The last couple of days I have been thinking about updating my will, now that my brother and I sold our house. But that led me to think about how do you start to bequeath specific digital assets to people?
It's been about 6 years since I last looked at my will, but I know have an extensive Flickr library of digital photography, no longer am I creating prints from emulsion. So how do I leave that to someone?
My suspicion in talking to some colleagues and doing a little research online, is that this isn't currently an option right now. This is somewhat concerning, as I have Flickr assets, digital music libraries, and many other assets online. I can only imagine that these are going to increase. Does the iTunes licensing allow me to leave my 'licensed itunes' music to my brother? The fine print says it's non transferable. Of course I do have cds still, but I probably have as much music that I purchased as download from iTunes or Amazon.
I have seen some online memorial services both specialist and from vendors of online blogs etc, that allow you to basically put the service into a memorial mode, which stops the account from being deactivated through inactivity.
I have asked a couple of my friends and colleagues at online companies to start to look at their services to see what is possible.
My initial thoughts is that a Yahoo and Google could atleast have a next of kin setting in their account info/profile pages, much like you designate in your health insurance tools. They would probably have to link this to another user account so they could verify identity.
I know it's fairly basic, but it would be a start. I am sure members of our armed services would/could make use of that.
As I find out more I'll keep you posted. But it has certainly created quite a bit of conversation in the office over the last couple of days.
Oddly enough, while writing this I did a quick search and learned that Rhodri Marsden wrote a similar piece for the Independent last month. There's rarely an original idea out there!