If you have a physical copy of a movie on a DVD, it is easy to give that copy to another person. It has a tangible form and you might even plan to bequeath it to someone after you pass away. People are used to using their estate plans to pass on their physical property.
Things are different today, however. We do not always have a physical copy of something. Instead of having a movie on a DVD or videotape, you might just have a digital copy of the movie stored on your computer or attached to an account with a service. In estate planning,these are called “digital assets.” Bequeathing them to someone else is more difficult and needs to be carefully planned for. In some cases, you cannot bequeath certain digital assets.
If you purchase a movie from iTunes, for example, you download the movie to your computer and you can watch it whenever you want. However, your access is limited. The file will only play in certain programs and on certain devices. It is associated with your iTunes account. As it turns out, you cannot leave it to someone else as that is part of the licensing conditions that you agree to when you purchase it.
iTunes is just one example. Different digital assets work differently and the rules may change in the future. Ask your attorney about your digital assets and what to do with them.
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