View single post by David White
 Posted: Thu Apr 3rd, 2008 04:30 pm
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David White
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Joined: Tue Sep 6th, 2005
Location: Texas USA
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Rob:

The literary executor may be a formally or informally appointed position and it could even be more than one party (with and without accounting to the other parties). But the issue points out the importance of wills. Because if one is not appointed at all, the right to copy the work is lost to everyone until the expiration of the copyright. As a result, Donald should (probably does) have a will appointing a new custodian for Randall's and his works. The copyright doesn't end with the death of the formal custodians/owners. Of course someone could claim they were the custodian and present their claim to a court of competent jurisdiction as the rightful custodian but that might set off a huge fight between claimants and no one gets to publish until the court case is resolved. Of course practically speaking, if there is no custodian and no one cares, who will stop you? But then if you hit it big with your reprint the "custodians" might come out of the woodwork wanting a piece or all of the profits. As we both know, this is America and you can sue anybody for anything. Some of the details of this law also vary by state but the above is generally how it is done in the US.

Copyright is not my area of expertise, I'm more into patents and software licensing but there are plenty of nice dry law books to recommend but one I've heard about that is probably more up your alley is Stephen Fishman's Copyright Handbook: What Every Writer Needs to Know its pricy but its written for writers, not lawyers and it is supposed to be pretty comprehensive without making your eyes glaze over too bad with legalese.

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