When residents of New Jersey think about estate planning and heirs, they likely consider things such as homes and cash assets. Creative assets can be valuable in both monetary and sentimental ways, though, and are something you should consider in the estate planning process. Creative assets might include artwork or writing from the individual. In some cases, these are personal writings such as letters or journals. In others, they are commercial products, such as songs and books.
A recent case involving the heirs of Marvin Gaye demonstrate this principle. The heirs in this case sued celebrities and music moguls Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams, stating that the two created a song that infringed on the copyrights of the Gaye estate. The song in question was the hit single, "Blurred Lines."
Specifically, the heirs claimed that the song used lyrics from Gaye's song, "Got to Give It Up." They brought a lawsuit against the two recording artists, and a decision was made by a panel of eight jurors. The jurors sided with the estate and awarded a total of $7.3 million in profits and damages to the estate.
According to reports, Williams wrote the song in question in 2012. It took him an hour. Both individuals are credited with writing on the song; they both worked in one night to record the song. The results were earnings of over $5 million a piece for the artists. They are denying any copying of Gaye's lyrics or song.
Wealth protection is an important part of any estate planning process, but remember to think outside the box and protect other assets for the future. It's especially important to consider what might become valuable for your heirs later.
Source: Toronto Star, "Jury awards Marvin Gaye heirs $7.3 million for ‘Blurred Lines’" Anthony McCartney, Mar. 10, 2015