October 25, 2021

Rapid growths in technology can catalyze changes to the law. But what happens when that growth outpaces legal developments?

In this paper, Justin de Vries and Tyler Lin examine the disruptive effects that recent breakthroughs in technology has had on the field of estate litigation. Part I of this paper covers the arrival of the age of digital assets. Specifically, both currency-based digital assets and platform-based digital assets and the problem of access and discovery are dealt with.

Part II of this paper covers both endorsement rights of the “living”, i.e., synthespians, mixed-media virtual influencers, and reputational rights of the “deceased”, i.e., resurrected celebrities. There is also a discussion of Ontario’s common law tort of misappropriation of personality rights.

Lastly, Part III of this paper unpacks three guiding principles for proactive regulators seeking to stay ahead of technological innovations. We then suggest how these principles might be implemented to regulate estate litigation in the future.

This paper was published at the Law Society of Ontario’s 24th annual Estates and Trusts Summit (day one): Litigating Intangible Rights: Reputation Digital Assets and Endorsement Rights of Infuencers