Unowned property refers to tangible, physical things which are capable of being reduced to being property owned by an individual, but are not owned by anyone. Nearly every piece of land on the Earth is property and has a maintainer (owner). The class of objects, "unowned things", are objects which are not yet property; either because it has been agreed by sovereign nations that no one can own them, or because no person, or other entity, has made a claim of ownership.
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.
The most common unowned things are asteroids. The UN's Outer Space Treaty does not address the issue of private ownership of natural objects in space. All asteroids remain unowned things until some person or entity makes a claim of property right to one of them.
Asteroids are minor planets, especially of the inner Solar System. Larger asteroids have also been called planetoids. These terms have historically been applied to any astronomical object orbiting the Sun that did not resemble a planet-like disc and was not observed to have characteristics of an active comet such as a tail. As minor planets in the outer Solar System were discovered they were typically found to have volatile-rich surfaces similar to comets. As a result, they were often distinguished from objects found in the main asteroid belt. In this article, the term "asteroid" refers to the minor planets of the inner Solar System including those co-orbital with Jupiter.
The Outer Space Treaty, formally the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, is a treaty that forms the basis of international space law. The treaty was opened for signature in the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union on 27 January 1967, and entered into force on 10 October 1967. As of February 2019, 108 countries are parties to the treaty, while another 23 have signed the treaty but have not completed ratification. In addition, Taiwan, which is currently recognized by 16 UN member states, ratified the treaty prior to the United Nations General Assembly's vote to transfer China's seat to the People's Republic of China (PRC) in 1971. The Outer Space Treaty does not ban military activities within space or the weaponization of space, with the exception of the placement of weapons of mass destruction in space.
In an experimental legal case of first impression, a lawsuit for a declaratory judgment was filed in a United States Federal Court to determine the lawful owner of Asteroid 433 Eros. 433 Eros was claimed as property by Gregory W. Nemitz of Orbital Development. According to the homestead principle, Nemitz argued that he had the right to claim ownership of any celestial body that he made use of; he claimed he had designated Eros a spacecraft parking facility and wished to charge NASA a parking and storage fee of twenty cents per year for its NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft that is permanently stored there. Nemitz's case was dismissed due to lack of standing and an appeal denied.
A declaratory judgment, also called a declaration, is the legal determination of a court that resolves legal uncertainty for the litigants. It is a form of legally binding preventive adjudication by which a party involved in an actual or possible legal matter can ask a court to conclusively rule on and affirm the rights, duties, or obligations of one or more parties in a civil dispute. The declaratory judgment is generally considered a statutory remedy and not an equitable remedy in the United States, and is thus not subject to equitable requirements, though there are analogies that can be found in the remedies granted by courts of equity. A declaratory judgment does not by itself order any action by a party, or imply damages or an injunction, although it may be accompanied by one or more other remedies.
Eros, provisional designation 1898 DQ, is a stony and elongated asteroid of the Amor group and the first discovered and second-largest near-Earth object with a mean-diameter of approximately 16.8 kilometers. Visited by the NEAR Shoemaker space probe in 1998, it became the first asteroid ever studied from orbit.
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 however 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.
Ferae naturae is a Latin legal term referring to wild animals, in contrast to domitae naturae (domestic animals).
Latin is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. The Latin alphabet is derived from the Etruscan and Greek alphabets and ultimately from the Phoenician alphabet.
In property law, ferae naturae residing on unowned real property are not predisposed to one party or another in regards to possession.
Property law is the area of law that governs the various forms of ownership and tenancy in real property and in personal property, within the common law legal system. In the civil law system, there is a division between movable and immovable property. Movable property roughly corresponds to personal property, while immovable property corresponds to real estate or real property, and the associated rights, and obligations thereon.
In English common law, real property, real estate, realty, or immovable property is land which is the property of some person and all structures integrated with or affixed to the land, including crops, buildings, machinery, wells, dams, ponds, mines, canals, and roads, among other things. The term is historic, arising from the now-discontinued form of action, which distinguished between real property disputes and personal property disputes. Personal property was, and continues to be, all property that is not real property.
See: Pierson v. Post (3 Cai. R. 175, 2 Am. Dec. 264) (Supreme Court of New York 1805)
Pierson v. Post is an early American legal case from the State of New York that later became a foundational case in the field of property law. Decided in 1805, the case involved an incident that took place in 1802 at an uninhabited beach near Southampton, New York. Lodowick Post, a local resident, was out with a hunting party when his hunting dogs caught the scent of a fox and began pursuing it. As they drew near the fox, Jesse Pierson, another local resident, saw the fox—though he denied seeing Post and his party—and promptly killed it and carried it off for himself. Post filed a lawsuit against Pierson claiming that because he had already begun pursuing the fox, the property of the fox's pelt and carcass were rightfully his, not Pierson's. The local justice ruled in favor of Post. Pierson appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court of New York, who reversed the justice's decision and ruled in favor of Pierson.
