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.

 OriginUseDivisionTransferTermination
LANDoccupancy;
conquest;
homesteading systems
trespass;
nuisance;
light & support;
zoning;
anti-discrimination rules
estate system;
future interests;
servitudes;
landlord/tenant law;
marital property
conveyance;
inheritance;
adverse possession;
eminent domain
forfeiture;
change of conditions;
rule against perpetuities
OBJECTSmanufacturetort law; art-preservation lawsmarital propertysale; gift; inheritance;
finders
forfeiture
WATERriparian rights;
prior appropriation;
purification
reasonable uses;
beneficial uses
alienability restrictions;
watershed restrictions
cessation of beneficial use
ANIMALS (wild; domestic)capture; custom; tribal rights; permits; quotas; offspringanimal welfare rulesalienability of permits and quotas
PEOPLEwar; race; criminal punishmentrestrictions on treatment -- homicide, assault, rape, food, housingslave leasesconveyance; inheritance; foreclosuremanumission;
emancipation
INNOVATIONS (art; science; technology)originality; novelty; inventive step; utility;
formalities
exclusive rights vs. exceptions & limitationsleases; joint authorshipassignments; work-for-hire; creative commons"limited times"; termination rules
INFORMATION (e.g., traditional knowledge; medical information)possession; discovery; surveillance; medical treatmentpermissibility of commerce; health research; employment; insurance; politicsterms of service; inalienability; corporate acquisitions
ENERGY (oil, light, wind)national vs. tribal vs. private rights; capture vs. correlative rightsenvironmental lawoil & gas leases;
severance;
subsurface supremacy
Mill Acts;
Solar Easement Statutes
reversion

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

Syllabi

Modules