PropertyProf Blog

Editor: Stephen Clowney
Univ. of Arkansas, Fayetteville

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Friday, August 17, 2012

Beastie Boy's Ill Communication in Will

In his will, the Beastie Boys' Adam "MCA" Yauch prohibited the use of his music in advertisements.

His final testament reads, "Notwithstanding anything to the contrary, in no event may my image or name or any music or any artistic property created by me be used for advertising purposes."  According to sources, Yauch added the phrase "or any music or any artistic property created by me" in handwriting.

Wendy Goffe, an attorney at Stoel Rives in Seattle outlines why Yauch's amendment promises to cause trouble for the family: "Was he just referring to music or art created solely by him, or to any music or art that he helped create? What did he mean by “advertising purposes?” [...] All this will greatly complicate the settlement of Yauch’s estate. Publicity rights and copyrights, especially when they involve a Beastie Boy, have tremendous value. For estate tax purposes, it will be necessary to attach a present value to the stream of future income stemming from those publicity rights and copyrights. But how can you value rights when you don’t know what he owned?"

Steve Clowney 

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/property/2012/08/beastie-boys-ill-communication-in-will.html

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