If a newly self-pulbished author files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, how must the intangible value of copyrights be assessed?

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If a newly self-pulbished author files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, how must the intangible value of copyrights be assessed?

Must copyrights even be mentioned as an asset if the author has e-books for sale, but no official copyrights have been registered? If so, how can value be assessed? Will the court accept a value based on current e-book earnings? Could future royalties be in jeaopordy if the books become more popular?

Asked on March 25, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

How to assess the value of intellectual property is a question for a CPA, not an attorney; there are a number of different methodologies, but they work best when there is either 1) some evidence of value, such as the amount you paid to purchase the copyright or other intellectual property; and/or 2) some evidence or track record of the income stream from the property.  Without such evidence, which a "newly self-published" author would likely not have, unless he or she had previously published other materials or books to which the current ones could be analogized, it is very difficult to assign a value, and that value is apt to be low. That said, when filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which is based upon your assets, you must disclose  the existence, and to the greatest degree possible, value of all assets owned, including copyrights. Those values will be taken into account in the bankruptcy.


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