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Ask Slashdot: What's the Best Way To Preserve a "Digital Inheritance"? 191

Posted by samzenpus
from the won't-somebody-please-think-of-the-children? dept.
First time accepted submitter ron-l-j writes "The last few months a digital inheritance idea has been floating around in my head, and I am sure the thought has crossed your mind as well. With Google talking about the inactive account program it made me wonder, how do I make sure my children get my iTunes, and amazon movies? I have plenty of mp4 movies on my server that will just set itself to admin with no password after I do not log in within a 6 month time frame. But what about the huge amount spent on digital content every year? What's the best way to make sure your "digital inheritance" gets passed down?"
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Ask Slashdot: What's the Best Way To Preserve a "Digital Inheritance"?

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  • Make a list (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ShanghaiBill (739463) * on Monday April 15, 2013 @10:52AM (#43452653)

    I keep all my media files on a shared server. Everyone in my family knows the password.

    For all my accounts, I use passwords with the same 6 character prefix, and varying suffixes. The suffixes are listed on an appendix to my will. They are also on an XD card that I keep in this keychain fob [amazon.com] in my pocket.

    But I only record the suffixes because both my wife and daughter (age 14) know the prefix. So if the prefix were 7xU32w, then the list might say "correct horse battery staple", but the real password would be "7xU32wcorrect horse battery staple". If anyone outside my family saw the password list, it would be worthless to them because they don't know the prefix, nor do they even know that there is a prefix.

    • by ZeroPly (881915) on Monday April 15, 2013 @11:34AM (#43453077)
      ... in a manner of speaking. This is a well known problem in crypto.

      My way: all of my passwords and secret documents are in an encrypted folder which I update along with my will. Included are final farewells, secrets, where the bodies are buried, and so on. The key is split (look up PKI key splitting) into 5 parts. My girlfriend, father, buddy at work, and two of my friends each have a part. For security reasons, those are just examples. Four of those parts together are required to unlock. At my death each one turns in their part to the executor of my will who already has instructions on how to get it put together.

      It is not a good idea to naively split a 10 char password into two 5 char pieces, and assume that brute force will be necessary to guess one of those parts. That is a very dangerous assumption if you are not an expert with the particular algorithms used.
      • "The key is split (look up PKI key splitting) into 5 parts."

        This is completely unnecessary, if you want to make sure all 5 parts are present before anybody can access the data. All you have to do is use standard encryption 5 times, and give each person 1 of the keys. (And of course specify the order.) But that way you can use standard encryption without any fancy "split keying".

      • by Cow Jones (615566)

        The key is split (look up PKI key splitting) into 5 parts. My girlfriend, father, buddy at work, and two of my friends each have a part. [...] Four of those parts together are required to unlock.

        Better make sure you're not travelling in a car (or airplane, etc) with two or more of your keybearers...

        Why not give all of them the complete key and trust them? Thats what I do (minus the gf).
        I know nothing about your friends or family, so YMMV.

        CJ

    • Re:Make a list (Score:4, Informative)

      by SirGarlon (845873) on Monday April 15, 2013 @11:46AM (#43453183)

      I took a somewhat different approach. I keep all my passwords in an encrypted database (I like Password Gorilla [github.com]). I wrote the password to this database, and the login password to my home PC, on a slip of paper and put it in a safe deposit box at my bank.

      The safe deposit box uses two-factor authentication: you have to possess the key, and you need a photo ID identifying you as an authorized user of the box.

      I prefer this approach because it is not reliant on human memory. I am not carrying a list of passwords around with me to be found by a stranger if I ever lose my keychain. It is also robust in the event I forget my "master" password, which could happen if I were disabled and went without using it for a few months. I can change who has access to the passwords through my will: currently my wife has access, but it could just as easily be the executor of my estate.

