Roon and Succession

I recently had a discussion with a Roon user about how his Estate might deal with his Roon licence and digital music collection after his death. I thought there was a lot in it that might be relevant and of assistance to other users, as well as some areas where further development by Roon could be desirable.

I set out below my understanding of various issues. Nothing I say in this post should be taken as legal advice. I am not acting as a lawyer for anyone in relation to these matters and before relying on anything in a serious way you should obtain your own advice.

Dealing firstly with Roon licences the licence terms are set out here (Terms). The Terms do not provide for the licence to terminate upon death, but obviously a lifetime licence will do so. I understand that means that the remaining term of a periodic licence, whether monthly or annually, will continue under the control of an executor.

The Terms provide that a Roon licence cannot be sold or transferred. The EU Oracle case permitting secondary sales is limited to software with an indeterminate term. Roon licences are limited in time. Accordingly a Roon licence is not an asset in the administration of the Estate and cannot be left to a beneficiary in a will.

The rights surrounding a digital music collection will depend upon local copyright legislation and the terms attaching to any digital downloads. In Australia we can rip CDs as a backup for private use, but we cannot sell those backups. I will assume for the balance of this post that a digital music collection cannot be sold or transferred and so does not form an asset in the Estate. I would be interested to hear from anyone who believes their collection may be transferrable.

Given the above, the main interest that Roon users might have in succession issues is transferring of information within a Roon Core to a surviving family member with their own Roon licence.

That information might include:

  • playlists, tags, history and favourites stored in a Roon profile; or
  • metadata edits made in Roon.

Profiles are intended to be used by members of a single household, so it is quite possible that people would have an interest in transferring them to their own accounts when the licence holder dies.

Roon’s primary purpose is not metadata curation. It is intended to automatically scrape metadata from various sources, including file tags, and present it to the user without effort on the part of the user. It is possible to edit some metadata in Roon and to tell it to prefer the edits, but anyone intending to seriously curate a musical collection would be better placed relying on file tags rather than edits to Roon metadata.

Nevertheless, there are people who have spent many hours curating metadata in Roon and you could expect them to hope that they could pass on the benefit of such edits to any family member who inherits their musical collection.

The problem is that SFAIK it is not possible to transfer any of the above information to a new Roon licence. Cores are tied to accounts and cannot be transferred between them or merged with another account.

How do you feel about your collection ? Is there anything in it that you would want to transfer to family members upon your death ? Does your household use Profiles as envisaged by the developers ? What would you want to see Roon do as regards that information ?

Personally I don’t feel there is anything in my Roon Core that I would want or need my daughters to have. They aren’t particularly interested in Roon, but the youngest is interested in music and audio and I expect she would be interested in my gear and collection after my death.

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I think there is nothing more valuable than collecting it. It can be beautiful thoughts (texts, books) or songs (albums). The form of collecting can be physical or immaterial. The personal value is high when I prefer one form or another. Worthless is everything I do not do. There purchase or rent plays no role. The CD in my hand (with music, purchase program), the LP on my record player (for digitalization or cult care), the download on my computer (software release xyz, music.ogg, music.mp3, music.aac, music.flac, HiRes or not) pleases or is not good enough to stay.

Everything fades away with my earthly existence and nobody can re-read my books like I do, listen to my music again, love and support my artists, software developers…

Life happiness is not for sale, but with a little income, donations or support we are all happier.

Do not think about what you own, look who you are, naked in all humanity and not dressed up great!

Roon is a good building block for life happiness when it works, but life goes without Roon. A license for a healthy and long life has more value.

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It’s an interesting one. You’re absolutely right that digital collections cannot be bequeathed in a will, at least not here in the UK. However physical media can be bequeathed. In other words, if I have (and I do have) an external SSD filled with downloaded albums, I can bequeath this physical SSD.

The real question is does the recipient of the said SSD have the right to play the contents, or even to own the contents? In my case it’s immaterial as all of my children have publicly declared that my taste in music is s**t! My collection shall go to the grave with me. God help the poor bugger who has to dispose of my CDs!!!

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So much consumer software is licensed on a per household basis. If that were not the case, ever allowing a spouse, partner, child, or other household member to use your personal computer, tablet, or smartphone with numerous licensed software installed would constitute a terms of service violation, readily enforceable or not.

That household construct is what I think is most relevant to Roon, digital media, and succession. As long as the household continues, it should be able to continue to use a Roon lifetime license as well as any legally acquired digital media.

Set aside for the moment the question of an end of life parent bequeathing software or digital media. Instead, consider for example the untimely death of a spouse or other legally related partner. The household soldiers on. The whole household has used a Roon lifetime license for several years and would like to continue to do so. The household quite likely has inherited the e-mail and financial accounts used to establish that Roon lifetime license.

Roon would have little recourse in the above scenario to terminate the lifetime license or require transition to subscription payments. Similar would hold for digital media. The deceased member may have been the one who purchased the digital media in question, but the entire household has had access to it. And both practically and legally speaking, copyright holders and the courts would seem unlikely to view the situation any differently.

AJ

There was a post on that very subject recently I think, but can’t find it now. Given the age profile of Roon users I was surprised that it was the first one I had seen in 5 years using Roon. It does seem rather harsh in such circumstances for Roon to terminate the license due to the death of a spouse/partner that holds the license. But a licence isn’t transferable so what would actually happen in such circumstances?

