October 13, 2011
Meat Market, Ahoy!
I'm off the AALS hiring conference. Please say hello if you're around. I'll be the guy in the corner muttering about the Rule Against Perpetuities.
Separation of Uses Strikes Again
Barrio Logan is a small, working class neighborhood that sits catty-corner to San Diego's port. For generations, the area has included both homes and the businesses that serve the port's operations. Now, a controversial rezoning plan aims to separate the uses. Predictably, it's causing an uproar:
[T]he city is finalizing a major rezoning plan that aims to separate those businesses from homes in the coming decades, as the neighborhood changes and redevelops. It will direct future industrial development to the outskirts of the neighborhood and housing in its core, setting the stage for Barrio Logan to triple its population by 2030.
But the plan could also cut the amount of industrial land in the neighborhood by as much as 50 percent. That has met fierce resistance from industrial land and business owners who say it will limit their ability to expand, provide jobs and support maritime operations.
Map of the Day
October 12, 2011
Case of the Week
This case has been brought to our attention by friend of the blog, Nahel N. Asfour (he's at the University of Vienna).
FACTS: Sky Sports owns the rights to televise soccer matches throughout England. If you're a pub owner and you want to show the matches, you've got to pay Sky a monthly subscription of around $1500. Portsmouth pub owner Karen Murphy found the charges extravagant, and paid to have a satellite installed that could pick up live feeds of the games from a Greek broadcaster. Murphy was fined a number of times for violating UK copyright laws, and she eventually took her case to court.
HOLDING: The decision held that such restrictions on the import, sale, and use of other EU member broadcasts was contrary to EU law.
SIGNIFICANCE: According to Prof. Asfour, the most interesting part of the court's argument was that they denied intellectual property rights in football matches (Para. III/A/3/a/iii). He writes, "While labor is widely regarded as justifying property rights in fruits of one's work and effort, the ECJ held that the English Football League cannot hold copyrights in the live football matches since such games cannot be classified as works. The ECJ explained that 'To be so classified, the subject-matter concerned would have to be original in the sense that it is its author’s own intellectual creation...However, sporting events cannot be regarded as intellectual creations", and football matches - the ECJ continued- which are subject to rules of the game, leave "no room for creative freedom.' This decision raises some difficulties: Is there a profound difference between a theatrical performance and a football match? are their real boundaries today between labor, performance and play? does a football game lack sufficient creativity? are 'rules' the antithesis of 'creativity'? can football players own rights in their performance? and if so, can they transfer those rights back to English Football League? This decision generates a lot of challenges, yet to be resolved, for IP holders within the sports arena and the sports broadcasting industry."
Anderson on the Property Tax Base
Nathan Anderson (UIC - Econ) has posted Who's Afraid of Taxing at Market Value? Understanding the Consequences of Alternative Definitions of the Property Tax Base on SSRN. Here's the abstract:
The definition of the property tax base is an important policy question because it directly determines the current and future distribution of taxes. I develop a framework to measure the distributional consequences of alternative property tax base definitions. Applying this framework to administrative data, I evaluate the choice between defining tax base as market value and as market value minus an exemption derived from an assessment limit. I find that the benefits of the assessment limit can vary over time, accrue to a majority of taxpayers, and reduce the tax-payment risk generated by the market value definition.
October 11, 2011
Steve Clowney is Complaining About His Landlord
How social media is changing the landlord-tenant relationship.
The history of landfill projects in Boston is really incredible. Boston in 1630:
Boston in 1890:
Why don't more cities that are pressed for space initiate reclamation projects?
Ballard on Pre-Planning for Post-Conflict Property Remedies
Megan Ballard (Gonzaga) has posted Pre-Planning for Post-Conflict Property Remedies: A Case Study from Georgia (George Washington International Law Review) on SSRN. Here's the abstract
International law generally requires redress for people forcibly evicted from their homes because of war. Remedies such as restitution or compensation typically are implemented only after combatants reach a peace accord. Consequently, little attention has been paid to steps that one side of an armed conflict can take, prior to the resolution of the dispute, to preserve the property rights of displaced people and pave the way for a later remedy. This paper argues that there is value in pre-peace planning for post-conflict property remedies and proposes structural elements for such a planning effort. The contours of a pre-peace project to prepare for an eventual restitution or compensation scheme emerge through an analysis of the “My House” program launched in the country of Georgia to inventory homes abandoned because of still-unresolved secessionist struggles. Georgian officials did not intend My House to preserve evidence for a later restitution or compensation plan. Nonetheless, substantial modifications could make a similar, My House-styled program more constructive for a post-conflict remedial project that complies with emerging international legal standards.
October 10, 2011
Is Happiness a Place?
Weiner came of age as an NPR correspondent, reporting from some of the gloomiest, unhappiest places on Earth. So he decided to seek out their opposite and spent a year traveling the globe, hunting down the world’s unheralded happy places, where one or more of the ingredients we consider essential to well-being — pleasure, money, spirituality, family, chocolate — flow unabated. . . . The journey wavers across ten countries — The Netherlands, Switzerland, Bhutan, Qatar, Iceland, Moldova, Thailand, Great Britain, India and the United States — to uncover the greatest enablers of, as well as obstacles to, happiness, examining in the process a wide spectrum of definitions of what happiness actually is, from Aristotle (“a virtuous activity of the soul”) to Weiner’s personal favorite, by an unhappy man named Noah Webster who penned the first American dictionary (“the agreeable sensations which spring from the enjoyment of good”).
(HT: Daily Dish)
Boston Continues Fight Against Walmart
Some people really hate low, low prices:
Walmart faces an uphill battle to build a grocery store in Boston as community groups, shop owners and residents across the city vow to fight the giant retailer, saying it would force out small businesses and bring in low-wage jobs.
“A giant like Walmart would be devastating to small businesses,” said Marvin Gilmore, president of the Community Development Corp. of Boston, which includes Roxbury, where Walmart unsuccessfully tried to build a grocery store. “They are too big. The community does not need a Walmart.”
Deadline for Property Newsletter
For those of you in the AALS Property Section, today is the deadline to send Colleen Medill your publication citations for things you have published since August of 2010. Additionally, the newsletter will publish conference announcements and public service announcements of interest to Property professors.
Ostrom & Hess on Private and Community Property
Elinor Ostrom (Indiana -Politcal Science) and Charlotte Hess (Syracuse - Library) have posted Private and Community Property on SSRN. Here's the abstract:
The relative advantages of private property and common property for the efficiency, equity, and sustainability of natural resource use patterns have long been debated in the legal and economics literatures. The debate has been clouded by a troika of confusions that relate to the difference between (1) common-property and open-access regimes, (2) common-pool resources and common-property regimes, and (3) a resource system and the flow of resource units. A property right is an enforceable authority to undertake particular actions in specific domains. The rights of access, withdrawal, management, exclusion, and alienation can be separately assigned to different individuals as well as being viewed as a cumulative scale moving from the minimal right of access through possessing full ownership rights. Some attributes of common-pool resources are conducive to the use of communal proprietorship or ownership and others are conducive to individual rights to withdrawal, management, exclusion and alienation. There are, however, no panaceas! No institutions generate better outcomes for the resource and for the users under all conditions. Many of the lessons learned from the operation of communal property regimes related to natural resource systems are theoretically relevant to understanding of a wide diversity of property regimes that are extensively used in modern societies.