    • Re:Make a list (Score:4, Insightful)

      by CastrTroy (595695) on Monday April 15, 2013 @12:43PM (#43453673) Homepage
      You know what used to happen when people died? some information got lost. Scary isn't it. Seriously, this is just too complicated. Just make sure your spouse is listed as a joint account holder on all bank accounts, and that you have you will in order. Does it really matter if your email account is inaccessible? Who cares if your MP3's disappear? If your worried, just back them up on CD/DVD and call it a day. If I died, most of my online accounts would be inaccessible, but I don't think that really matters. Maybe I could ensure that my domain name stuff gets carried on, but I really don't care about my Twitter or Facebook accounts being accessible.
      • You know what used to happen when people died? some information got lost

        You know what those people likely died from? Smallpox, polio, measles, and other infectious diseases. Just because bad things used to happen is no reason to accept them happening today when they are easily preventable. Ensuring that my wife and kids will have access to my digital assets took less than five minutes to setup.

        The only thing I know about my great-grandparents is their names. I know nothing about what they believed, or what was important to them. Not a single photograph or letter has surviv

      • "If your worried, just back them up on CD/DVD and call it a day."

        I was going to suggest something similar. If it's not "sensitive" data, just back it up. Hell, even if it is, just back it up.

        Using databases and other things that require a particular version of some software is an overly complicated and rather fragile way to do things.

  • You don't own (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 15, 2013 @10:54AM (#43452667)

    Any of it.

  • by grewil (2108618) on Monday April 15, 2013 @10:54AM (#43452671)

    Few would care for their parents music collection.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 15, 2013 @11:03AM (#43452771)

      Train them right from the beginning. I have the iPod dock playing music for my son every morning. I make it a point to only have "good" music on there, and we goofy dance to every up-beat song we can. Hopefully he'll have a nice smile on his face, and fondly remembers to good times he had with dad, whenever he hears these songs.

      Make a memory, not an old man ranting point about today's music.

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        I see your kids aren't grown. It pisses my daughter off that all her friends like Zeppelin and Floyd, she was burned out on it when she was a kid.

        The reason my generation didn't like our parents' music is because it wasn't really all that good. Nobody in their twenties in the seventies listened to music from the thirties, but music from the late sixties to the early 2000s seems to be timeless; go into any bar with a cover band and it will be full of twentysomethings yelling "FREE BIRD!" as the band plays so

        • by plover (150551)

          Physical media has plenty of problems. It has a finite (but often not well understood) lifetime, it requires bulky and sometimes temperature controlled storage, it's susceptible to contamination, it's difficult to copy losslessly, it still specifies an encoding, and it requires expensive equipment that is slowly vanishing from the landscape. Whether or not they are still readable 20 years from now is a gamble.

          At least you can safely archive digital bits, and copy them all over the place. I'd recommend rippi

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      Says you.
      I would be happy to have my dad's music collection. I rather not get it that way though.

      • Says you. I would be happy to have my dad's music collection. I rather not get it that way though.

        I've now got my dad's music collection -- which I'm glad to have. "That way" comes whether or not we'd like it too . . .

    • by ShanghaiBill (739463) * on Monday April 15, 2013 @11:08AM (#43452825)

      Few would care for their parents music collection.

      A few years ago, I was helping my teenage daughter with her homework. My wife walked in, and told us that Michael Jackson had died. My daughter asked "Who's Michael Jackson?"

      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 15, 2013 @11:19AM (#43452937)

        You can spend your entire life researching Michael Jackson and the question will at most change from "Who's Michael Jackson?" to "Who the fuck is Michael Jackson?!"

      • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Monday April 15, 2013 @11:56AM (#43453257) Homepage Journal

        That's the point at which you, as a responsible parent, are supposed to bust a move with your best Thriller dance, singing along as you do, subsequently embarrassing the hell out of your progeny.

        Bonus points if you can make this happen in a crowded public place; Extra bonus points if your daughter's friends happen to be within view.

      • by Wycliffe (116160)

        My seven year old knows who Michael Jackson is or at least knows the name and
        I don't own nor do I listen to any of his songs. I find it very surprising that a
        teenager wouldn't at least know that he was a singer.

