Does my family have a right to receive money for a dead uncles’ music that is still being sold and played online?

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Does my family have a right to receive money for a dead uncles’ music that is still being sold and played online?

My Uncle made one album before he died at the young age of 28 years-old in 1970. Since that time his music has been sampled, played, redone, etc., and even though my family does not own the copyrights, I want to know what can be done to make sure my family receives royalties from his music?

Asked on October 25, 2010 under Business Law, Indiana

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I am sorry for your loss.  You may not be able to recover anything.  Or rather, your Uncle's estate may not be able to recover anything.  You state here something about the copyrights.  Who owns the copyrights?  Did your Uncle sign his rights away? That will be front and center of the matter here.  Copyrights are for limited times and although the copyright to his music may not yet be expired or in the public domain, it may not be his estate's right to collect royalties on it.  You need to seek help from a copyright attorney in your area.  And an estate attorney as well. They need to work in conjunction with eachother here. Good luck. 


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