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    Category Archives: Copyright

    Another Unsuccessful DIY Estate Plan Goes Awry

    Beastie Boy Adam “MCA” Yauch, who died on May 4 of cancer, left instructions
    that his music couldn’t be used in advertising. But this wording in his will,
    which he added by hand, may not even be valid. If his heirs try to honor it or
    enforce it, they could get stuck in months–or years–of legal tangles.

    It’s not always best to learn
    estate planning from celebrities. But their high visibility failures can
    be instructive. Consider the recent passing of Adam Yauch of Beastie Boys fame.

    Forbes recently analyzed Mr. Yauch's will in an article
    titled “Part Of Beastie Boy Adam Yauch's Will,
    Banning Use Of Music In Ads, May Not Be Valid
    .” It seems one of his
    last decisions and a last act of defiance was to make pen-and-ink revisions
    within a common legal provision. Unfortunately for Mr. Yauch, the language he
    chose and the addition itself did not work.

    So, what went wrong?

    The will already specified
    that Mr. Yauch’s image and name aren’t to be used for any advertising purposes,
    but then he penciled in “or any
    music or any artistic property created by me.” Unfortunately the music
    of the Beastie Boys doesn’t belong to Yauch in the same way his image does, it
    also belongs to the other Beastie Boys. Bottom line: Mr. Yauch injected a
    provision related to copyrights into a statement about publicity rights.

    For a complete analysis of that mistake, the
    original article is an interesting read. In the end, while you may be able to
    stain your deck without jeopardizing your estate, making DIY pen-and-ink
    changes should be left to professionals.

    Contact Meier Law Firm to discuss how we can help you plan your estate.

    ReferenceForbes (August 13, 2012) “Part Of Beastie Boy Adam Yauch's Will,
    Banning Use Of Music In Ads, May Not Be Valid




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