      • Few would care for their parents music collection.

        A few years ago, I was helping my teenage daughter with her homework. My wife walked in, and told us that Michael Jackson had died. My daughter asked "Who's Michael Jackson?"

        How does not knowing the band/artist make one unable to appreciate a great piece of music? I can see the other side, being a fan of a band/artist can make one like something that is in truth, of low quality. However not knowing the band/artist would seem to make one more neutral when evaluating music.

      • Well, that's just a matter of education. I expect my daughter to be an expert in Jackson Structured Programming by the time she's seven.

        Wait, he died?

    • by sarysa (1089739)
      Bit of a generalization there. Notice a trend in the music industry for retro everything? Album of the year went to a band influenced by the 1800s, probably lamenting that none of those original works were ever recorded. The current #1 album on the charts is Justin Timberlake's throwback to the 50s and 60s. That digital collection would be enjoyed just fine.
      • by sarysa (1089739)
        Sorry, I meant it 'features a single' that blah blah...though he also performed it on SNL and other places on his'buy my new album' tour...
      • by Joce640k (829181)

        Bit of a generalization there. Notice a trend in the music industry for retro everything? Album of the year went to a band influenced by the 1800s, probably lamenting that none of those original works were ever recorded. The current #1 album on the charts is Justin Timberlake's throwback to the 50s and 60s. That digital collection would be enjoyed just fine.

        Doesn't mean the kids *want* the stuff from the 50s and 60s, they're just starry eyed thinking how brilliant Justin Timberlake is for even knowing about that old stuff.

        And the only reason they're listening to Justin Timberlake is because the record industry is busy marketing him and his amazing album.

        • by Loughla (2531696)

          And the only reason they're listening to Justin Timberlake is because Justin Timberlake is busy marketing him and his amazing album.

          FTFY, he is a shameless self-promoter - google that, I'm too lazy to provide proof.

    • by gsslay (807818)

      And those who do already have a copy. They're not waiting for you to die first.

    • My parents modeled my music preferences. And I thank them for that. By letting me listen to what they were listening, they managed to keep me away from all the garbage that was being played as mainstream at that time. Hello, Pink Floyd and Van der Graaf Generator; fuck you, Kriss Kross and NKOTB and that shit.
      I apologize to those who love(d) Kriss Kross and NKOTB. I still think it was shit. To even things out, they could say my preferred music is shit and I promise I won't care :)

    • I listen to music from my parents generation, it brings back lots of (mostly) happy childhood memories, and as I've listened to more of it, I've learnt to appreciate it, and have made my own discoveries of good music from the same era. As a teen I had different musical tastes, that my parent's couldn't stand, and I went through a phase of not wanting to hear my parents music, but one grows out of that.

      My 19yr old daughter, recently said "I wish I was alive in the eighties, you guys had the best music" I was

    • Few would care for their parents music collection.

      After being exposed to Taylor Swift and One Direction, my kids heard Kansas, Floyd, and Van Halen.

      Their take? "That can't be old-person's music. It's so awesome."

      Some of my favorite music was written 5 and 40 years before I was born. But it's true - my parents' music was 50's and 60's schlock, not Hendrix or Miles.

    • by macbeth66 (204889)

      Really?

      Hmmm... I love a lot of my parents' music and their parents' music. I even like some of my kid's music. And my kids seem to like mine, more and more. Its a lot of fun introducing them to stuff that was popular 'way back', regardless if it is on vinyl or digital.

      Over the weekend, the older one was cleaning up her iPod, disposing of her rap crap. It doesn't speak to her anymore. I doubt it ever did. Most likely it was only because it was what her friends listened to. Something to annoy the old

    • by kermidge (2221646)

      This is another of those "it depends" I think.

