Emory Bankruptcy Developments Journal

Volume 31Issue 1

#Bankruptcy: Reconsidering “Property” to Determine the Role of Social Media in the Bankruptcy Estate

Smita Gautam | 31 Emory Bankr. Dev. J. 127 (2014)

Although social media has become a staple of modern life and a regular part of business, the legal definition of social media remains undefined. State legislatures have remained silent on the topic, but as business and individual account holders find themselves seeking bankruptcy relief, it becomes clear that treatment under the Bankruptcy Code depends on definitions that do not yet exist. The question of how social media should be characterized leaves bankruptcy courts uncertain as to whether social media accounts should be included in the bankruptcy estate. While social media encompasses aspects of property, intellectual property, and other rights, this Comment argues that social media does not fit solely into any of these categories. Instead, this Comment argues for the classification of a social media account as more similar to a personal privilege than a traditional property right. This Comment concludes that state legislatures should legally define social media to foster predictability of its role in bankruptcy proceedings.

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When an Alleged Wrong Becomes a Protected Right: Casey Anthony’s Life-story and Future Book Rights Are Property of the Bankruptcy Estate

Rachel M. Neufeld | 31 Emory Bankr. Dev. J. 147 (2014)

Casey Anthony, charged with first-degree murder of her two-year-old daughter, filed a chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2013. Absent from Ms. Anthony’s list of assets are intellectual property rights in a book that she has stated she will write based on her life-story. This Comment addresses whether a life-story and future book rights should be property of the bankruptcy estate. It relies on legal arguments based on 11 U.S.C. § 541(a), copyright law, labor theory, and the right of publicity. Practical arguments based on real-world practice and public policy, such as the entry of intellectual property into the public domain and Son of Sam statutes, are also considered. After determining that Ms. Anthony’s life-story and future book rights should be considered property of the bankruptcy estate, this Comment also argues that a market-based approach to valuation is the appropriate method to be used for assessing the value of intellectual property rights of this sort.

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Avoiding the Avoid: Re-securing the Mortgage Lender Post-BFP

Sarah Trevino | 31 Emory Bankr. Dev. J. 175 (2014)

In BFP v. Resolution Trust Corp., the Supreme Court held that the consideration received at a foreclosure sale is, in itself, reasonably equivalent value and rejected a minimum threshold amount. In its attempt to clarify the law, the Court left open the option for a bankruptcy trustee to avoid a foreclosure sale based on a lack of state law compliance. First, this Comment compares the decision in BFP and its predecessors with the legislative intent behind the various fraudulent transfer acts and § 548 of the Bankruptcy Code. Second, this Comment further proposes amending the Bankruptcy Code to require a trustee seeking avoidance of a real estate transfer to show a lack of substantial compliance with state real estate foreclosure laws and to expressly exempt foreclosure sales from § 548’s reasonably equivalent value requirement. Finally, this Comment proposes needed definitions in § 101 of the Bankruptcy Code including definitions for “reasonably equivalent value” and “real estate foreclosure sale.”

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