The DG©M is not your attorney and cannot offer you legal advice with regard to your estate planning, but we can offer certain services and resources regarding the process for enrolling your work in our program.
First, the manner of the DG©M’s involvement with your estate planning process will often depend upon how your structure your bequest of copyright through your will or trust, or both. In order to enroll with the DG©M, you have several gifting options:
Option 1 (Preferred Option)
You can make a gift of your copyrights directly to the Dramatists Guild.
Through your estate plan, you can gift all, or parts of, your copyrights to the Dramatists Guild, which is a non-profit 501(c)(6) trade association formed under New York law. Since you are reading this, you are likely already familiar with the Dramatists Guild and its goals and purpose. However, if you wish to learn more about the Guild, you can click here.
You can assign to a beneficiary or beneficiaries a share of the Dramatists Guild’s net revenues earned by the copyrights gifted under Option 1.
Alternatively, if you have gifted all or some of your copyrights to the Dramatists Guild under Option 1, you can designate that a share of the Guild’s net revenues earned from the copyrights be paid to a designated beneficiary or beneficiaries for their lifetime(s).
Alternatively, through your estate plan, you can gift all, or parts of, your copyrights to one of the Dramatists Guild’s foregoing tax-exempt non-profit organizations.
You may have the ability to receive certain income, gift and estate tax benefits under this option. However, the tax rules with respect to a bequest of your work and its related copyright are highly complex and confusing. In fact, a charitable deduction could be disallowed if it is not handled properly. Also, these sorts of organizations may not be able to accept a gift that allocates a portion of its revenues to a third-party beneficiary. Thus, you should discuss with your estate planning attorney and tax advisor your wishes and concerns to ensure that you fully understand what tax benefits, if any, that you, your trust or your estate would be entitled to receive.
Selecting an Option
Under any of these options, the profits earned by the DG©M shall flow to the Dramatists Guild to support the mission of the Guild and the generations of dramatists to come. But, as noted above, the DG©M’s preference is Option 1. Beyond the direct benefit to the Guild that this preference provides, there are practical and administrative concerns and expenses tied to Options 2 and 3, which you should consider.
For example, if you should gift your copyright (or a majority financial interest in such copyright) to a beneficiary other than the Dramatists Guild, such beneficiary may eventually terminate the DG©M’s services or otherwise seek to challenge the DG©M’s practice of prioritizing the protection of your authorial legacy over maximizing profits payable to such beneficiaries. You may also have inadvertently left your copyright termination rights beyond the DG©M’s control, limiting our ability to manage your work. Thus, under those scenarios, you are not guaranteed the DG©M’s perpetual protection of your authorial intent.
Therefore, if you gift your copyrights directly to a trust, heir, or any other individual beneficiary, or designate a share of 50% or more of the revenues from any gifted work to be payable to any third-party beneficiaries, it is the DG©M’s policy not to manage such properties at this time.