      Late 90's to 2001 worked mostly third-shift in a store. Kids (legal teens to mid- late-twenties) would come in to get their Whip-Its, papers, browse, and I'd be playing whatever, some Cream, Spirit, Leonard Cohen, Buffalo Springfield, Drifters, Rotary Connection, Eric Burdon and the Animals, It's A Beautiful Day, Chambers Brothers, stuff like that. Often they'd say "Man, what is that shit?" Five, ten minutes later they'd say "Man, what _is_ that shit? I gott

    • My 23-year-old stepdaughter plays Pink Floyd and Jethro Tull in between her Foo Fighters and Three Doors Down.

      My 14-year-old-son thinks the Beatles are amazing.

      My 21-year-old nephew is a Dead Head.

      Your knowlege of other peoples' children is somewhat sparse.

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Monday April 15, 2013 @10:56AM (#43452691) Journal

    What's the best way to make sure your "digital inheritance" gets passed down?

    Put it on physical media and give it to them. Or remove the DRM (if any) and put it on a disc and give it to them. Or (if you're okay with it) move it to a third party pay system like Google Drive where you can make it readable to them. Keep in mind that in doing so you will almost certainly be violating the usage agreement you clicked on with the distributors your got that music from -- in some cases you are violating it two or three different ways in that scenario.

    This story [slashdot.org] wasn't true but you'd essentially be facing the same obstacles.

    Based on principle that I don't want to get into, I refuse to purchase anything from Apple. So I don't have to deal with that problem. I do make purchase on Amazon, however, whenever a Big Bach box of 100 Bach songs goes on sale for $1. So what I do is I download them all in mp3 and put them out on a redundant SAN in my house. I do this with all books, music and movies -- if I buy the CD or DVD I rip them out to this. If I get a DRM'd ebook, I free it with calibre and put it out there. Pretty sure I'm violating a ton of shit [amazon.com] doing this but ... meh:

    2.2 Restrictions. You must comply with all applicable copyright and other laws in your use of the Music Content. Except as set forth in Section 2.1 above, you may not redistribute, transmit, assign, sell, broadcast, rent, share, lend, modify, adapt, edit, license or otherwise transfer or use the Music Content.

    Every five years or so I upgrade the drives to medium quality drives that are larger for more storage. So this machine running as an internal server to my home is unencrypted and I can access it with my PS3, Xbox or computer. I will simply hand over that machine and drives to my offspring in my final will and testament.

    You should honestly still be asking about MMORPG accounts, apps and games that you paid for ... I'm sad that I cannot give my children my old Lucas arts games. The media is archaic and my "license" with the company is meaningless more and more each day as Disney dismantles and guts LucasArts. I wrote a journal entry [slashdot.org] about this in 2006 and it was on the front page but that discussion seems to have been lost to the ages. I'm certainly not the first person to puzzle over this quandary and it will only snowball further and further.

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      Why not rip the games and give the kids a link to scummvm?

      • Why not rip the games and give the kids a link to scummvm?

        I do when I can. It's great, those guys are doing god's work and I implore anybody who could even foresee the use of it to kick them a couple bucks. But the fact is that it doesn't cover all the games [scummvm.org] I grew up playing like it only handles half the Dr. Brain series [scummvm.org] which that first game was fundamental in my understanding of logic and programming. And when I said LucasArts, I was mostly talking about X-Wing and Tie Fighter -- which I don't think used the SCI engine and I do not believe are available on s

        • by h4rr4r (612664)

          X-wing and Tie Fighter should run fine in DOSBox. That runs on Linux just fine.

          I don't think these companies care, nor will they ever.

    • by sarysa (1089739)
      'Tis why I still buy CDs. It makes me a luddite, sure, but I can easily digitize it and so long as I delete the copies, I am still protected by first sale. (Guess this only works if you only buy music where you get it for the entire album experience)
      • 'Tis why I still buy CDs. It makes me a luddite, sure, but I can easily digitize it and so long as I delete the copies, I am still protected by first sale. (Guess this only works if you only buy music where you get it for the entire album experience)

        Give yourself a bit of credit, man; refusing to be a sucker != being a Luddite.

