Home > Copyright, Intellectual Property, Internet, Privacy, Social networking > Post-Mortem Rights in Social Networking? Is Your Facebook Page Part of Your Estate

Post-Mortem Rights in Social Networking? Is Your Facebook Page Part of Your Estate

I recently saw this issue discussed on Tamron Hall’s MSNBC Show, News Nation [3/19/2012]. Hall interviewed Karen Williams, mother of a deceased teen who spent two years battling Facebook for access to her son’s FB page.

“I wanted full and unobstructed access, and they balked at that,” said Williams, recalling her son’s death in 2005. “It was heartbreaking. I was a parent grasping at straws to get anything I could get.” [Source: MICHAEL AVOK, Associated Press]

It raises an interesting legal question. Can contributions (literary, artistic and otherwise) to a social networking environment become the property of your survivors when you die? Are the contributions considered a “digital estate”?

At least that is the question theoretically. But other legal issues must be considered as well; namely contract law under a social networking site’s terms of use and privacy policy (which users agree to at sign up) and privacy concerns of the networked community.

Now lawmakers and attorneys in at least two states are considering proposals that would require Facebook and other social networks to grant access to loved ones when a family member dies, essentially making the site contents part of a person’s digital estate.

Read the full article about Karen Williams and access to her son’s Facebook account and let me know what you think.

What do you think?

Advertisements
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Join the conversation!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: