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What Happens to your Web-based Email After You Die?
 

What Happens to your Web-based Email After You Die?

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  • Full Name Full Name Comment goes here.
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  • What an elegantly simple solution to a sticky problem. Good job with the analysis, and excellent suggestions. Thanks!
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  • I've read this story and very sorry for that.

    This is the first time I hear such problem.

    If someone dies, the world would remember him?

    Only the email is his footmark.





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    What Happens to your Web-based Email After You Die? What Happens to your Web-based Email After You Die? Presentation Transcript

    • Ryanne Lai "What Happens to Your Web-based Email After You Die?" 21 st June 200 5
    • Have you ever wondered…
      • Letters: your property
      • After you die,
      • they form part of
      • your estate
      • even if you put them in
      • a safe deposit box
      • Who owns your emails
      • when you die?
    • The Case of Justin Ellsworth: Background
      • Justin Ellsworth
      • 20 year-old marine
      • killed in Iraq in Nov. 2004
      • Ellsworth's parents requested from Yahoo! the password of their son’s email account
      • Yahoo! refused
    • The Case of Justin Ellsworth: Background
      • Yahoo!’s Terms of Service:
      • http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
    • The Case of Justin Ellsworth: Background (ii) the property right to the electronic documents (the soft copies)
      • the intellectual property right
      • (i.e. copyright)
      • to the content of the account
      (i) the right to access and use the email account
    • Who Owns What?
      • Terms of Service: a binding contract
      • account is non-transferable
      (i) the right to access and use the email account
      • safe deposit boxes:
      • survivors get the right to the
      • contents of the safe deposit boxes,
      • not the right to access and use
      • the safe deposit boxes.
    • Who Owns What? (ii) the property right to the electronic documents (the soft copies) “ personal chattels”: Intestates' Estates Ordinance (Cap. 73) ownership of electronic information ownership of the storage medium
    • Who Owns What? (ii) the property right to the electronic documents (the soft copies)
      • Emails: a kind of personal property?
      • Two main components:
      • 1. contents
      • 2. source codes
      Justin’s emails Yahoo!’s servers
    • Who Owns What?
      • “ literary work”: s. 4, Copyright Ordinance (Cap. 528)
      • the intellectual property right (i.e. copyright) to the content of the account
      Terms of Service: Yahoo! does not claim ownership of content submitted by the user
    • Who Owns What?
      • the intellectual property right (i.e. copyright) to the content of the account
      • Limitations:
      • Cannot demand copies of emails
      • unless Yahoo! “knows or has reason to believe” that the emails have been or are to be used to make infringing copies: s. 109 , Copyright Ordinance
      • Confined to emails composed by Justin
    • The Privacy Problem
      • Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance (Cap. 486)
      • Only applies to “personal data”
      • and to data user that controls the collection,
      • holding, processing or use of personal data.
      • Common Law:
      • no such protection either
    • Outcome of the Ellsworth Case
      • In the matter of Justin M.
      • Ellsworth, Deceased,
      • No. 2005-296,651-DE
      • (Oakland Co., Mich., Prob. Ct.)
      • Yahoo! was ordered
      • to provide the family of
      • Justin Ellsworth with
      • soft copies of all email
      • sent to and from his
      • email account
      Question of public interest?
    • Steps to Take to Avoid Litigation
      • For service providers:
      • Let subscribers
      • indicate their
      • preference when
      • they sign up
      • for the service
    • Steps to Take to Avoid Litigation
      • For end users:
      • Write a letter
      • to your executor
      • Set up a trust
      • Put list of passwords in safe deposit box
      • Specify in the will
      • the person you
      • want your email ownership to be transferred to
      • Entrust passwords to
      • people you trust
    • Conclusion
      • Web service providers
      • now offer more storage
      • capacity
      What have your clients been asking you to do? What have you decided to do? ? ? ? A need to clarify the law in this area
    • The End
      • Thank you!