March 28, 2006
Strawberry Fields . . . Forever?
In the spirit of the philosophy of the Beatles--a lovely and amusing read (which I found out about through Brian Leiter)--I wondered what Beatles lyrics might relate to property. Well, how 'bout Strawberry Fields Forever? That led me to wonder whether one might have an equitable servitude to maintain a strawberry field . . . forever? Let's see: notice, intent, and (even though it's an affirmative covenant), the burden pretty clearly touches and concerns the land. The benefit might be in gross, though--I'd like to know a little bit more about who's asking for the strawberry field. For the sake of simplifying things, let's assume that one neighbor promises for the benefit of another to maintain the field. Unlimited duration, though? Hmm. Now, that might make it an unreasonable restraint on alienation. Restatement Third § 7.12 says (in principle) that affirmative covenants of unspecified duration terminate after a reasonable times. Maybe, though, you could have neighboring owners promise to keep strawberry fields forever for each others' benefit, § 7.12(2)....
And then, of course, there's the issue of interpretation. What constitutes a "strawberry field"? It sort of calls to mind a field of strawberries. But then I think of Central Park's Strawberry Field, which is across the street from the Dakota, where Lenon was living at the time of his death. Don't think there are many strawberries planted there; it's a garden.
Ah, really would make an amusing short question on a property final one of these days....
As to property in other songs, rentals appear in a few places in Beatles songs--"When I'm Sixty-Four" and "Lady Madona." I'll leave to Paul Caron or my colleague Susan Hamill an entry on the Beatles' "Taxman.'"
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But if Lucy is in the sky above your property "with diamonds," does this constitute a form of tresspass? Maybe we should just "let it be."
Posted by: Kurt Paulsen | Mar 28, 2006 6:58:40 AM
Ah, Kurt, I love it. Yes, hadn't thought about Lucy and her personal property--or of a claim that she's trespassing. Shades of United States v. Causby!
Posted by: Alfred L. Brophy | Mar 28, 2006 11:54:03 AM