When musician Tom Petty passed away in 2017, he left behind a blended family. What is a blended family? Quite simply, a blended family is one consisting of a couple and their children from their previous and (possibly current) relationships. While many people make this arrangement work very well in life, things can get extremely contentious among the survivors when one parent passes away. This is especially true when there is a family business or other significant assets left behind to be administered on an ongoing basis.
In the case of the late Mr. Petty, there are creative properties, copyrights, trademarks and unreleased recorded music to be administered. These assets, if deployed in an optimal way, can create a lot of value for the survivors via a trust agreement. Obviously, it takes a person or a team with both creative and business acumen to maximize the value of these assets. Considering that the copyrights Mr. Petty has/had will continue in force until the year 2087 (remember the duration of copyright lasts seventy (70) years from the death of the copyright holder), the administrator of the estate and/or trust should be someone well versed with Mr. Petty’s catalogue and fan base. Read More
While the basics of Copyright Law are over a century old, the law evolves with the times. Unless you have been living in a cave for the few years, you have heard of Fortnite and its popularity, the gaming craze that has captured the imaginations of teens and older people alike. Consider this profile of the game in The New Yorker, one of the more genteel literary publications that has survived the internet age.
Epic Games, which is the company that produces Fortnite was sued yesterday in Federal Court in California by rapper 2 Milly for allegedly reproducing his likeness and dance moves in the game without a license. Read More
Industry watchers have been following the apparent evolution of copyright law in Europe, as there appear to be two big new wrinkles in European Law that may ultimately have ramifications for US businesses. Read More
When couples divorce, often the most difficult part is how the children are affected by the process and the behavior of the divorcing parents. No one wants someone else raising their children. However, that can be a very harsh reality to face for divorced people with minor children.
Previously in this space, we looked at employment contracts for executives and high visibility employees or representatives, and how a company can manage the risk of illegal or otherwise improper behavior of those key persons. With some foresight, and smart contractual drafting, the company can protect itself from bad behavior through morality clauses.
Surprisingly, this very same issue - guarding against the poor judgment of others - appears in many, many divorce cases, particularly when there are minor children and custody issues involved. These issues can have a profound impact on many people, regardless of social status, wealth, religion or any other demographic category.
Even the most amicable divorce matter can be psychologically and emotionally challenging at times. More often than not, those challenges can become extreme when mixed with the financial pressures that divorcing couples also face. Add to that the difficulty of navigating custody issues, and the parties’ differing perceptions of what is in the child’s best interest, and you have a powder keg waiting for ignition. Eventually, more often than not, this issue explodes into conflict. Read More