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Monday, December 8, 2014

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer … He’ll Go Down in (Estate Royalty) History!

There is a show on TV called "About a Boy", based on the movie of the same name, in which a character lives a job-free, stress-free, millionaire existence. His source of apparently unlimited income is a song - or more correctly, the royalties from a hugely popular song. As it turns out, significant royalty payments aren't always fictitious.

What happens to those royalties when the owner of them dies, but the song is still being played thousands of times each Christmas? A song familiar to many of us is "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer", which generates hefty revenues each year. A recent article by Toronto lawyer Ian Hull talked about the estate of Johnny Marks, the author of the song.

Mr. Hull reminded us that all artists - including musicians and authors - should make specific provisions in their wills to deal with royalties. As with any assets, there must be clear instructions for the distribution after the owner's death. Otherwise, there is a risk that family members will end up in court to clarify ownership.Click here to read the article.

In addition, writers and artists should consider appointing a special executor with specific powers to deal with creative endeavours and their royalties.

This photo of Rudolph is the cover of a Little Golden Book, adapted by Rick Bunsen and illustrated by Arkadia, published 2000.

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