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Literary Material & Copyrights

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  • Literary Material & Copyrights

    Has anyone, writers for example, ever dealt with copyright ownership during a Chapter 7? I have several scripts and short stories which have no defined worth right now... but I'd like to continue looking for a company to publish or option them.

    My 341 meeting is in a month. I would like to keep my property and try to develop it myself but can't find anyone who has went through a similar bankruptcy.

  • #2
    Copyrights

    I would assume the trustee will not want your unpublished writings. I'm guessing they have little or no value to anyone other than you. As hard as it is for the author to get his or her stuff published, I can't believe a trustee would be interested. Now if you have published stuff before and had best sellers that could be a different story. (no pun intended) -

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    • #3
      Have you ever made money from anything you have written to date?

      If you want maximum protection and take the conservative approach, list the manuscripts as an asset on your BK schedules and list them with zero value. That way, no one can come back (in the event you actually get them self or published) and said you failed to disclose the item. I don't think you have anything to worry about. But you need to disclose the assets.

      But yes, the trustees will evaluate the future value of a copyright and and do a net present value analysis to see if it is worth anything; unless the debtor is a published author with "real" representation (literary agent or the like), the trustees have no interest. Value is too uncertain.
      Last edited by HHM; 01-31-2011, 03:36 PM.

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      • #4
        Thanks for the information. I did list them as assets and with no value. Wonder if a publisher decided to pick up one of the stories a few months after my 341 meeting and the additional passing of 60 days? Do you know if they could come back to claim anything and if so... would it only be up to the value of the past debt or could they take more?

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        • #5
          Hi Wiretoggle, Welcome to the forum. I sent you a PM.

          Meanwhile, I agree with HHM; your manuscripts have no value right now. It is the 'potential' value that may be questioned.
          "To go bravely forward is to invite a miracle."

          "Worry is the darkroom where negatives are formed."

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          • #6
            All of the above posts are correct and you should not attempt to increase the value of the asset until the Trustee has abandoned it (and "yes", publishing the manuscript increases its value). Abandonment happens when the case is closed (not the entry of the Discharge) unless the Trustee files a Notice to Abandon sooner than the time the case is closed.

            Des.

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            • #7
              Thanks Des, that was a very good answer.

              Wiretoggle, Des is a bk attorney who is a member of our forum, and has helped immensely since joining.

              I noted that you started multiple threads in numerous boards. That is against forum rules because it causes too much confusion amongst the members when trying to keep track of which thread they answered. Therefore I have merged your threads into one thread located in the Ch7 Board, since that is the Chapter under which you filed.

              Thanks,
              AC
              "To go bravely forward is to invite a miracle."

              "Worry is the darkroom where negatives are formed."

              Comment


              • #8
                Hi,

                I'm needing help with something very similar, as I'm going to have to file pro se.

                I have several self published books on Amazon, and I'm not sure what the process or method is on placing a value on them. I generally make $50 to $75 a month off of all of them total. If I listed them with an unknown value, could this delay my bankruptcy? I've searched and searched Google for help on this, and I haven't been able to find information.

                Also, when you're self published do you list this income under royalties or business income? I don't have a contract and of course I never received an advance, like I possibly would have had I been with a publisher. I can pull them off Amazon anytime, so I'm confused as where I list this income. Is it technically considered royalties where there is not a contract and you are essentially selling these books yourself through a retailer? Thanks.

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                • #9
                  I have two self-published books too--one through Amazon and another through another self-publisher--and had to declare them on my petition. I'd have to look back at my Chapter 7 paperwork and see if the bankruptcy lawyer put any monetary value on them and where we listed it. I literally made about $25 last year on them, so they would never be an asset that a trustee would pursue.

                  I guess I would consider that income as royalties, since that's where my tax guy would always list it on my IRS tax forms each year.

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                  • #10
                    That would be awesome. Thanks so much!

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                    • #11
                      I checked my petition... the books were listed in the Financial Assets section under #26. It says "Debtor has authored 2 books" and listed the titles with a value of $0. (The $25 I made last year was in cash from selling books in person, not an actual royalty check from the publisher, so I didn't include it on my taxes. It's always hobby income, anyway.)
                      If I had received any recent royalties, it would have been included in Income Part 1, #7 Interest, dividends, royalties on the petition.
                      Hope that helps...

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        If you are making $50 to $75 a month, there is some value there. My experience with this type of asset is in the estate administration context, not the BK context, but both use fair market value which would likely be based on the expected stream of income over a number of years. You might try an internet search for something like "how to value a stream of royalty income".
                        LadyInTheRed is in the black!
                        Filed Chap 13 April 2010. Discharged May 2015.
                        $143,000 in debt discharged for $36,500, including attorneys fees. Money well spent!

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                        • #13
                          Thanks for your help all!

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