Original appropriation

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Appropriation is a process by which previously unowned natural resources, particularly land, become the property of a person or group of persons. The term is widely used in economics in this sense. In certain cases, it proceeds under very specifically defined forms, such as driving stakes or other such markers into the land claimed, which form gave rise to the term “staking a claim.” "Squatter’s rights" are another form of appropriation, but are usually asserted against land to which ownership rights of another party have been recognized. In legal regimes recognizing such acquisition of property, the ownership of duly appropriated holdings enjoys such protections as the law provides for ownership of property in general.

Property, in the abstract, is what belongs to or with something, whether as an attribute or as a component of said thing. In the context of this article, it is one or more components, whether physical or incorporeal, of a person's estate; or so belonging to, as in being owned by, a person or jointly a group of people or a legal entity like a corporation or even a society. Depending on the nature of the property, an owner of property has the right to consume, alter, share, redefine, rent, mortgage, pawn, sell, exchange, transfer, give away or destroy it, or to exclude others from doing these things, as well as to perhaps abandon it; whereas regardless of the nature of the property, the owner thereof has the right to properly use it, or at the very least exclusively keep it.

Adverse possession, sometimes colloquially described as "squatter's rights", is a legal principle under which a person who does not have legal title to a piece of property—usually land —acquires legal ownership based on continuous possession or occupation of the land without the permission of its legal owner.

Under some systems using this method of acquiring ownership of land, it is permitted to employ violence in defending the duly appropriated holding against encroachment against the ownership or usage claims, again usually according to specifically defined forms including warnings to the encroaching party, exhaustion or unavailability of duly constituted law-enforcement resources, etc..

Libertarian and other property-rights-oriented ideologies define appropriation as requiring the “mixing” of the would-be owner's labor with the land claimed. [1] A prime example of such mixing is farming, although various extractive activities such as mining, and the grazing of herds are often recognized. Personal, physical residence is often recognized after some minimum documented continuous period of time, as is built structures on the land whose ownership has not previously been recognized by the authority whose recognition is sought.

Libertarianism is a collection of political philosophies and movements that uphold liberty as a core principle. Libertarians seek to maximize political freedom and autonomy, emphasizing freedom of choice, voluntary association and individual judgment. Libertarians share a skepticism of authority and state power, but they diverge on the scope of their opposition to existing economic and political systems. Various schools of libertarian thought offer a range of views regarding the legitimate functions of state and private power, often calling for the restriction or dissolution of coercive social institutions.

Appropriation through use can apply to resources other than the exclusive right to use of the surface of the land. As mentioned, mineral rights are recognized under various conditions, as are riparian rights. Appropriation can apply to inland waters within a certain distance of appropriated land, and even to the liquid water in a reservoir, lake, or stream. Appropriation has been applied under common law to resources as disparate as radio broadcast frequencies and Internet Web site names[ citation needed ], but many such claims have been overturned through legislated arrangements mandating other standards for the assignment of ownership rights in such things.

Internet Global system of connected computer networks

The Internet is the global system of interconnected computer networks that use the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to link devices worldwide. It is a network of networks that consists of private, public, academic, business, and government networks of local to global scope, linked by a broad array of electronic, wireless, and optical networking technologies. The Internet carries a vast range of information resources and services, such as the inter-linked hypertext documents and applications of the World Wide Web (WWW), electronic mail, telephony, and file sharing.

Appropriation as a means of acquiring property is related to the schools of thought that call for ongoing use as a condition of continued ownership, as is the case in some regimes with trademarks, but it applies to initial ownership.

See also

Eminent domain, land acquisition, compulsory purchase, resumption, resumption/compulsory acquisition (Australia), or expropriation is the power of a state, provincial, or national government to take private property for public use. However, this power can be legislatively delegated by the state to municipalities, government subdivisions, or even to private persons or corporations, when they are authorized by the legislature to exercise the functions of public character.

Homestead principle legal principle that you own unclaimed natural resources by first using them

The homestead principle is the principle by which one gains ownership of an unowned natural resource by performing an act of original appropriation. Appropriation could be enacted by putting an unowned resource to active use, joining it with previously acquired property or by marking it as owned. Proponents of intellectual property hold that ideas can also be homesteaded by originally creating a virtual or tangible representation of them. Others argue that since tangible manifestations of a single idea will be present in many places, including within the minds of people, this precludes their being owned in most or all cases. Homesteading is one of the foundations of Rothbardian anarcho-capitalism.

Nationalization, or nationalisation, is the process of transforming private assets into public assets by bringing them under the public ownership of a national government or state. Nationalization usually refers to private assets or assets owned by lower levels of government, such as municipalities, being transferred to the state. The opposites of nationalization are privatization and demutualization. When previously nationalized assets are privatized and subsequently returned to public ownership at a later stage, they are said to have undergone renationalization. Industries that are usually subject to nationalization include telephones, electric power, fossil fuels, railways, airlines, iron ore, media, postal services, banks, and water.

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Anarcho-capitalism is a political philosophy and modern school of anarchist thought that advocates the elimination of centralized state domination in favor of self-ownership, private property and free markets. Anarcho-capitalists hold that in the absence of statute, society tends to contractually self-regulate and civilize through the spontaneous and organic discipline of the free market.

