Bruce Willis to take on Apple over iTunes inheritance [updated]

It may not be enough for the plot of the next "Die Hard" movie, but actor Bruce Willis' move to take on Apple over music rights could make him a hero to millions of iTunes users worldwide...if it's true.

A view of the new iPod Shuffle lineup on the show floor at Apple's 2010 music and video event. Donald Bell/CNET

Updated 3:40 p.m ET.

Reports that veteran Hollywood actor Bruce Willis is reportedly looking to take on Apple in a bid to pass on his vast music collection to his children after his death have been disputed. The claims, which were originally reported by The Daily Mail have been debunked by Willis' wife via Twitter.

Emma Hemming has taken to Twitter to pour cold water on the claims made by British media earlier today that her husband Bruce Willis was considering legal action against Apple over the rights to his iTunes account after his death. She said in a tweet that the report made by the Daily Mail is "not a true story."

The "Die Hard" star, in between escaping from terrorist captors and blowing things up, has spent thousands on his iTunes collection across a number of iPods and wants to leave it to his children in the event of his death.

Willis was reportedly concerned that the rights to his music collection will be passed back to Apple, entitling his children to nothing. It may have been falsely reported that the actor was looking to set up trusts to act as legal "holders" of the music.

When you download a music track from the iTunes Store, you are in effect renting that content indefinitely under license . It's not just Apple, however. Retail giant Amazon applies similar terms to its music and e-book store offerings .

It's worthy to note that Willis has not commented on the reports and Hemming's account is not verified by Twitter.

Although the reports may be untrue, the topic of post-mortem music and movie rights is thought-provoking and important as more intellectual property is purchased and stored online.

Forbes contributor Tim Worstall points out that "few of us have any significant portion of our wealth tied up in such digital goods. But it's obviously going to be something that looms larger in years to come. And I have a feeling that we're going to need some legal clarification on who really does own what after someone's death."

Apple did not respond for comment at the time of writing.

This post was updated to reflect that the claims have been disputed by Emma Heming-Willis' Twitter account.

 

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