  • by MasseKid (1294554) on Monday April 15, 2013 @10:56AM (#43452699)
    IANAL, and I haven't checked the license, but I suspect you legally don't own rights that can be passed on upon your death.
    • IANAL, and I haven't checked the license, but I suspect you legally don't own rights that can be passed on upon your death.

      Look at the bright side: If everything you own is eventually "licensed, not sold" -- and thus reverts to the "rights holder" on your demise -- you won't have to worry about estate planning and inheritance taxes .

      • by idontgno (624372)

        Only on Slashdot can someone point out the probate advantages of serfdom over freehold. Even if in jest. In the "Ha, ha, only serious" sense.

  • by digitrev (989335) <digitrev@hotmail.com> on Monday April 15, 2013 @10:57AM (#43452705) Homepage

    Put all of the relevant information in your will, or in a sealed & notarized envelope only to be opened upon your death. Accounts, password, approximate contents, the whole shebang. If you're worried about someone taking this information before you're dead, put in a single account and password to your KeyPass database, or an e-mail account that only has usernames / password, etc. Then, find some way of tracking access to that account, so that it pings you when someone uses it. Heck, even add a 1-week timer to it, so that they have to be sure you're dead before they can get those passwords.

    Basically, rely on the systems we've always used to pass along our inheritance.

    • The KeepAss Database would be happy to send it all to you in physical format through their newest HaulAss transport branch.

  • by DoomSprinkles (1933266) on Monday April 15, 2013 @10:57AM (#43452707)
    I bet Hollywood and the RIAA would like to assume you'll make the only sensible option and inform your beneficiaries to use your life insurance to repurchase all such content you think you own.
  • Lets say Google does implement an inactive account system. Create a process that detects that account deletion and then sends out an email to your family members with a copy of your keepass file, that way they will have access to all of your accounts after you pass away.
  • I'm pretty sure when you die the license agreement you have between Apple or Amazon (or whoever) is ended and ownership ceases.

    Anyone actually read that thing?

    • by Joce640k (829181)

      Anyone actually read that thing?

      War and Peace is shorter than the Apple/iTunes EULA (and less densely written).

  • Do the license agreements for iTunes and Amazon digital movies (and music) allow you to pass them on to others?
  • Easy (Score:5, Funny)

    by magic maverick (2615475) on Monday April 15, 2013 @10:59AM (#43452741) Homepage Journal

    There are two ways that I can think of. The first is to just list all the titles, and then provide a link to the Pirate Bay. You could even save them time and torrent the titles yourself first.
    The second is to provide your password (e.g. in an encrypted container, with the password to that in your will) and hope that the companies will not realize you are dead. I know, maybe a better idea would be to stop licensing stuff and actually outright buy it. Buy DRM free, and you can make a copy yourself. Don't purchase anything that requires DRM or whatever.
    The third way (which doesn't do what you ask) is to just forget it. Just set it to die when you do.

    Also, just delete all the porn. I'm sure your kids don't want to know what sort of weird stuff you are into.

  • by onyxruby (118189) <onyxruby@@@comcast...net> on Monday April 15, 2013 @11:01AM (#43452757)

    The problem is the concept of the license instead of the purchase. The media companies want to get away from the idea that you 'own' anything. In order to do that with the shift to digital goods they 'license' everything. This way when you die they can claim that all of your purchases were in fact not purchases but in effect lifelong rental agreements. Your heirs get nothings and all of the money you spent becomes wasted.

    There are two potential ways too challenge this. Someone could list a large number of digital assets in a bankruptcy case and get the trustee to challenge the idea that they cannot be sold. To the best of my knowledge the only time this came up it was settled out of court without setting precedent. The other way is to have the trustee of someone's estate challenge this when you die. The bottom line is that you have to have enough digital assets for the trustee to feel that it is worth their time and money to fight over. Since most people only have a couple grand or so in digital assets it usually isn't worth the court costs to try to recover them.

