American Property: A History of How, Why, and What We Own
In America, we are eager to claim ownership: our homes, our ideas, our organs, even our own celebrity. But beneath our nation’s proprietary longing looms a troublesome question: what does it mean to own something? More simply: what is property?
The question is at the heart of many contemporary controversies, including disputes over who owns everything from genetic material...more
Of course this is not supposed to be a comprehensive history of American property law. What it is is a look at some of those areas where the law of property has changed the most in the past 200 years, and what that means for our understanding of property in general.
First Banner disposes of the old saw that property was once purely based on tangible objects while now property deals mainly with intangible things. Old English landed property was in fact loaded with intangible rights, like the advow ...more
The first sentence is invoked to declare the end of the copyright, and to declare the ownership of intellectual property to be an illusion. But Brand’s statement is actually quite traditional. It is just another episode in our changing definitions of property.
Our ideas about property – about rights to ownership – have always been i ...more