In the event that the animals are on a private entity's estate, the owner of the estate, if pursuing or attempting to apprehend ferae naturae is likely to be deemed, by the court, the rightful possessor to the title of the animal.
See: Keeble v Hickeringill , 11 East 574, 103 Eng. Rep. 1127 OR 3 Salk. 9 (as Keeble v Hickeringhall) Queen's Bench, 1707
In law, possession is the control a person's intentional exercises toward a thing. In all cases, to possess something, a person must have an intention to possess it. A person may be in possession of some property. Like ownership, the possession of anything is commonly regulated by country under property law.
The Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous – Shoemaker, renamed after its 1996 launch in honor of planetary scientist Eugene Shoemaker, was a robotic space probe designed by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory for NASA to study the near-Earth asteroid Eros from close orbit over a period of a year. The mission succeeded in closing in with the asteroid and orbited it several times, finally terminating by touching down on the asteroid on 12 February 2001.
Ownership is the state or fact of exclusive rights and control over property, which may be an object, land/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.
A condominium, often shortened to condo, in the United States and in most Canadian provinces, is a type of living space similar to an apartment but independently sellable and therefore regarded as real estate. The condominium building structure is divided into several units that are each separately owned, surrounded by common areas that are jointly owned. Similar concepts in other English-speaking countries include strata title in Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, and the Canadian province of British Columbia; commonhold in the United Kingdom; and sectional title in South Africa.
Finders, keepers is an English adage with the premise that when something is unowned or abandoned, whoever finds it first can claim it. This idiom relates to an ancient Roman law of similar meaning and has been expressed in various ways over the centuries. Of particular difficulty is how best to define when exactly something is unowned or abandoned, which can lead to legal or ethical disputes.
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.
Res nullius is a Latin term derived from private Roman law whereby res is not yet the object of rights of any specific subject. Such items are considered ownerless property and are free to be acquired by means of occupatio.
Extraterrestrial real estate refers to claims of land ownership on other planets or natural satellites or parts of space by certain organizations, individuals, and scam artists. Such claims are not recognized by any authority, and have no legal standing. Nevertheless, some private individuals and organizations have claimed ownership of celestial bodies, such as the Moon, and are actively involved in "selling" parts of them through certificates of ownership termed "Lunar deeds", "Martian deeds" or similar.
Chose is a term used in common law tradition to refer to rights in property, specifically a combined bundle of rights. A chose describes the enforcement right which a party possesses in an object. The use of Chose extends from the English use of French within the courts. In English and commonwealth law, all personal things fall into one of two categories, either choses in action or choses in possession. English law uses a chose to refer to a bundle of rights, traditionally relating to property which may be utilised in certain circumstances. Thus, a Chose in action refers to a bundle of personal rights which can only be enforced or claimed by a chose-holder bringing an action through the court to enforce the action. In English law, this category is enormously wide. This is contrasted with a Chose in Possession which represents rights which can be enforced or acquired by taking physical possession of the chose. This may be, for example a legal mortgage. Both choses in possession and choses in action create separate proprietary interests. What differs between each is the method in which each chose may be enforced. This is dependent on the possessory nature of the reference object.
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.
The term animus revertendi is a Latin phrase that means "With intention to return".
Estray, in law, is any domestic animal found wandering at large or lost, particularly if the owner is unknown. In most cases this includes domesticated animals and not pets.
English property law refers to the law of acquisition, sharing and protection of valuable assets in England and Wales. While part of the United Kingdom, many elements of Scots property law are different. In England, property law encompasses four main topics:
In S v Fernandez, an important case in South African criminal law, heard on February 17, 1966, the court held that the appellant had been negligent in mending a cage from which a baboon had subsequently escaped, which subsequently bit a child, who subsequently died. The appellant must have foreseen the likelihood of an attack in the event of the baboon's escaping; he was, the court held, therefore rightly convicted of culpable homicide. The case was an appeal from a decision in the Transvaal Provincial Division by Galgut J and Clayden J, who had dismissed an appeal from a conviction in a magistrate's court.
The commodity status of animals refers to the legal status as property of most non-human animals, particularly farmed animals, working animals and animals in sport, and their use as objects of trade. In the United States, Free-roaming animals are (broadly) held in trust by the state; only if captured can be claimed as personal property.
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