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October 31, 2006
Writers, Wills, and Posthumous IP Care
Neil Gaiman's blog entry today is an earnest attempt to get writers (and by extension any of us with intellectual property we care about) to put instructions into our wills relating to that IP.
The prompt for this is apparently the fact that the recently deceased writer John M Ford failed to leave such a will and as a result the status of his literary works is uncertain. Since the multiple changes to copyright law in the last century extended IP rights well past the death of the original author, Gaiman's advice is very sound. If you care about who gets to reinterpret, republish (or keep from publication!) or otherwise handle your creative output after you're not around to do it, leave legally binding instructions, dammit. This especially includes situations where people would like to release their works after they're no longer able to personally profit from them. By default if you don't specify, then nobody gets to do anything.
Gaiman also includes a link to a simple will (in PDF form) written by a lawyer who is also an author. This file is intended for direct use or as a template for US-resident creative types who care about these issues.
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