Clone Sues Government Over Data Ghost's Estate

Burroughs, Barsoom, Mars -- 25 Mar. 2057:  Hot on the heels of the landmark Vanbreezenbrock decision comes a new case with enormous potential implications for the young field of upload estate law.  Amatala Mattacharian, the genetic offspring of hedge fund manager Leroy Mitchell, has filed suit in State Civil Court this day to claim the estate of eir donor's data ghost.

Leroy Mitchell, the biological primal human, died in August of 2030 in a climbing accident in Olympus Mons Wildlife Preserve.  He was survived by his integrated imprint, who chose to continue living under the name Leroy Mitchell rather than take a neonym and inherited Mr. Mitchell's already considerable fortune.  Vr. Mitchell then went on to amass even greater wealth, combining the newly acquired ability of an independent uploaded consciousness to engage in dedicated high-frequency trading with the finely-honed instincts of 3 decades in the stock market.  In June of 2037, Vr. Mitchell used cryopreserved tissue from Mr. Mitchell's body to create a clone of his progenitor, genetically modified into a hypercortical redact.  In December of 2051, the child achieved full legal personhood by passing the Deckard-Bowman Sapience Examination, taking the neonym Amatala Mattacharian and beginning a career in quantum gravity physics at Rubix University.  Though Mre. Mattacharian and Vr. Mitchell reportedly remained in regular and cordial contact, they had no further financial relationship of any kind.

Then, in September of 2056, Vr. Mitchell's runtime and backup copies were both irretrievably corrupted by an outbreak of weaponized Klez431 virus.  This is where the story gets unusual:  Vr. Mitchell died intestate.  Because it is a fairly rare occurrence, the complete destruction of a virtual consciousness and the subsequent disposal of their estate is not a situation with a great deal of legal precedent.  There are of course well-established laws permitting genetic offspring and clones conceived after the death of the progenitor to inherit provided that the chain of inheritance proceeds through a legal parental entity and the conception of the offspring occurs less than 5 years after the progenitor's death; but in this case, neither condition applies.  Vr. Mitchell never legally adopted Mre. Mattacharian as his own child.  There is no provision in Alliance law for consciousness uploads to be considered 'natural parents' of biological entities in the same way that blood relations are.  Mre. Mattacharian was raised by a professional parent; Vr. Mitchell spent considerable time with the developing child, but not a sufficient amount to have been considered a de facto parent under Barsoom district laws, which specify equal time shared between all individual acting as 'parent entities' in absence of direct blood or consciousness relations.

Finally, Barsoom district estate bylaws state that if any citizen dies intestate and with no legal spouse, offspring, blood relations within two degrees, consciousness copy, or other default inheritor, the full estate reverts to the government.  And, due to the size of the estate in question which is valued at over 4000 credits, the district is apparently quite eager to expedite the transfer of titles and funds into their own coffers.  There's only one problem: Amatala Mattacharian, who believes that Vr. Mitchell's fortune rightfully belongs to em.

In a statement released on the hyperlayer by Mre. Mattacharian's council, e states that "Leroy Mitchell was my father.  No, I did not spend 50% of my time being raised by him.  But this would never even be a factor if the flesh and blood of Leroy Mitchell, the man whose DNA is in my every cell, the man whose every memory and personality trait belonged to the person who raised me, had not died before I was born.  I called him 'father' when we spoke, and he called me 'my child'.  I think of him even now as my father.  All that was his is now rightfully mine; he was a man of the old school, and it is what he would have wanted, this I know.  It is no less than rank opportunism for these vultures to attempt to take it from me."

The Barsoom District Attorney's office has chosen not to comment on this case.

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