Copyright and Estate Planning for Creative Professionals

The copyright in a creative work out lives the creator, generally by 70 years — which means that the work can continue to generate income long after the artist is gone.

The business idea behind copyright is that a single creation can generate multiple revenue streams. Part of any good business plan is succession planning and that is no less true for an individual than it is for a company. Estate planning is how individual creators will pass the ongoing income from their creative work, not just the work itself, onto their heirs.

I wrote a post appearing over on Molly Greene’s blog about the steps creative professionals, specifically self-published writers, can take to pass the wealth created by their work on to the next generation and lay the foundation for their art to endure: Estate Planning Basics for the Self-Published Writer.

The first step is to register your work with the Copyright Office:

The registration certificate gives substance to something that otherwise might just be considered a digital file on your computer or in your KDP account. It’s one of those important documents you hear so much about that belongs in a safe deposit box with your other important papers.
In a way, it makes your work “more real” to the family and friends you leave behind. The registration certificate is something that can be held. It makes the intangible, tangible. It becomes a concrete part of your estate.

Even though the words “self-published writer” are in the title of the post, these basics hold true for traditionally published writers, artists, photographers, filmmakers, and creative professionals of every stripe.

Visit Molly’s blog to read the rest of the post. She is a writer, blogger and marketing coach for authors. You will enjoy her site.

Elegant Library

This may be your library. Photo credit: The Brass Glass

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