    The practical alternative is to include your account password in your will so that your heirs can log into your account and use it after you pass away.

  • Keep all that stuff on physical media unencrypted, and your heirs get it along with all the other junk in your attic.

    Your passwords could be stored in a similar way, or you could get clever about it (online vault, with the password in your will or whatever).

    Just assume that anything protected by DRM doesn't belong to you in the first place. By the time you die chances are half of it already won't even be accessible by you because some company went bankrupt. Whatever promises you've been given are about as

  • What makes you think that your children will want it? Music and movies go stale. I have a vast collection of music from way back when, that I never listen to.
    • Maybe because it's shit music.
      I'm counting the number of famous bands from 40 years ago which still are famous versus the number of famous bands from 10-5 years ago which still are famous. The former number is much, much larger than the latter.
      The change started around the end of '90s-early 2000s when it became a lot easier to create "immediate" music with close to no skill; before, bands relied on their members' ability to play instruments well and come with imaginative lyrics. After that time threshold ('

    • by dcw3 (649211)

      Ah, where's the "Naive" moderation when I need it?

      Yes, some things go stale, and many come back for seconds years later. I'm 54, and have watched numerous movies from before my birth. My daughter (22), has watched tons of movies from before her time. She's recently discovered Sinatra (I was never a fan myself), and loves it. So, just because you don't want it, does not indicate that your offspring won't. Tastes change, styles come and go....one size doesn't fit all.

  • half of these sites were not around 10 years ago and all of them 20 years ago
  • My late father-in-law was a DJ. We have several boxes of his LPs, 45s and reel to reel tapes in the garage. Would you like them? If you call now I'll throw in a few milk crates of our VHS tapes, CDs and DVDs at no extra cost.

    In contrast, we also have 40 years or so of 8mm/VHS family video that he put on DVD before his death. DVD isn't perfect, but those get backed up and have been shared with family.

    • Yes, I would like them. I actually like sifting through piles of recordings and find interesting stuff.
      Sadly, I am not living in the US. Guess that makes your proposal inaccessible to me :)

  • As has been pointed out several times, the license probably doesn't allow for that.

    Take your hypothetical death out of the equation, and ask: how would I transfer ownership of my digital media to someone else right now? I think you'll find the answer is the companies involved have stacked the deck in their favor, and there is no mechanism to do that.

    In their interpretation, you don't own it, you bought a limited license to use it only how they approve.

    If there's no legal mechanism you can transfer ownershi

  • Consider your IRA, 401k, etc. holdings. Unless your spouse or heirs know the passwords to all your Fidelity/Putnam/Vanguard/Hancock accounts, it'll be a major pain to get at your money. Heck, what with all-electronic statements and stuff, it may be really difficult just to find out your accounts exist (and their numbers).

  • Digital Photos (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Doug Otto (2821601) on Monday April 15, 2013 @11:26AM (#43453001)
    The days of family photos being passed down are gone. A shoe-box full of slides is remarkable durable, barring a fire. When grandma dies her collection of digital photos dies with her. While perhaps no exactly a "first world problem" it's a pretty significant issue when you consider the amount of history that can be lost. It's especially important to artists. Imagine if all of art produced by the likes of Picaso, Rembrandt, Van Gogh vanished when the died and someone shut down their computers. Most archival media available is susceptible to silent bit rot and spinning media requires care as well.
  • Think of it as a longer-term rental

    You have access to it until the provider decides it is no longer profitable to maintain the servers

  • Think bigger. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ledow (319597) on Monday April 15, 2013 @12:09PM (#43453349) Homepage

    Think bigger.

    1) Your kids probably don't want it. How much of your grandfather's-era of music would you actually listen to? Not much. Sure, they'd like to keep a photo or two for "show-and-tell" but it won't mean much to them later, and 99.9% of what you want to give them, they won't be interested in. When people die, they have a lot of crap to go through, and most of it gets destroyed or sold - nobody keeps EVERYTHING. The first things to go are mass-market commercial items that can easily be replicated / recovered.