Theft Act of taking anothers property without permission or consent

In common usage, theft is the taking of another person's property or services without that person's permission or consent with the intent to deprive the rightful owner of it. The word is also used as an informal shorthand term for some crimes against property, such as burglary, embezzlement, larceny, looting, robbery, shoplifting, library theft, and fraud. In some jurisdictions, theft is considered to be synonymous with larceny; in others, theft has replaced larceny. Someone who carries out an act of or makes a career of theft is known as a thief. The act of theft is also known by other terms such as stealing, thieving, and filching.

Private property legal designation of the ownership of property by non-governmental legal entities

Private property is a legal designation for the ownership of property by non-governmental legal entities. Private property is distinguishable from public property, which is owned by a state entity; and from collective property, which is owned by a group of non-governmental entities. Private property can be either personal property or capital goods. Private property is a legal concept defined and enforced by a country's political system.

Ownership is the state or fact of exclusive rights and control over property, which may be an object, land or real estate, or intellectual property. Ownership involves multiple rights, collectively referred to as title, which may be separated and held by different parties.

In property law, a title is a bundle of rights in a piece of property in which a party may own either a legal interest or equitable interest. The rights in the bundle may be separated and held by different parties. It may also refer to a formal document, such as a deed, that serves as evidence of ownership. Conveyance of the document may be required in order to transfer ownership in the property to another person. Title is distinct from possession, a right that often accompanies ownership but is not necessarily sufficient to prove it. In many cases, possession and title may each be transferred independently of the other. For real property, land registration and recording provide public notice of ownership information.

Water resources law

Water resources law is the field of law dealing with the ownership, control, and use of water as a resource. It is most closely related to property law, and is older than and distinct from laws governing water quality.

Self-ownership, also known as sovereignty of the individual or individual sovereignty, is the concept of property in one's own person, expressed as the moral or natural right of a person to have bodily integrity and be the exclusive controller of one's own body and life. Self-ownership is a central idea in several political philosophies that emphasize individualism, such as libertarianism, liberalism, and anarchism.

In common law systems, land tenure is the legal regime in which land is owned by an individual, who is said to "hold" the land. It determines who can use land, for how long and under what conditions. Tenure may be based both on official laws and policies, and on informal customs. In other words, land tenure system implies a system according to which land is held by an individual or the actual tiller of the land. It determines the owners rights and responsibilities in connection with their holding. The French verb "tenir" means "to hold" and "tenant" is the present participle of "tenir". The sovereign monarch, known as The Crown, held land in its own right. All private owners are either its tenants or sub-tenants. Tenure signifies the relationship between tenant and lord, not the relationship between tenant and land. Over history, many different forms of land ownership, i.e., ways of owning land, have been established.

Prior appropriation water rights is the legal doctrine that the first person to take a quantity of water from a water source for "beneficial use" has the right to continue to use that quantity of water for that purpose.

Water right in water law refers to the right of a user to use water from a water source, e.g., a river, stream, pond or source of groundwater. In areas with plentiful water and few users, such systems are generally not complicated or contentious. In other areas, especially arid areas where irrigation is practiced, such systems are often the source of conflict, both legal and physical. Some systems treat surface water and ground water in the same manner, while others use different principles for each.

<i>Cuius est solum, eius est usque ad coelum et ad inferos</i>

Cuius est solum, eius est usque ad coelum et ad inferos is a principle of property law, stating that property holders have rights to not only to the plot of land itself, but also the air above and the ground below. The principle is often referred to in its abbreviated form as the ad coelum doctrine.

The labor theory of property is a theory of natural law that holds that property originally comes about by the exertion of labor upon natural resources. The theory has been used to justify the homestead principle, which holds that one may gain whole permanent ownership of an unowned natural resource by performing an act of original appropriation.

Indigenous intellectual property is an umbrella legal term used in national and international forums to identify indigenous peoples' claims of collective intellectual property rights to protect specific cultural knowledge of their groups.

An easement is a nonpossessory right to use and/or enter onto the real property of another without possessing it. It is "best typified in the right of way which one landowner, A, may enjoy over the land of another, B". It is similar to real covenants and equitable servitudes; in the United States, the Restatement (Third) of Property takes steps to merge these concepts as servitudes.

Water law in the United States refers to the Water resources law laws regulating water as a resource in the United States. Beyond issues common to all jurisdictions attempting to regulate water's uses, water law in the United States must contend with:

Right of way Legal right to pass through land belonging to another

Right of way is "the legal right, established by usage or grant, to pass along a specific route through grounds or property belonging to another", or "a path or thoroughfare subject to such a right". This article is mainly about access by foot, by bicycle, horseback, or along a waterway, and Right-of-way (transportation) focusses on highways, railways, pipelines, etc. A footpath is a right of way that can only be used by pedestrians.

Lux v. Haggin, 69 Cal. 255; 10 P. 674; (1886), is a historic case in the conflict between riparian and appropriative water rights. Decided by a vote of four to three in the Supreme Court of California, the ruling held that appropriative rights were secondary to riparian rights.


  1. Rothbard, Murray N.: Man, Economy and State with Power and Market , page 169. Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2004