice explanation and chart at the following link:
But now with so much of our life as writers being played out in the digital world, what happens to our digital life that seems to continue on even when we’re gone? What happens to our Websites, our social media accounts or blogs? These are all good questions and ones that need to be addressed.
Well, you will find many articles about estate planning and how to include your digital life in that estate planning just by searching within that same digital realm. Here are just a few examples:
Physical death doesn’t have the same meaning in the digital world as it does in the “real” world so it’s important to start thinking about what will happen to your digital assets such as your website: who will maintain it, if that’s what you want; who will pay for it; who will take it down or even address the issue of just letting your domain name expire or even selling it? These are just some of the questions that need to be answered.
So, just one more task to add to your writer’s to-do-list – and you thought all you had to do was actually write! Well, you do have to actually write to have a product to sell and you could hire your own peeps to do the non-writing work for you, or even out-source it; but still, your name is on the bottom line of all things official so you still have to at least know what is going on with your writing – and now digital – life.