This is Called IP for Short…

Patent, Copyright, Trademark, and Trade Secrets. All are forms of IP.

Writers deal mostly in copyright. That is what we license, but few writers know anything about what they license. And this post will not be a long, dull screed on copyright, I promise. In fact, it will be fairly short.

I want to deal with value of copyright is all. A simple topic, right?

Nope.

“Patents, trademarks and copyrights generally have associated costs and are usually capitalized as assets on the balance sheet.”

Oh, oh… So how do you figure the value of that asset when a copyright will last the life of the author plus 50 or 70 years depending on the country???

That is still a question in complete flux. Every judge, every business, every writer will work out their own method, based on some basic forms, of which there are four or twelve or however many depending on where you check.

So your copyright has value. And under certain circumstances, it even can be depreciated. You finish a novel, a short story, whatever, do you realize your story has value? Or are you one of those writers who thinks their work has no value?

In the entire Magic Bakery six-week workshop, I think I only talk for one or two videos about this growing issue of valuation.

Say you finished a short story and sold it to a magazine for $300. Is that the worth of the copyright of that story? Of course not. That story you still own rights to will remain in your control for your entire life and with your heirs 70 years past your death. Say that is at least 100 years.

See the problem? One appraiser might think your story is worth only $5,000 for all those years of possible value. Another might think it is worth $100,000 because movies might be made from it.

There is no set way yet of trying to figure out a copyright value.

“So what?”

You want the answer to that, go Google your state’s and US death tax laws. Over what amount do you have to pay tax on the value of your estate?

Then simply do the math. The stories will just be sitting in the file, not earning, but you get taxed on 70 years of possible future earnings for each story and novel. Your entire inventory has value that can be taxed in some way or another at your death.

Oh, oh…

Copyright is a property.  Understand that.

You own it. It has value, no matter what you think of it.

Might be time to start understanding exactly what you own before you bankrupt you heirs.

Just saying.