I’ve got some recent experience to share having donated a valuable Jazz collection to Stanford University Library (Braun Music Archive). Both artifacts and a much larger digital collection of audio and graphic images.
The professional appraisal is the document which establishes value of the gift for the IRS and no one else.
The reputable appraiser I worked with made his valuation almost completely on market value — despite unique aspects and a noteworthy archival value.
The fact that the collection was well indexed in a format compatible with the Stanford system was a plus — both for monetary value and actual usefulness to the institutions from the standpoint of the donee.
One can lobby the appraiser but in the end they will apply professional standards.
It’s my personal contention that the IRS has no incentive nor resources these days to look below the appraiser’s top line valuation. Barring obvious fraud or collusion.
Lastly be aware that tax benefits from such “in-kind” donations (neither cash, stock nor real property) cannot all be deducted first year. Only around 30%. But deductible remainder does remain available for five years. Consult your CPA. YMMV.
Feel free to query further on or off list.
> On Jul 6, 2019, at 12:43 PM, David MacFadyen <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Thanks very much!
> a. We're dealing entirely with recordings from Russia/Eastern Europe here––primarily amateur/underground/experimental in nature. They were, therefore, never on sale, and offered freely for distribution online in the past or given to me by the artists themselves. Not sure if that changes anything.
> The average life of a webpage in Russia/China is 70-75 days (in the West it's 90-ish), so this material is simultaneously/theoretically "everywhere" online, yet three months later it could vanish and be nowhere at all. I see arguments, therefore, both in favor of the works' ubiquity and their rarity. It depends how soon one goes looking after the release date!
> Q#1. Can one apply First Sale Doctrine to stuff that was never sold?
> Q#2. The upshot, if I understand correctly, is that digital collections cannot be assigned a monetary value when offered to libraries and/or museums?
> b. Independent evaluation has already been done, but yes––I agree that the value of any such research always depends upon its reception by the IRS. They, as the singular audience, decide on the validity of any amount. An evaluation is an educated guess.
> Additional factors to consider in that same process of assessment are the worth of the collection as a *whole*, its intellectual merit, archival promise, quality of metadata, likelihood of public usage, etc.
> c. Your Canadian example is very helpful. A free-to-use artifact has no first sale. And is therefore exempt from copyright, which brings us back to my Question #1 above. But doesn't copyright endure, *irrespective* of an artifact's place inside or outside the market?
> I'm very grateful for your expert opinion here.