When You Die, Who Inherits Your iTunes Library?

Since I first read Warren and Brandeis’s influential 1890 Harvard Law Review article, “The Right of Privacy,” I’ve been fascinated by the interplay between developments in technology and developments in the law.  Warren and Brandies were prompted to write their  groundbreaking article in part because of late nineteenth century technological developments:

Recent inventions and business methods call attention to the next step which must be taken for the protection of the person, and for securing to the individual what Judge Cooley calls the right “to be let alone.”  Instantaneous photographs and newspaper enterprise have invaded the sacred precincts of private and domestic life; and numerous mechanical devices threaten to make good the prediction that “what is whispered in the closet shall be proclaimed from the house-tops.

It is safe to say that the law always lags behind technology, especially in the area of intellectual property.  So, this article on the inheritability, or lack thereof, of a person’s iTunes library and other digital media, caught my attention as yet another example of the law playing catch-up with our 21st century digital world.

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