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Allman Brothers Band Legend Dies at Sarasota Home: Passing on Intellectual Property


Dickey Betts, a driving force behind the iconic Allman Brothers Band that is known for launching the Southern rock movement, died Thursday, April 18, at his home in Florida near Little Sarasota Bay. Mr. Betts led the iconic 1970s band in its later periods, and wrote and sang what is perhaps one of the band’s most well-known hits; “Ramblin’ Man.” The band holds a legendary status – and for good reason. In its hey-day they achieved such feats as a co-headed a concert with The Grateful Dead with over 600,000 attendees. And the group’s signature songwriting and guitar-harmonizing style went on to influence several other bands, to include Lynyrd Skynyrd.

The music legend is survived by many local family members and friends, including his wife of 30+ years. The band’s album, “Brothers and Sisters” is lauded today by many as “the album that defined the 70s.”

Passing on Intellectual Property

At the time of this writing, no last will and testament for Mr. Betts has yet been released publicly. However, it would not be surprising if Mr. Betts had built an estate plan that passes on what intellectual property ownership and rights he may have had in his music.

  • What is Intellectual Property?

“Intellectual Property” is a legal term, and it refers to ownership over a product of the mind. This can include items such as rights in music, literature, and art, for example. Florida law views intellectual property as a form of “intangible property.” The most common ways that these intellectual properties are protected is via patents, copyrights, and trademarks.

  • Copyright

Copyrights give the creator of a work the exclusive right to use and distribute the work. Copyrights are quite common in art, tv, and music.

  • Patent

A patent gives its holder the exclusive right to make, use, or sell their registered invention for a specified period of time.

  • Trademark

A trademark is a registered and recognizable sign, design, or expression that is used to identify that products or services have come from a specific source. For example, the McDonald’s arches signify that an item is associated with McDonalds.

Is Intellectual Property Considered an Estate Asset?

Intellectual property that you own is an asset. So, it may become a part of your estate assets. If you own intellectual property rights you need to speak with an experienced attorney to help you build an estate plan that appropriately builds your estate plan to properly handle the passing on of intellectual property.

If the intellectual property is not addressed in a last will and testament or placed in trust, the rights that are seen as an estate asset will pass according to the laws of intestate succession. This is less than ideal, as it will likely be more costly and those who receive the rights may not know what to do with them.

Contact Suncoast Civil Law

There are many nuances and options when it comes to handling the passing on of your estate. This is particularly true when your estate may contain intellectual property rights. The esteemed Sarasota wills & probate lawyers at Suncoast Civil Law can discuss all of your options with you and help build an estate plan that stands the test of time.