    2) Your kids won't know what to do with it. It's become hard to play web video from 10-15 years ago (when was the last time you installed Quicktime / Realplayer?). Doesn't matter what you do, they probably won't be able to play it (DRM, etc.) - you can scream open-source all you like, the fact is that by the time they grow up, unless they are as geeky as you, they won't be able to play it.

    3) Out of all the crap I could have "inherited", I kept only what was personal and important. There probably *WAS* value in the old 78's that I took to the charity shop, but to be honest, it wasn't sentimental value so who cares? There's no way I could listen to the music on them and tolerate the slow-droning that passed for music back then. And the stuff I did keep was daft, for a reason and - without exception - tangible. There's enough non-tangible stuff in my head from dead people without some "virtual" music that I could pick up in seconds if I really wanted it.

    4) When they get older, they'll care less. They will be working and could buy your favourite music on the format of the day for nostalgia, if they wanted it. Chances are they won't dig out the old CD player except to blow the dust off and show the kids how music "used to be" (like previous generations would demonstrate their phonographs etc.). Fast forward a generation and all your Netflix accounts (assuming that company is even AROUND by then) won't mean anything to your family. That favourite movie that they always snuggled up to watch as children? Chances are they don't remember as adults or - if they do - they'd prefer it on a convenient modern format which they would buy themselves anyway.

    5) The generation problem. I know things about my grandparents. I know next-to-nothing about my great-grandparents. I'd never seen them, they were dead before I was born. Hence, I don't really have more than a passing interest in them. I know zero about their parents and the further back you go, the less I know and the less I care. I probably *am* related to someone famous at some point - almost everybody is and even simple maths provides the answer - every famous person of ten generations ago probably has nearly a thousand people who can trace their ancestry directly to them today, and millions more whom can get there with third-cousins twice-removed or whatever.

    Sure, it'd be cool to have a piece of documentation etc. for filling in a family tree but - thinking about it - my dad probably does have that kind of stuff about his own granddad. But why would he show it to me / pass it to me? I have no connection with the person it came from and it would mean almost nothing.

    Now consider what it would mean to see a list of music that your grandfather liked, or your great-grandfather. Now consider how much it would be different to have that music in some online-only account that's tricky to get into (and almost certainly the details will be lost by then), impossible to play if you do, may not even exist any more, etc. It's not as much as you think.

    And by then most of that stuff will be so old-hat it won't even be put onto TV / radio as it would have been repeated a billion times and gone through the "gold" nostalgia channels and be next-to-worthless, like asking me to watch something that my great-grandad saw at a music hall. Interesting. Once. For a minute. That's about it.

    6) All this effort takes you away from your kids. They honestly won't give a shit beyond lip-service and keeping

  • I'm just going to state the obivous: NEVER, EVER, BUY ANYTHING ENCUMBERED WITH DRM! Or at least not without knowing you can remove it. This is what I do. I buy digital content all the time, but music only in the form of MP3's or otherwise unencrypted formats, and ebooks only in MOBI or ePub formats, from which the DRM is easily removed.

    I don't buy movies online, since they aren't sold without DRM yet, and it can't be reliably removed yet. I buy them on physical discs, which may have DRM, but which I can a

  • by TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) on Monday April 15, 2013 @12:27PM (#43453545)

    If all you intend to leave your children is your MP3 collection, then that is pretty sad.

    First, don't BUY digital movies. There is no point to it. Even buying physical movies is stupid. Unless you are absolutely going to watch a movie more then 5 - 6 times there is no economic reason to spend $20 - $30 on a movie you are going to watch once or twice. People have this silly notion of collecting content, whether its physical disks or digital files, but it it economically stupid to buy a movie in this day an age of instant access for a few bucks, especially when a year later its on Netflix. There is no reason to spend a fortune accumulating a movie library which its more economical to rent or subscribe to services to access that content on demand, and in the future it will be just easier and cheaper to access movies and TV shows on demand.

