Publicity Rights and the Estate Tax

20 Pages Posted: 24 Oct 2018

See all articles by Mitchell M. Gans

Mitchell M. Gans

Hofstra University - School of Law

Date Written: October 24, 2018


The estate tax treatment of publicity rights has played a role in the debate about the state law question whether such rights should be transferable at death. Some point to the estate tax as a reason for making publicity rights non-transferable. For if they are transferable, estate-tax inclusion could result. And, the argument goes, the estate or the beneficiaries could well be coerced into commercializing the rights in order to raise the money to pay the tax. Making them non-transferable would eliminate this possibility. This article considers some of the connections between the federal estate tax and the state law treatment of publicity rights. It concludes with a suggestion about how the tax treatment of publicity rights at a more general level.

Keywords: State tax, intellectual property, publicity rights

JEL Classification: K34, K11

Suggested Citation

Gans, Mitchell M., Publicity Rights and the Estate Tax (October 24, 2018). Columbia Journal of Law & the Arts, Vol. 42, 2018, Hofstra Univ. Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2018/16, Available at SSRN:

Mitchell M. Gans (Contact Author)

Hofstra University - School of Law ( email )

121 Hofstra University
Hempstead, NY 11549
United States
(516) 463-5876 (Phone)

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