Who Owns Legal Right of Our Digital Downloads After Death?

In the physical world, when a person dies it seems reasonable that their assets pass to their children, loved relatives, either through a will or as part of the ritual of life. Do we have the same rights in the digital world? What about the purchase and / or downloading digital material?

This question was discussed on Which blog and consulting the Lawyers on Copyright and Terms and Conditions of Services, it said that, “The Digital Content Downloaded is merely Licensed till Death and Not Purchase“.

The answer could not be ambiguous according to experts consulted. As much as we live in the explosion of digital purchase, the transfer of ownership rights that have paid maintain a loophole that opens the door to the loss of our purchases after their death.

Both Amazon and iTunes, the rights of Content are Non-Transferable. For example, if you buy a track or digital issue, what we actually do is to buy a license to play that track, in other words, we are granted a single track to use it, but it is not transferable after your death.

The reason is none other than the terms of Services. When we say that legally rent the track means that we do not own, do not possess. Matthew confirms the law firm Strain-Strain Keville on rights:

When we buy something on iTunes, not ours, we only have the right to use it. The right product is therefore limited and not pass it on to someone else is likely to be accepted by Apple or Amazon.

This does not only happen with the music, it is with the terms of the ebooks. A license for the famous Amazon Kindle expressly states that prohibit the transmission of your downloaded eBooks. Strain says about that:

Unless otherwise noted, you can not sublicense or assign the rights to the digital content or part thereof to a third party.

What we users can do legally? The answer may lie in giving directly the physical device that has digital content. In this case, the “new” user would encounter another problem. If he opens a new account with the device, he will lose the previously hosted content.

Therefore it would make sense simply give passwords to accounts of kin for accessing iTunes or Amazon. This would be simple, but even ridiculous, we find ourselves with the terms of service, which show the activity as security violation. Strain it again explained as follows:

Allowing third parties to have the details of our account is a violation of security under the contract. Although not a direct violation of contract terms, Apple or Amazon may consider that it is and end the privileges we have in the account.

This terminology that companies could use in their favor also enter into the cloud storage services. If the files are stored remotely and accessible only by us in our account, as agreed in the terms of access, delivery of our downloads purchased from relatives beings is just as complicated under the legal framework.

In short, today, it is extremely difficult pass on our online shopping after death (at least legally). In most cases because the legal framework seems to say clearly that when we buy digital material, we are actually renting individually until the end of our life, when it seems that becomes the property of sales platforms.

There are many ways / “alternatives” to bring our downloads on purchases to those we want, but legally, it seems that rights are unfavorable to users.

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About the Author

Rohit Langde is Founder and Editor-in-chief of Blogsolute. Tech Blogger by Passion & Profession | Mechanical Engineer by Qualification | Introverted Geek by Choice

6 Enlightened Replies

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  1. Archer says:

    Whilst it may state that in the “conract” between you and the vendor I would suggest it needs testing in court for a final amswer to the question of ownership rights.After all is this property not part of the deceased estate especially if the articles are of a large monetary value?

  2. Mayank says:

    This is where Piracy Rules because everyone has the right to use it. 😀
    Haha… I’m a pirate boy… 😀

  3. Akshay says:

    A problem which is very difficult to solve.

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