Property law, generously understood, determines how rights to resources are created, defined, enforced, and terminated. The following diagram shows some of the major sets of rules governing the principal types of resources.

 CreationTransferDivisionUseTermination
LANDoccupancy;
conquest;
homesteading systems
conveyance;
inheritance;
adverse possession;
eminent domain
estate system;
future interests;
servitudes;
landlord/tenant law;
marital property
trespass;
nuisance;
light & support;
zoning;
anti-discrimination rules
forfeiture;
change of conditions;
rule against perpetuities
OBJECTSmanufacturesale; gift; inheritance;
finders
marital propertytort law; art-preservation lawsforfeiture
WATERriparian rights;
prior appropriation;
purification
alienability restrictions;
watershed restrictions
reasonable uses;
beneficial uses
cessation of beneficial use
ENERGY (oil, light, wind)national vs. tribal vs. private rights; capture vs. correlative rightsMill Acts;
Solar Easement Statutes
oil & gas leases;
severance;
subsurface supremacy
environmental lawreversion
ANIMALS (wild; domestic)capture; custom; tribal rights; permits; quotas; offspringalienability of permits and quotasanimal welfare rules
HUMANSwar; race; criminal punishmentconveyance; inheritance; foreclosureslave leasesrestrictions on treatment -- homicide, assault, rape, food, housingmanumission;
emancipation
INNOVATIONS (art; science; technology)originality; novelty; inventive step; utility;
formalities
assignments; work-for-hire; creative commonsleases; joint authorshipexclusive rights vs. exceptions & limitations"limited times"; termination rules
INFORMATION (e.g., traditional knowledge; medical information)possession; discovery; surveillance; medical treatmentterms of service; inalienability; corporate acquisitionspermissibility of commerce; health research; employment; insurance; politics

The remaining entries on this page provide access to the materials I use to teach these topics.

Syllabi

Modules