PropertyProf Blog

Editor: Stephen Clowney
Univ. of Kentucky College of Law

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Does Patty Salkin Ever Sleep?

I recently received a press release announcing the publication of the new five-volume American Law of Zoning from West, edited by Patty Salkin.  Given the absurd number of other publications that Patty produces, not to mention her blog The Law of the Land, I wonder whether she has reached a higher stage of human evolution that does not require sleep.

Ben Barros

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March 26, 2009 in Books, Land Use, Recent Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Hernando de Soto on the Credit Crisis

The Wall Street Journal has an op ed by Hernando de Soto on the credit crisis that will be of interest to property profs. 

Ben Barros

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March 26, 2009 in Property Theory, Real Estate Transactions | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

A Year in the Life

Thinking more about the entry-level hires today raised one question: Is there anything property-specific that isn’t covered in the literature on getting started in legal academia?  With only one year under my belt, I don't think I have a lot of insight on this topic, but there is one thing I wish I'd put more thought into; choosing a property casebook. 

Like most new property people, I adopted the Dukeminier, Krier, Alexander, & Schill textbook.  This decision turned out just peachy, but it wasn’t terribly well reasoned; I used the Dukeminier as a student, it's got some neat cases, and--as everybody told me at the AALS New Teachers’ Workshop--it has "an amazing teacher's manual." 
CIMG2273
Wrapping up a year with the Dukeminier (who taught at Kentucky) here are some thoughts (from least to most serious):

(1) First, I really miss the look and feel of the Fifth Edition.  The Fifth Edition, short and squat, had personality.  It was a textbook (with a potbelly!).  A textbook that could beat up other textbooks and eat a bratwurst at the same time.   

(2) Second, the teacher’s manual is actually pretty “meh.”  It provides nice summaries of the cases, but it’s no more comprehensive than the supplemental material that comes with the Merrill & Smith or the Freyermuth, Organ, Noble-Allgire and Winokur.  Why don’t the other (really good) teacher’s manuals get more airtime?

(3) Third, is it good for property scholarship that so many young scholars are introduced to the basic concepts through the same set of materials?  If everyone’s first thoughts about adverse possession are filtered through the lens of Van Valkenburg v. Lutz does that have long-term effects for the profession?  I've suggested elsewhere that the portrayal of holographic wills in Dukeminier's Trusts & Estates textbook has negatively impacted the academy’s perception of homemade testaments.  Are the biases of the Dukeminier property book having a similar effect?

Steve Clowney

March 26, 2009 in Teaching | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Priest from Northwestern to Yale

PropertyProf Claire Priest is moving from Northwestern to Yale.

Ben Barros

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March 25, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Penalver on Squatting at Slate

Eduardo Penalver (Cornell), an occasional guest blogger here at PropertyProf, has an interesting article at Slate on how cities should react to squatters in the current economic environment.  Some of his recommendations:

[G]overnments should attack the problem on both the supply and the demand side.  On the supply side, local governments should penalize owners who stockpile vacant housing, perhaps by imposing increased property tax rates on properties left vacant, and by moving aggressively to seize vacant properties when the owners fall behind on paying those taxes. On the demand side, governments should expand homesteading programs that permit and help low-income people to take over vacant housing—but only after it finds its way into city hands. . . .

The federal government should also move quickly to protect those in financial trouble from foreclosure and eviction by requiring foreclosing banks (many of which are themselves receiving taxpayer bailouts) to rent out foreclosed homes to their former owners at fair market value. In fact, as this letter to the editor in the New York Times Magazine on Sunday correctly observed, allowing owners to remain as renters in their foreclosed homes helps safeguard the value of the houses—which is good for the occupants, good for the banks, and good for the housing market as a whole.

Ben Barros

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March 25, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Ely on Post-Kelo Eminent Domain Reform at OUP Blog

Over at the OUP blog, James W. Ely Jr. (Vanderbilt) has a post on post-Kelo eminent domain reform.  His conclusion:

Although the state legislative response to Kelo has been decidedly mixed, several state supreme courts have struck down the exercise of eminent domain for economic development purposes by private parties. For example, the Ohio and Oklahoma supreme courts have specifically rejected the reasoning in Kelo and construed their own state constitutions to afford greater protection of property owners against eminent domain.

Supreme Court rulings sometimes have the effect of putting long-ignored issues back in the spotlight. Perhaps the most significant impact of Kelo could be heightened public recognition of the need to safeguard property rights. One result of Kelo has been to restore the rights of property owners to public debate. This development may ultimately bear more fruit.

