Posts Tagged ‘death’

Andrew Breitbart is Dead at 43

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

Andrew Breitbart (Image: biggovernment.com)

Conservative superblogger Andrew Breitbart has died. He collapsed while walking in his Brentwood, California neighborhood shortly after midnight. He was 43.

Breitbart was best known for distributing a deceptively edited video that painted USDA employee Shirley Sherrod as a racist. The video resulted in her firing before it became understood that the Sherrod had not actually advanced a racist position in the speech videoed, but had, in fact, been telling a story championing racial healing.

Sherrod issued a classy statement:

“The news of Mr. Breitbart’s death came as a surprise to me when I was informed of it this morning. My prayers go out to Mr. Breitbart’s family as they cope through this very difficult time.”

Josh Gerstein at Politico speculates that Sherrod’s defamation lawsuit against Breitbart is “likely to continue.”

There’s nothing about Breitbart’s death that will legally affect the suit. But Sherrod could choose to drop it now. Either way, I would expect the lawsuit to continue against Larry O’Connor, a Breitbart aide who is a defendant in the suit.

John Connor: Digital Life After Death

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

John Conner of Texas Tech Law School has posted to SSRN Digital Life after Death: The Issue of Planning for a Person’s Digital Assets after Death (SSRN No. 1811044, Texas Tech Law School Research Paper No. 2011-02), dealing with the grim but important question of what happens to blogs after bloggers depart this mortal coil for that great blogosphere in the sky.

I guess I should thank Professor Connor. He’s prompted me to give my wife a big list of all my passwords. On the other hand, he’s also forced me to dwell on my own mortality. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, bits to bits, and bytes to bytes.

Here’s the abstract:

In “Digital Life After Death: The issue of planning for a person’s digital assets after death,” author John Connor discusses the concept of a digital asset and what happens to these assets when the owner dies. First, Connor lays the foundation to define what a digital asset is and why these assets can create problems in estate planning. Next, the author examines how various social networking sites, e-mail providers, and blog hosting sites are dealing with the concept of digital assets. Connor then provides possible solutions for dealing with digital assets. These solutions include: planning for digital assets prior to death, leaving instructions (including usernames and passwords) on how to access digital assets in the event of death, setting up a trust in which the usernames and passwords can be stored and accessed by the trustee and eventual executor, and possibly providing some information about digital assets in a will. Finally, the author describes the consequences of failure to provide for your digital assets after death.

Ashes to Ashes, Bits to Bits: Estate Planning for Your Online Self

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

What will happen to your blog after you die? Last week, an “unconference” (a sort of free-form conference) called Digital Death Day asked “[W]hat does death of the physical self mean for the digital self?” (Hap: Likelihood of Confusion)

It’s a good topic for discussion. I do think it makes sense to consider what you want done with your blog and other digitally embodied intellectual property after you move on. For instance, you might want to put it into the public domain to make it available to everyone. Alternatively, you might want to put it into a trust to limit what your heirs can do with it.

If you don’t make special provisions, your copyrights will pass along to your heirs with the rest of the property in your estate. Is that okay by you? Do you trust your heirs with your blog posts and Flickr photos like you do with your money?

Here’s another question: Would your heirs be able to get their hands on your passwords – assuming you even wanted them to? As a legal guy, let me suggest that you just put your passwords somewhere findable upon your death. Your heirs will likely be able to get your passwords through legal process. But what an amazing headache that would be! Ugh.