In which case, the valuation of the asset would be the value of the physical media, not the contents.

The question which sparked Andybob’s question. At the meeting we discussed this, the general consensus is that

  1. How is Roon ever to know, unless told, that the account holder had passed. The heirs can continue with the ongoing account email or request an account email change.

  2. Even, if Roon did know, would it action the information. The thought was probably not. But, it might have to to prevent precedence.

  3. How does Roon treat lifetime’s given as a present. What if I give lifetime to a spouse? How do I do it? Or to a child? How does Andybob buy lifetime as a present for his music loving daughter? And, is the license HIS lifetime or HERS? Or, does he have to give her cash and let her buy it?

Suppose my stereo showroom buys a license to demo equipment? Lifetime of the business?

I am not sure where the connection between ''lifetime" and an individual’s life has come from. It is usual practice that a lifetime or perpetual licence relates to the life of the product not the person that purchased it. For the reasons mentioned, enforcing the termination upon the purchasers demise is pretty much impossible.

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I have not read in detail the Roon terms of service. Per my understanding, though, “lifetime” is defined to be that of the subscriber or that of the company/product – whichever ends first.

AJ

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They can define it as the lifetime of the universe if they wished, doesn’t make it enforceable!

https://portal.dnb.de/opac.htm?method=simpleSearch&cqlMode=true&query=idn%3D981716466

There are many standard works that deal with this subject. German accounting according to the German Commercial Code (HGB), international accounting IAS and American accounting US-GAAP have subtle differences.

There is agreement on lifetime software licenses. As an intangible asset, they belong to fixed assets and remain on the balance sheet indefinitely without being amortized. This asset is not lost even in the event of a sale, merger or split-up. It remains on a balance sheet as long as it is used. If WIMP had acquired a Roon license and was operating as Tidal today, it would continue to be valid.

As a private individual, you have the rights granted to you by the supreme court or state law. Here applies:

…The Federal Court of Justice has ruled on the inheritability of user ontracts with social networks that the inheritance law of the German Civil Code also applies without restriction to the digital estate. also applies without restriction to the digital estate. According to this ruling, the heir is also fully placed in the position of the estate, the heir assumes the position of the testator in full…

Certainly, there is more to the digital legacy than a few word posts, but when we get to the point where it becomes relevant, we are dealing with a decline in culture and humanity.

These links certainly exist in all languages and countries with specific regulations. If Roon has a lot of money left over, you could pay a lot of lawyers too.

What a nonsense!

In case of a multi-room solution and several profiles that may be set up in the same household/company network, a so-called implied act arises already without a special contractual condition, which means: Roon accepts even before the demise of a person that company/household members in the same network share it. The end of the road is at 6 zones. Practically, it is used until an account is abandoned. If someone wants to use it with new EMail, Roon looks very closely.

Years ago an individual would say leave his record collection to a family member or mate if they showed an interest in it, that seems reasonable to me, you are allowed to sell records on so gifting must also be ok.

Now for me I buy digital music online from legal suppliers and obviously have to store the music, I see no reason why I cannot treat these assets ‘similarly as the old lp’s and leave them to a family member etc. it’s my asset, I bought it and can move it on as I see fit.

Maybe a solution might be acquired the Roon Lifetime subscription through an entity instead of an individual, let’s say a company formed by me and my wife. At the time of my death, my rights over, for example, 50% of the company, will be transfer to my wife and kids, as the rest of my assets, but there will be no change in the subscriber.

Sadly, I did not think about that when subscribed :man_facepalming:t2:

Best

When I die, my wife will inherit everything I own. Although she doesn’t know anything about Roon and probably couldn’t care less, if she cranks it up using my email address, I doubt anyone from Roon is going to come knocking on the door.

According to the law in many locations, a marriage already amounts to a corporation with two 50 percent shareholders. No other business incorporation necessary. In such case, if a Roon lifetime subscription were purchased during the marriage, it would become community property of the marriage “corporation.” Of course, that also could have ramifications in the event of divorce.

AJ

Your rights regarding downloaded digital music will be set out in the terms of the store. In the case of Qobuz clause 20.1.3 of their GCU says:

The playing, transfer and burning of downloaded music files are free and unlimited, and subject to strictly private use.

The conditions of use (downloading, number of copies authorized to be burnt, number of transfer possible, etc.) are governed contractually between XANDRIE SA and the entitled parties. They are mandatory and are specified to the Customer at the time of use. They can be modified by contract and apply as soon as they are signed.

Note that there is a distinction between ‘imported’ files that enable offline access for streaming customers and ‘downloaded’ files that are purchased.

Next time I purchase a download I’ll look at the conditions of use and see if they say anything about death.

I haven’t found a definition of lifetime for Roon licences but, since it makes no sense to talk about the lifetime of a corporation with perpetual succession, I would expect it to mean the lifetime of the natural person communicating with Roon to acquire the licence.

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Can you give an example ?

What example do you need? The gist is that legal marriage is similar to legal incorporation.

AJ

I understand you to be saying there are places where marriage creates a new legal personality. That is not the case in Australia, NZ, Canada, UK, Ireland or USA.

If there are jurisdictions where that occurs I’d be interested to know.

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I disagree with that assessment as it pertains to much of the US. If a marriage can function as a single entity by accruing community property and debt, then that is akin to a corporation for my interpretation.

AJ