Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Estate and Gift Tax Treatment of Copyright Termination Rights

CopyrightBridget J. Crawford (professor of law, Pace University) and Mitchell M. Gans (professor of law, Hofstra University) have published their article Sticky Copyrights:  Discriminatory Tax Restraints on the Transfer of Intellectual Property, 67 Wash. & Lee L. Rev. 25 (2010).

The abstract of the article is below:

This Article focuses on the federal estate and gift tax treatment of copyright termination rights. The ability of a creative individual to terminate prior copyright transfers serves to protect against economic exploitation. Once a copyright’s value has been established in the marketplace, the author (or the author’s heirs) enjoys a "second look" at the gift, sale, license or other transfer of a copyright. But copyright termination rights—intended to enhance the economic well-being of authors and artists—undermine estate planning strategies available to owners of other types of property. There is no policy justification for such discrimination, and so this Article proposes legislative changes that would level the playing field for wealth transfer tax purposes.


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