Property Boundaries

With all the talk about property as a “right” and not a “thing”, it is easy to forget that rights often relate to tangible physical objects, and that spatial issues are extremely important.

At the same time, there’s a legal line drawn between property rights to tangible and intangible resources. This lesson explores both types of boundaries that divide one owner’s rights from another’s.

First we’ll deal with real property boundaries on the vertical plane. Read pages 175-198. The cases in this section of the chapter are used to reinforce the usefulness of an economic analysis of law.

Then we’re going to talk about lateral boundaries, covering the materials on pages 201-224.

After covering the 3 dimensions of the boundaries of land, we’ll cover the boundaries between different kinds of property, in particular real and personal property. This is the law of fixtures, covered through readings on pages 224-233, which deals with the legal distinctions between things attached to land (fixtures) and things not attached to land (chattels). That’s only 9 pages, but read them carefully because we’ll put your understanding into practice during class. Come prepared to apply the readings.

Then we’ll start to tackle intellectual property rights. Here we begin to get into the lines that divide ownership of tangible vs. intangible resources. Please read the materials on pages 252-271, covering copyrights and patents.

Trade-marks is a topic we’ll leave for the next day, when we’ll also deal with the issue of cyber-squatting and cyber-trespass. Those materials can be found at pages 272-291 of your casebook.

Next lesson we move away from boundaries to talk about the law of possession. With baseball playoffs in full swing, the timing couldn’t be better. You’ll see why soon.