Oklahoma law aims to give control of social network profiles to people's will executors

A law that took effect Nov. 1 in Oklahoma aims to give control of social networking profiles belonging to dead people to the executor or administrator of the estate. Experts say the law could prove ineffective, but will get people thinking about what will be online after they die.
BY MICHAEL KIMBALL mkimball@opubco.com Published: November 28, 2010
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Kiesel acknowledged the law may conflict with service agreements, but said the law was intended to get people thinking about the permanence of what appears on Facebook and other websites.

“We're not just leaving a couple of shoeboxes full of mementos behind,” Kiesel said. “We're leaving behind potentially thousands of photographs and all kinds of aspects of our lives online.”

Lackey's colleague at Mayer Brown, Los Angeles-based attorney John Nadolenco, said the law and any like it could ultimately face a challenge in a courtroom, and then again in appeals courts. And deep-pocketed social networking companies could have a stake in the fight, especially because social networking information or data could be monetized, particularly in the case of deceased celebrities.

“Certainly the information has value,” Nadolenco said. “The advertising market proves it. The site might think ... it's not for the user to transfer it to their estate, to some beneficiary, (or) to the executor to use thereafter.”



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