Ben Barros

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March 25, 2009 in Takings | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Welcome to Thunderdome

Tonight I was cruising through the Legal Theory Blog’s entry-level-hiring list and was struck by the awesomeness of the incoming profs.  Wow.  Special congratulations are in order for all the new PropertyProfs who have landed jobs.  A hearty welcome to future property czars William Hubbard (Baltimore), Daniel A Lyons (Boston College), Minor Myers (Brooklyn), Joseph Blocher (Duke), Troy A. Rule (Missouri), Katherine Trisolini (Loyola LA), Celeste Pagano (Oklahoma City), and Tracie Porter (Southern Illinois) (please let me know if I missed anyone)!

Steve Clowney

March 24, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Adversely Possessing Your Blog

Longtime listener, first time caller.  Many thanks to Ben for inviting me to play on the PropertyProf sandbox.  If all goes well over the next few weeks this blogging stuff will get me fired, I'll start my own website, and then become an internet sensation/millionaire.


Steve Clowney

March 24, 2009 in About This Blog | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Guest Blogger Steve Clowney

I'm delighted that Steve Clowney of the University of Kentucky School of Law will be joining us as a guest blogger.

Welcome Steve!

Ben Barros

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March 24, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Moringiello on Virtual Worlds and Property Law

Juliet M. Moringiello (Widener) has posted What Virtual Worlds Can Do For Property Law on SSRN.  Here's the abstract:

This is an article about how disputes over virtual world items, such as virtual money, Second Life islands, and even "sex beds," can inform property law generally. Rights in these virtual world items, like rights in software and many other intangible assets, are transferred by standard-form agreements that are often designated as licenses. For many readers, virtual worlds need no definition; it has been hard to read a major newspaper in the past several years without encountering an article about virtual worlds. In the past several years, Second Life and other virtual worlds were featured in numerous articles in major American newspapers, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal.

Virtual worlds have captured the attention of legal and other scholars. The legal literature tends to focus on the application of "real world" laws to the virtual environment. Some have discussed how our property laws should apply in virtual worlds; others have questioned whether virtual worlds need their own governance institutions. In this article, I will take another approach. Rather than asking whether real world laws can or should apply to virtual worlds, I will discuss the ways in which the study of virtual worlds can contribute to real world law. Specifically, I will explain what the study of virtual world assets can do for property law.

In this paper, I argue that virtual world assets are significant because they graphically illustrate the different rights that persons can hold in an intangible asset. Once we see that intangible assets encompass the very same rights that are embodied in tangible assets, we can understand that the law should not permit the unfettered customization of property rights in intangible assets by standard form agreements, just as the law does not permit the unlimited customization of property rights in tangible assets and real property. My thesis is that a study of virtual world assets can help us understand why the numerus clausus principle should be more rigorously applied to rights in intangible assets and that the numerus clausus can, in turn, assist us interpreting the standard-form agreements that convey rights in these assets.

Ben Barros

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March 23, 2009 in Intellectual Property, Recent Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Lehavi on Global Land Law

Amnon Lehavi (Interdisciplinary Center Herzliyah - Radzyner School of Law) has posted The Global Law of the Land on SSRN.  Here's the abstract:

Are we witnessing the gradual universality of national land laws, which have traditionally been considered to be the paradigm of legal idiosyncrasy, by virtue of their reflecting place-specific society, culture, and politics? This Essay offers an innovative analysis of the conflicting forces at work in this legal field, basing itself on an historical, comparative, and theoretical study of the structures and strictures of domestic land laws and of current cross-border phenomena that dramatically affect national land systems.

The central thesis of this Essay is that, irrespective of our basic normative viewpoint regarding the opening up of domestic land laws to the forces of "globalization," we must come to terms with the particularly difficult institutional and jurisprudential constraints that are involved in undermining the local basis of land laws. Thus, in order to systematically succeed in intensifying cross-border land law rules, global and national actors need to construct more comprehensive supra-national institutions, prevent normative over-fragmentation within each legal system, and pay close attention to local-specific interplays between law, politics, economics, and culture.

Ben Barros

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March 23, 2009 in Recent Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Stern from Loyola-Chicago to Chicago Kent

PropertyProf Stephanie Stern is moving from Loyola-Chicago to Chicago Kent.

Ben Barros

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March 23, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)