    When it comes to music there has not been a music service that has forced DRM since iTunes when DRM free about 5 years ago. So you can transfer your music to a hard drive and give them that, assuming they want to listen to 30 year old music.

    But I guarantee your children don't care about any movie or music you "owned" when you pass, especially if you unwisely blew through all "their" inheritance money to accumulate it. Buying music or movies is NOT an investment.

    Also there is no point to have a crazy scheme to reset passwords on a file system, any content can be "reowned" by a new admin account, also why are you password protecting your movies, just throw them onto a shared family folder anyways.

  • If you plan to die soon, you are in trouble. While you can record account logins and passwords, giving those to other people is frequently a TOS violation. Giving accounts to other people, splitting them up or merging them is simply not something most services support or outright forbid. DRM-free downloads are possible with some services, but it can be a lot of hassle to download them all and archive them in a manner that would be useful. Only chance here is that the laws get changed to give you back some o

  • [quote]I have plenty of mp4 movies on my server that will just set itself to admin with no password after I do not log in within a 6 month time frame. But what about the huge amount spent on digital content every year? [/quote]
    Uh, why?

    As for the rest, pass on anything that's DRM-free (like the iTunes and Amazon music), and delete the DRM movies. If they want the movies they can buy it for themselves.

  • by JustNiz (692889)

    >> how do I make sure my children get my iTunes, and amazon movies?

    Actually I don't believe they legally can. My understanding is that as far as the law goes you dont technically own that stuff anyway and certainly cant legally transfer copies of it, you just bought a non-transferrable licence to play it thats all.

    Apple and Amazon can arbitrarily stop providing access to any streamed media anytime they feel like it, even if you bought a licence to play it, so its still not technically yours. Read the

  • That stuff you paid for isn't yours to leave to anyone! What are you, some kind of pinko terrorist?

  • purchase a time machine and go back 6-8 years to the point at which Richard M Stallman told you this would be a problem.

    how do I make sure my children get my iTunes, and amazon movies?

    you dont. amazon cloud drive products as well as iTunes are non-transferrable. there is no resale or loaning, or even giving away an ebook for example. Besides, as the standards are rather closed in most cases, you couldnt even if you wanted to. read the terms and conditions.

    I have plenty of mp4 movies on my server that will just set itself to admin with no password after I do not log in within a 6 month time frame.

    Again, unless they hold the license for these movies, you're only gifting them a visit from the MPAA.

    But what about the huge amount spent on digital content every year? What's the best way to make sure your "digital inheritance" gets passed down?"

    As a con

  • by argStyopa (232550) on Monday April 15, 2013 @02:15PM (#43454557) Journal

    I already ran into this with Steam.
    When my sons started getting Steam games as gifts, they were too young for their own account (2004?) - they were 7? 8? so I (I guess, stupidly) applied their games to mine, would log on and let them play.

    Over the years, we just kept accumulating games, and applying them to "the house account". We did open an extra account once, so we could multiplayer (I think we have Magicka on that one too.), and then (by accident, since 14 year olds are often more interested in getting "that game" installed than thinking about) a couple more games got installed on that account too.

    Now they're 17+ and (obviously) have their own accounts.

    Unfortunately, I have games and stuff on my account that are technically theirs...Civ5, Magicka and a ton of expansions, Skyrim, etc. I don't play them, I don't want access to them, etc. I'd love to just xfer them to their account, and be done. But right now we basically have to text each other "Dad, you on steam account (X) tonight, or can I play on it?" because we have my (main) account, our other (house) account, and then each of their accounts.

    (I tried to raise this concern earlier here, and the Slashmob attacked me for lying, fabricating the situation, and all sorts of things. Not sure why? But I simply doubt many of these services, and certainly Terms, weren't drafted with a 10+ year timeframe expected. Now I am paying the price for not thinking it through, either.)

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