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ma­chine at home or added to your col­lec­tion in cloud stor­age?

Dig­i­tal as­sets – or your dig­i­tal es­tate – as op­posed to phys­i­cal as­sets or phys­i­cal es­tate are to­tally de­pen­dent on pass­words, dig­i­tal con­tracts, dig­i­tal re­ceipts, images and other vi­tal data.

Our li­braries can’t be packed up into boxes and handed down the fam­ily tree any more.

With the tightly con­trolled model of Dig­i­tal Rights Man­aged ( DRM) files which of­ten in­di­cate that even copy­ing an mp3 track you have pur­chased for your own li­brary is il­le­gal, our rights are only spec­i­fied in the fine print.

To­day, me­dia com­pa­nies are in­creas­ingly tend­ing to­wards the per­spec­tive that you can pur­chase the right to use what you buy, but the data re­mains the prop­erty of the prod­uct ser­vice provider such as like Google, Ap­ple or Ama­zon for ex­am­ple.

When you buy a song, al­bum, ebook or film from itunes or Ama­zon, it is im­por­tant to know what you’re re­ally pay­ing for – whether you are pur­chas­ing a prod­uct or sim­ply rent­ing a li­cence.

It is easy enough to pass on a piece of hard­ware such as a com­puter, ipod or Kin­dle, which will al­ready have files down­loaded on to it.

But if the de­vice needs up­dat­ing by log­ging in to an ac­count, the new owner may face los­ing ev­ery­thing.

Pass­ing on your pass­words to your sur­vivors may re­solve this prob­lem, ex­cept that pass­ing on your pass­words is also a breach of the terms of con­tract.

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